Monday, July 1, 2013

FASHION JEWELRY: Drawn from the World-renowned Collection of Barbara Berger (c) By Polly Guerin


Miriam, Haskell, 1954 Designer Frank Hess\
Glass beads, rhinestones, gold plated
Photo Credit: (c) Pablo Esteva
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend but elegant, designer costume jewelry can carry a fashionista way beyond lunch and into spectacular evenings. FASHION JEWELRY: Drawn from the world-renowned collection of Barbara Berger, is an eye popping extravaganza of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, many one-of-a-kind, drawn from the Golden Age of costume jewelry popularized by fashion icons such as Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel and featuring designs by Kenneth Jay lane, Lanvin, Missoni, Oscar de la Renta and Pucci .

WHO IS BARBARA BERGER? The daughter of an American diamond merchant, when but a teenager Barbara Berger began her collection of ‘bijoux de couture;" she purchased a pair of Chanel earrings at a French Flea market. Since then her passion channeled her collecting and she went on to assemble one of the largest and finest collections of costume jewelry in the world. Many of the works were made expressly to be worn with haute couture clothing by fashion designers like Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior and Dolce & Gabbana.
Barbara Berger , World Known Costume Collector
Photo Credit: Pablo Esteva

THE CELEB OPENING last week at the Museum of Arts and Design brought out the fashionistas and celebs wearing magnificent costume jewelry pieces and some individuals were a show unto themselves. Show stoppers included two gentlemen from THORIN & Co., Providence, Rhode Island,. a high- end costume jewelry firm---Robert DiSanto, as the Emperor of his own design wore a grey jacket bedecked with heliotrope and sapphire stones with a regal matching crown. His partner, Timothy Szlyk's Black Knight outfit and dramatic black mask were garnished with red Swarovski gemstones. Designer, Katerina Musetti’s husband wore one of her striking brooch creations on the label of his suit jacket. Ladies who lunch took the opportunity to wear magnificent necklaces that rivaled the treasures in the exhibition and one elegant lady’s belt was fashioned in multi-gems that ended at front in a charming jeweled bow.

SHOWCASING High-End GLAMOUR From swans to starbursts to feathers and flowers, the couture jewelry presented a stunning array of extravagant pieces in showcases with over 450 pieces by designers including treasures from Maison Gripoix, Balenciaga, Chanel, Dior, Miriam Haskell, and Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino. The exhibition celebrates not only the heritage of costume jewelry, but the creativity of brilliant designers and craftsmen across five decades of high-end fashion. Costume jewelry took off as an art form in its own right in the post-World War II era. Synthetic gemstones and sparkling crystals opened up a spectrum of new designs possibilities, allowing designers to produced even more vibrant and elaborate creations allowing women to layer many accessories together in chic, over-the-top style epitomized by Chanel.

Guest Curator, Harrice Simons Miller, an author and consultant of vintage and couture costume jewelry wrote the book, Fashion Jewelry: the Collection of Barbara Berger (Assouline 2013) which accompanies the exhibition. The exhibition is open until September 22, 2013. For information on the Summer Jewelry Workshops contact: 212. 299.7712.

Ta Ta Darlings!!! Fashion Jewelry at MAD, it’s too awesome, once is not enough, you ought to go back again and again. Fan mail welcome: Visit Polly’ Blogs at and click on the links in the left-hand column of Polly’s home page.


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    A Webmaster of online jewelry

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