Jewellery at The V & A London

I was doing some research  for future classes at Flux Studios and spent a day at the V & A London.  It’s well worth a visit. The William and Judith Bollinger Jewellery Gallery displays 3,500 jewels from the V&A’s jewellery collection, one of the finest and most comprehensive in the world. The gallery centres principally on the story of European jewellery during the last 800 years. On show are jewels that reflect the splendour of courtly life, some of the finest designs from the great jewellery houses of the 20th century and jewels designed by important contemporary makers.

Historic highlights include jewelled pendants given by Queen Elizabeth I to her courtiers, and diamonds worn by Catherine the Great of Russia. The age of Napoleon is represented by the famous Beauharnais Emeralds, the gift of Napoleon to his adopted daughter, and by tiaras and ornaments worn by the Empress Josephine.

Displays include a superb group of jewellery by the famous, French art-nouveau designer, Réné Lalique, and Lady Mountbatten’s ‘tutti frutti’ ruby, sapphire, emerald and diamond bandeau, which she bought from Cartier in 1928. The gallery will provide the first opportunity to see the jewels given by New York collector and dealer, Patricia V. Goldstein, which have significantly added to the V&A’ s collection of jewels by Tiffany and Cartier.

Over 140 living goldsmiths and jewellers are represented in the gallery. The contemporary work ranges from ring sets by Wendy Ramshaw to a carved pin in recycled acrylic by Peter Chang and a vivid papier-mâché neckpiece by Marjorie Schick. Another addition is a selection from the Royal College of Art Visiting Artists Collection.