Spanning over 4,000 years and displaying 80 precious items, a jewelry exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston showcases a brief evolution of ornaments. Drawing from the institution’s expansive collection, the sparkly exhibit underscores cycles of change and returning trends of ancient designs. Focusing on the concept of a comeback, the exhibit Past to Present: Revival Jewelry addresses three specific eras of inspiration for jewelry-makers in the 19th and 20th century: Egyptian, Renaissance, and Classical.
The collection takes a full-fledged look at how adornments changed from King Tut’s time in the 14th century—B.C.—to contemporary craftsmanship by major jewelry houses like Cartier and Bulgari. The official release for the show details how travel in the 19th century lead to more excavations abroad and the discovery of more unearthed fine metals and stones.
A mix of materials and patterns dominate throughout, while concentrations on revivals give us fashion déjà vu. Some of the pieces take up residence in the pop culture canon, as one snake piece showed up on the wrist of Elizabeth Taylor on-set, though not in her movie role, of Cleopatra. The jewel-encrusted Bulgari watch was one of many pieces from the designer worn by Taylor throughout her celebrity career.
Explore more of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts collection of over 20,000 objects and 6,000 years of history on their website here. The exhibit, Past to Present: Revival Jewelry, shows until August 19, 2018.