Sayings like ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ have reinforced a mindset that best jewelry are made from diamonds. But the exhibition Jewels, Gem, and Treasures: Ancient to Modern will enable you to see the whole thing in perspective. It features jewelry spanning four millennia and also highlights the fact that ornaments made of ivory, shell, and rock crystal were prized in antiquity, while jewelry made of diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies, and pearls became fashionable in later years. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is organizing the exhibition from July 19, 2011 to November 1, 2012.
The inaugural exhibition of its kind highlights some 75 objects representing the rich variety of jewels, gems, and treasures that have been valued over the course of four millennia. The precious collection has been curated from Museum of Fine Arts’ collection and also loaned from select collections. The oldest piece in the collection is a 24th century BC Nubian conch shell amulet. The exhibition is being held in the new Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation Gallery. This new gallery will be solely dedicated to jewelry. The museum already has an outstanding collection of 11,000 ornaments.
This exhibition, very effectively, showcases the evolution of the concept of treasures through history. There are necklaces, rings, bracelets, pendants, and brooches, as well as mineral specimens on display. Ornaments have often served as symbols of wealth and power. Apart from being simply ornamental, some of the ornaments are functional and protective. Jewels, Gems, and Treasures begins with a look at jewelry made of organic materials and moves on to highlight the significance of precious materials in jewelry in the 20th century. The exhibition also highlights a variety of interesting and unique pieces.