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Simply Brilliant - Artist-Jewellers of the 1960s and 1970s | In Cooperation with the Cincinnati Art Museum

27 March through 27 June 2021

About the exhibition

Simply put, jewellery of the 1960s and '70s was revolutionary. If the 1950s were demure and controlled, the 1960s became an era of youthful rebellion and radical cultural change -and a new style of jewellery was part of that zeitgeist. Rock 'n' roll, the Vietnam War, the Kennedy assassinations, the civil rights and women's movements, the widespread use of hallucinogenic drugs, and the concept of free love are all associated with these tumultuous decades. From space-age plastic hoop earrings to the hippies' beaded necklaces, jewellery expressed individuality, nonconformity and the aesthetic, political, and intellectual values of the person who wore it.

Beyond these expressions in inexpensive costume jewellery that was available to all, fine jewellery took an equal turn to incorporate the mood of the times. Young jewellery designers no longer wanted simply to create demure baubles that accessorized current fashions. They thought of themselves as artists first, jewellers second, approaching their work as any painter or sculptor. They worked in gold, focusing on organic forms, favoring abstract shapes, and concepts related to space-age trends. They incorporated unconventional materials and were unrivaled in the texture and scale they brought to their designs.

Drawn from one of the most important private collections in the world, assembled by local Cincinnatian Kimberly Klosterman, this exhibition features the work of an international set of independent jewellers as well as major houses. The jewellery designers and makers of the 1960s and '70s were uncompromising in their vision. They took jewellery to a new level of artistry that paralleled the radical changes in society during these decades.