Revival Jewels on Display in Boston

Portrait featuring revival jewels - Bocca Baciata (Lips That Have Been Kissed), 1859, by Dante Gabriel

Portrait featuring revival jewels - Bocca Baciata (Lips That Have Been Kissed), 1859, by Dante Gabriel

4000 years of jewelry history has gone on display at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts exhibition 'Past Is Present: Revival Jewelry’.

What is revival jewelry you ask? Put simply it is jewelry that is inspired by the past - often the ancient past. This can mean direct references to traditional motifs, recreating ancient techniques, incorporating actual artifacts, or simply reinterpreting the past.

This style of adornment first became popular in the mid-19th century with new archaeological discoveries, the opening of major museums for the public to take in art and artifacts, and international exhibitions.

This show focuses on four particular areas: archaeological, Classical, Egyptian, and Renaissance. Incorporating both ancient and revival pieces in juxtaposition, 80 jewels range from a 1924 Cartier scarab brooch displayed beside a similar design circa 740-660 B.C., to an 80s Bulgari necklace embedded with Macedonian coins, to a 21st century piece that was created with an ancient Etruscan granulation technique.

Cartier, a major contributor to the Egyptian revival movement, contributed many key pieces and is the lead sponsor of the show, while most jewels and artifacts came from the museum’s vast collection.

Past Is Present: Revival Jewelry at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts runs through August 19, 2018. More Information