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Leibish & Co

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Barbara Berger’s Costume Jewelry Collection at MAD Museum

Miriam Haskell Pearl Grape Cluster necklace, circa 1950, was inducted into MAD's permanent collections, June 25, 2013.

Fashion Jewelry: The Collection of Barbara Berger opened June 25 and is scheduled to run till Jan. 20, 2014. It features more than 450 pieces of costume jewelry by designers such as Marcel Boucher, Balenciaga, Kenneth Jay Lane, and Gripoix, which is a small portion of the approximate 4,000 items of costume jewelry she owns.

David Mandel glass, metal necklace, circa 2000.

A major portion of the exhibition is dedicated to the works of Miriam Haskell, an American costume jewelry brand that produces hand-crafted, made-to-order pieces in New York. One of the works, a gilded metal and pearl grape cluster necklace, has been donated to MAD as part of its permanent collection. The vintage piece was said to be designed by Frank Hess in the 1950s, and exhibits classical Miriam Haskell workmanship and materials of Russian gold plated brass, baroque glass pearls and crystal rose montées, completed by a torsade of glass seed pearls.

Miriam Haskell bib necklace with glass beads, rhinestones, gold plated, 1950.

The daughter of an American diamond merchant, Berger began her collection when she purchased a pair of Chanel earrings at a French flea market as a teenager.

Chanel glass, simulated pearls, enameled metal wristlet, circa 2000.

Many of the works in exhibition were expressly made to be worn with haute couture clothing by fashion designers that range from Chanel to Yves Saint Laurent, and Dior to Dolce & Gabbana. The exhibition also underscores the popularity of couture jewelry.

Miriam Haskell tassel necklace, circa late 1950s.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication on the Barbara Berger collection published by Assouline. It will also include lectures and panel discussions, designer-led exhibition tours, and hands-on jewelry workshops and demonstrations in MAD’s 6th floor Open Studios.

The exhibition was organized by McFadden, William and Mildred Lasdon, in collaboration with jewelry historian Harrice Simons Miller, as guest curator.

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