Chicago Collects: Jewelry in Perspective

Thursday, May 23 – Sep 23, 2024

40 E. Erie
Nickerson Mansion
Chicago, IL 60611

This summer, the Driehaus Museum is proud to present Chicago Collects: Jewelry in Perspective, an exhibition of over two hundred pieces of rare and historically significant jewelry from the 17th century to the present, all from prominent Chicago collections. This first-of-its- kind exhibition includes a range of never-seen-before jewelry and decorative arts objects from the Richard H. Driehaus Collection alongside objects from the Chicago History Museum, the Field Museum, and the Lizzardo Museum of Lapidary Art, among loans from other Chicago institutions, collections, and private lenders with unique areas of focus. Chicago Collects: Jewelry in Perspective is organized by jewelry historian and author Elyse Zorn Karlin, guest curator of the Museum’s 2015 exhibition Maker and Muse: Women and 20th Century Art Jewelry, and will be on view at the Driehaus Museum, 40 E. Erie Street, from May 23 to September 23, 2024.

Chicago Collects: Jewelry in Perspective opens with a timeline of stylistic periods of jewelry history from the late 17th century to the present. From there, items are organized into categories of collecting interest, such as Art Nouveau, Jugendstil, Vienna Secession, British Arts & Crafts, Chicago Arts & Crafts, 19th Century Revival, Belle Époque, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Art Deco, Fabergé, Important Makers, Tiaras, and Mid-Century Modern and Contemporary Jewelry.

Highlights of the exhibition include loans from the Field Museum from the 1893 World’s Fair; a rare piece of silver made by Paul Revere, Jr.; a handwrought silver punch bowl belonging to the Cliff Dweller’s Club, jewelry renderings by Art Nouveau master Rene ́Lalique, a number of jewels and objects made by Chicago’s own Kalo Shop as well as other Chicago artists from the Arts & Crafts Movement, and more.

Driehaus Museum Executive Director Lisa Key says, “Chicago Collects: Jewelry in Perspective continues our commitment to presenting new research and ideas around decorative art, and honors the collecting legacy of our founder, Richard H. Driehaus. The exhibition brings audiences closer to a very personal artform – jewelry—to show how history can add new perspectives to our everyday lives. Audiences will be thrilled to experience, up close, incredible works of wearable art and revel in the artistry of this universal artform. We are pleased to work again with Elyse Karlin, whose expertise in jewelry remains unparalleled.”

Karlin says, “Chicago Collects has a broad thesis that allows us to show a variety of jewelry from across centuries, but what all the works have in common are their origins-- they all come from Chicago collectors. Many of the pieces have never been shown publicly before and they illustrate a number of periods and styles in jewelry history. In addition, the exhibition showcases the work of noted contemporary Chicago goldsmiths. It's been a delight to work with so many wonderful pieces, all right here in Chicago.”

Image: Marcus & Co. necklace with gold, enamel, black opal, and pearl detail 3. Private Collection, image courtesy the Driehaus Museum. Photography by Alex Brescanu