Museum of Arts & Design MAD About Jewelry

Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

Although not billed as such, this appears to be jewelry week in the Big Apple – both the newly renovated Tiffany’s and the Museum of Arts and Design MAD About Jewelry annual benefit sale of contemporary jewelry (through the 29th) picked the same night for their opening festivities.

Agathe Saint Girons – photo by Laurel Marcus

Although I was wearing an Elsa Peretti Tiffany snake necklace (watch this space for a lot more appearances of that silver asp), I attended the MAD Museum cocktail reception soiree. MAD About jewelry (former moniker LOOT – a word that has gotten a negative connotation and might be loosely translated online as HAUL) “has become known as the ultimate pop-up shop for contemporary, artist-made jewelry.”

Bryna Pomp & Sam Broekema – photo Laurel Marcus

Bryna Pomp, curator and director of the event, was welcoming and the one to follow on Instagram for the 411 on all the jewelry artisans. Her NOTD (Necklace of the Day) was from Eve Balashova, a UK designer who favors materials such as 3D-printed nylon and silver.

Kelly Jean Conroy & Zoe Sherwood

It’s an exciting experience to meet the innovative creators of these collectible pieces and learn about those who inspire your acquisition. There were 50 jewelry artists from 20 countries and plenty of eye-popping fun.

Theme Jewelry – photo by Laurel Marcus

Honorees this year were Alexis Bittar, founder of the eponymous luxury jewelry and accessories brand (he personally was a no-show but was represented with a manned booth of signature jewels and a few minaudieres); Sam Broekema, Editor-in-Chief of Natural Diamond Council’s editorial site, Only Natural Diamonds; and Linda Fargo, SVP of Fashion and Store Presentation, Bergdorf Goodman.

Eszter Sara Kocsor – photo by Laurel Marcus

Eszter Sara Kocsor from Hungary wins my award for the best jacket and jewelry that resembles a shiny headlight or beacon. The ginormous pendants, rings, and earrings are made of stainless steel and faceted stones, with pendants hanging from beads or rope cords. They are also lightweight and will not submerge you should you be unexpectedly thrown into a swimming pool or large body of water.

Laura Fortune – photo by Laurel Marcus

Laura Fortune, who works in cloisonné enamel and silver, lived abroad in Portugal for nearly five years. Now that she’s back in the States, she commemorates each region with her humorous and playful illustrative jewelry motifs – whether it’s southwestern cacti and armadillos or pigeons eating out of garbage cans to denote our fair NYC. She said she sketched out a rat once but decided it was too disgusting.

Ann Cox and Keli Goff in necklace – photo by Laurel Marcus

Ann Cox from Belgium’s medium is melted glass, which appears more versatile than one would think. From spiky neon to metallic tubes, her jewelry runs the gamut from punk to sophisticate. She loves color and works with recycled materials, such as tubes from light bulbs and leftovers from a glass studio, making her work beautiful and sustainable. She even creates glow-in-the-dark eyeglass chains so that you can always find your eyeglasses.

Ute Decker (left) – photo by Laurel Marcus

Ute Decker of the UK is the only repeat performer (she was part of the 2019 show). Working in silver and 18K gold (often Fairtrade), her bywords are “Sculptural, Architectural, Minimalist.” Her jewelry resembles Japanese calligraphy or “geometric poetry” and is displayed at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. She and Agathe Saint Girons of France, who also works in 18K gold, silver, and titanium, share a love for jewelry that can double as tabletop sculptures when not worn.

Michiel Henneman – photo by Laurel Marcus

One of the strangest materials was that used by Dutch artist Michiel Henneman. “Are those walnut shells?” I asked. Yes, indeed, they are. Known as the “Are You Nuts” collection, he and his design partner Jiska Hartog carve faces into the shells creating “story and emotion.” When not worn, the magnetized brooches are shown as portraits on old family photos, giving them a particularly whimsical, uncanny, and creepy vibe.

Deidre Maine recycled French wine bottle jewelry – photo by Laurel Marcus

Other notables employing interesting materials were Sofia Pagano’s Lucite designs (Marilyn bought a neon green bangle to add to her Bakelite plastic arm party), Deidre Maine of France, whose work employs discarded French wine bottles and Zoe Sherwood of the UK’s 3D-printed nylon hats and jewelry featuring words such as “Peace,” “Love,” “Me” and “You.”

Emanuela Caruso sandals – photo by Laurel Marcus

This year in the lobby, there were also customized jeweled sandals and handbags by Emanuela Caruso, made in Italy and extremely eye-catching for around $400 a pair. If you can’t get to Capri wearing these sandals would be the next best thing.

Max McCormack & Linda Fargo – photo by Laurel Marcus

As for the attendee’s mode of attire – in a word, I would say “colorful,” although Linda Fargo arrived all in black mesh and velvet Schiaparelli with gold “evil eye” bullion ornamentation and an orbital gold necklace. Unsurprisingly, she stopped the show.

Good looking couple – photo Laurel Marcus

Award winners at the dinner were Miki Asai of Japan, who crafts delicate materials such as eggshell, mother-of-pearl, and Steven KP of the US, who works in wood.

For more information:

Latest Comments:

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

1 Comment
  1. Your coverage of the MAD about Jewelry Opening on April 25 was comprehensive. descriptive and a lot of fun!
    The photos of individual artists and their wares makes it especially easy for anyone to access them at the gift shop!

    I visited MAD last week but I’ll be back soon to check out many of the fascinating pieces you described including the lucite bangle you purchased.

    Bravo on making the opening real for your readers!????

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.