Thursday, June 27, 2013


The back room gallery space on the 2nd floor of the MAD

Set in a fantasy world of bountiful bijoux, visitors are struck with bejewled brilliance as they enter the second floor gallery space of the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD). With the opening of Fashion Jewelry: The Collection of Barbara Berger, the MAD has on display nearly 500 pieces from Berger's personal collection spanning from vintage 1920's to modern day and representing both contemporary and established designers. With over 4,000 pieces in her personal collection, Berger comments "It's a LOT of work to put together a show--each piece is hand-picked!"

Dorothy Globus, Curator of Exhibition Presentations (left), Guest curator Harice Miller (center) and Barbara Berger (right)

At 13, Barbara Berger started buying 'fashion jewlery' with a pair of $2 Chanel earrings from a Paris flea market. She split the cost and entitlements with her best friend, Maxine. 57 years later, Berger has amassed quite an accidental collection. She notes that while her finds are all relatively inexpensive, the creativity and craftsmanship that goes into each piece equals that of fine jewelry. In fact, it's often more difficult to replace lost stones in costume jewelry! 

The Main Gallery Space

Organized by theme and grouped by creator, the closely curated selection displays the most iconic pieces of each designer in Berger's collection. Notable pieces include an exquisite Venetian mask made from glass, metal and faux pearls by Thorin & Co/Timothy Szlyk (2011), impressive glass, enamel and metal brooches by Marcel Boucher (1930's-40's) and a Chanel metal leaf necklace (2008). Guest curator Harrice Miller remarks, “This exhibition is the most important presentation of fashion jewelry the world has seen in decades. Barbara Berger’s passion for collecting beautiful objects combined with her connoisseur’s eye has resulted in an extravagance of treasures.”

Hanging pieces situated in an ovular display

Mixed in between the classic Coco Chanel, Yves St. LaurentMiriam Haskall and Christian Dior pieces and contemporary works by Alan Anderson, Dolce & Gabbana and Thorin & Co. are some neovintage pieces that combine vintage elements with modern design. If you live in NYC, it's definitely worth the trip and the museum admission ($16 general admission, $14 for seniors, $12 for students, Free for Members and 18 and under with ID). Otherwise, a book published by Assouline accompanies the exhibit and includes a preface by Pamela Golbin, chief curator of Paris' Musée de la Mode et du Textile and contributions by the famed Iris Apfel and guest curator Harrice Miller.

This piece reminds me of Hangman! 

Enjoy the photos and let us know if anything jumps out at you. If you visit the exhibit (please do--these photos don't do it justice!), let us know what you think. Find out more about workshops and events related to the exhibit by clicking here. To read the Wall Street Journal's interview with Barbara Berger, click here.

A quick look at a few more pieces. For more images follow stylecurated on Instagram

Contemporary Necklace by Daniel von Weinberger (2008-2009) featured on the cover of the Assouline Book--The frogs glow in the dark!

Chanel Feather necklace made from metal (2008)

Back Gallery--Very Impressive and colorful--yet heavy-looking--necklaces hang along the back wall


  1. Primarily, I have read several articles & blogs on fashion costume jewelry designs but you have brought come up some attention-grabbing points. Thanks for sharing this so we can all read it.

    1. Thank you for reading! Check back for updates on other topics as well!

  2. Jewelry Nivana!

    Cheers and thanks a bunch for visiting! :)

    ▲_▲ HYENA


  3. Obviously, this post has made my attention on blogs containing fashion jewelry . Thank you for sharing with us!

  4. Informative article, just what I was looking for. Do you have any video of that? I’d love to find out some additional information.

    1. Thanks for reading! I have a more information, if you would like--please use the comments box to email me!

  5. I am unable to read articles online very often, but I’m glad I did today. It is a nicely informative article in fashion, traditional & costume jewelry ranges, I have ever read. Thank you.


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