“Jewelry: A Mirror of its Times”. From Ancient Egypt to the 20 th Century: Fourteen hours of dazzling jewels, their times and their stories. -- An introductory tour d’horizon of jewelry through the ages by exploring the ways in which jewelry conveys messages about
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From Ancient Egypt to the 20th Century:
Fourteen hours of dazzling jewels, their times and their stories.
-- An introductory tour d’horizon of jewelry through the ages by
exploring the ways in which jewelry conveys messages about
the wearer, such as “I’m powerful,” “I’m loved,” “I’m holy,”
“I’m safe from evil,” or “I’m rich.”
-- Each of these themes is illustrated by slides of jewelry from
ancient times to the present day.
-- From Pharaonic Egypt down to Roman times when Rome became
the ruler of the Mediterranean and Egypt became a Roman province.
-- Three thousand years of political turbulence -- coupled with astonishing
artistic stability -- produced magnificent jewelry that speaks to us to this day.
- The enduring elegance of Greece
- The vigor of the Scythians north of the Black Sea
- The mastery of the Etruscans of the Italian peninsula
- The wealth of Imperial Rome
-- The vigorous, beautiful jewelry made in the new
barbarian kingdoms that succeeded to the power
of the Western Roman Empire as Rome gradually
morphed into the earliest beginnings of modern
-- The glories of Byzantium, founded in 324 A.D. by Constantine the Great as the New Rome, and which remained the gold standard for wealth and splendor for more than a millennium until finally falling to the Turks in 1453.
-- The 16 Constantine the Great as the New Rome, and which remained the gold standard for wealth and splendor for more than a millennium until finally falling to the Turks in 1453.th Century Renaissance in which the goldsmith-sculptor reigned supreme, creating tiny masterpieces in gold, enamel and gems, and fantastical creations inspired by large, oddly shaped baroque pearls.
-- The masterpieces of elegance produced by the 18th century esthetic which emphasized lightness, airiness and delicacy.
-- The famous tale of the Queen’s Necklace, one of the 18th century’s greatest scandals – and probably also one of its greatest libels.
-- The story of history’s greatest heist: how from September 11th to the 16th, 1792, the French Crown Jewels were stolen from the Garde Meuble over a succession of nights, while the authorities remained utterly – and almost determinedly – oblivious to what was going on.
-- The pomp and splendor of the French First Empire and its obsession with classical themes and motifs.
-- The marvels produced by the great Romantic revival that swept both literature and the fine and decorative arts after Napoleon’s fall, notably the beautiful jewels made by the great French Romantic jewelers such as François-Desiré Froment-Meurice.
- The plethora of late 19th century revivalist styles, from Archeological to Renaissance, powered by a widening market growing rich from an expanding economy and constantly looking for something new.
- The French Third Republic’s decision (driven by its fears of a monarchical restoration) to auction off the glorious French Crown Diamonds in 1887 and how the bulk of these great jewels ended up in the U.S. after Tiffany’s won a third of them at the auction and rapidly sold them to its super-rich American clientele.
- The brief period from about 1890 to roughly 1910 in which Lalique revolutionized jewelry design and made Art Nouveau jewelry a worldwide rage – even if a short-lived one.
-- Meanwhile, Lalique’s contemporary Fabergé in Russia was making jewelry and objets d’art that looked far more to the past, but whose appeal has endured to the present day, even to the point of fueling a thriving “Fauxbergé” industry.
-- The great watershed of World War I and the explosion of the Art Deco style onto the worldwide scene with the Exposition des Art Décoratifs in Paris in 1925.
-- How the headlong creation of new materials and technologies in the wake of the war both inspired and made possible the striking new departures in color, motifs and materials of Art Deco jewels.
-- At first only attempting to imitate “fine” jewelry, costume jewelry developed into a genuine – and in time, predominantly American – art form during the interwar period and after World War II.