A jewel that uses glass is not considered precious. Nothing more wrong. Because glass in jewelry is a noble material that inspires creativity and passion. This is testified by an exhibition (23 April-9 October) organized at the Bijou Museum in Casalmaggiore. The title leaves no doubt: Glass. Italian jewels between 800 and 900. The exhibition, curated by Bianca Cappello, collects over 300 pieces of designer jewels and period documents that used this strong fragile material: long and colorful sautoir from the beginning of the century, Deco-style bracelets , millefiori murrine, Roman micro mosaic jewels made for the Grand Tour, large multi-strand necklaces and collars made with tiny beads to match the sartorial cocktail dresses of the Sixties.
Again: bouquet earrings from the 1950s, flower-child-style jewelry from the 1960s inspired by Native Americans, crystals from the 1980s, up to the experimental creations of great designers and artists. Before the advent of plastic, glass was considered the material par excellence in the creation of jewelry, a sort of symbol of the social evolution of women: from angel of the hearth to flapper, from lady of good society to career woman, from daughter minimalist ethereal flowers.
From prehistoric times to today, the glass jewel has been able to move in step with the language, ingenuity and aesthetics of society, always managing to tell it and show its characteristics. The glass in the jewel is fragile and indestructible at the same time, it is a material that tells the very high level achievable with artistic craftsmanship and that, in the last two centuries, has become a protagonist in the jewels of the fashion system, as well as in the jewelery of research and design.
Bianca Cappello, curator of the exhibition
Glass is a difficult material to obtain and work with, so much so that in history it was considered a secret by a few masters and for this reason they jealously guarded. Between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, following the industrialization process, glass diversified its identity: on the one hand a product of the finest and highest craftsmanship subject to technical and artistic experimentation for luxury and refined jewels, on the other an industrial item for the general public used in low-cost jewelry. The staging of the exhibition was designed and built by the Iranian designer Sogand Nobahar, reworking recycled glass.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the glass bead became an indispensable accessory in the elegant and seductive clothing of the modern woman and regained its fascinating role over the centuries, from Cleopatra to Elisabetta Gonzaga.
Augusto Panini, co-curator of the exhibition
Glass. Italian jewels between the 1800s and 1900s
curated by Bianca Cappello and Augusto Panini
From 23 April to 9 October 2022 – opening on Saturday 23 April at 3.30 pm
Via Porzio 9, 26041 Casalmaggiore (Cremona) Opening hours: from Tuesday to Saturday: 10.00-12.00 / 15.00-18.00; Sundays and holidays: 15.00-19.00. Entrance to the exhibition and museum: full € 3.00; reduced € 2.50. Free for school groups and holders of the Lombardia Museums Subscription. Distances: 25 km from Parma, 40 from Cremona and Mantua, 140 from Milan. Telephone: 0375 284424 205344
Catalog Bianca Cappello, Augusto Panini, Glass Jewels from Prehistory to the III Millennium, Antiga editions, 300 pages, text in Italian with over 300 color images. Format 24×30 cm, hardcover. Cover price 39 euros