Guest Blogger & Jewelry Designer Ely Milano Takes Us Through MAD’s New Portable Treasuries

By danielle

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Last week, the Museum of Arts and Design launched “Portable Treasuries,” a fantastic new exhibit showcasing masterpieces of silver jewelry from three major regions of the world.  We figured, who better to attend the opening than our friend Eleonora Milano, a young and extremely talented jewelry designer from Italy.  Check out what she had to say about the exhibit, which is on display until August 8…

On a typical New York February evening, I faced a snowy pale gray Manhattan with my shiny silver rain-boots and went to the MAD Museum for the opening of Portable Treasuries: Silver Jewelry from the Nadler Collection, a jewelry exhibition curated by Dorothy Globus and Laura Stern which showcases about 150 works, from North Africa, India and Southeast Asia.

After a warm welcome by the museum staff and a glass of white wine, I went up to the second floor, and as I walked up the stairs, I was instantly enamored by the chunky and eye-catching neck pieces.

I was immediately charmed by the design of every necklace, large earrings, stunning bracelets and gorgeous fibulae. I was totally captured by their geometrical and circular shapes, by the power and weight of these pieces made with thick wire or with large sheets of hammered silver, that created intricate yet clean shapes. Some wire was woven together, or bent in a spiral, some was hammered flat and the clasp or closure of the pieces was made by the same wire, which created an effective, simple and elegant hook system. It made my eye follow the path of the wire and concentrate on the balance of the final piece. So ancient, yet so contemporary!

It was also interesting to read about the native traditions of why and when jewelry was given as a gift or as part of a dowry or to indicate the status of a woman or a man in a social environment.

My favorite work was the Miao Necklace by an anonymous artist, from Guizhou or Yunan Province, China, 19th – 20th century, a very thick wire bent in hypnotical circles that form a never-ending concentric spring.

Miao Necklace, Guizhou or Yunan Province, China

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