If you like jewelry, you like to look at them for hours, trying to unravel their secrets and feel their soul, then this selection of museums that contain the best collections of jewelry of all time will definitely come in handy.
V&A Museum, London, UK
The V&A Museum (Victoria and Albert Museum) is the world’s largest museum of decorative art and design. Here are collected collections that are unparalleled in variety and volume.
The museum houses a huge heritage dating back to more than 3,000 years of many of the world’s richest cultures, including ceramics, furniture, fashion items, glass, jewelry, metal products, photographs, sculptures, fabrics and paintings.
The V&A Museum’s jewelry gallery features over 3,500 items made with unrivaled craftsmanship. This is one of the best and most complete collections in the world, devoted mainly to the history of European jewelry over the past 800 years. Precious exhibits reflect the splendor of the court life of past centuries and the trends of modern jewelry.
Louvre Museum, Paris, France
The Louvre Museum has a well-known collection of jewelery, ranging from Middle Eastern, Greek, Roman, Etruscan and Egyptian antiquities to the 18th and 19th centuries. In addition to ancient objects, this collection features jewelry belonging to one of the most influential families in France.
In January 2020, after a long restoration, the Apollo Gallery was opened – the richest and most luxurious hall. The restoration was carried out with the support of the Cartier jewelry house, the patron of the museum.
Royal jewels were previously exhibited in different parts of the Louvre. Now they have decided to send all 23 jewelry from the treasury of the French crown owned by the Louvre, in one hall and to distribute in three shop windows – according to the number of jewelry ensembles corresponding to three historical eras.
The first showcase contains jewelry before the French Revolution.
In the second window are jewelry of the First Empire, the Restoration and the July Monarchy, in particular, the diadem of the Duchess of Angouleme with emeralds.
In the last — third — window, the jewels of the Second Empire are collected. The crown of Eugenia is one of the two surviving state crowns of the French monarchs (the second is the crown of Louis XV). Jeweler Alexander-Gabriel Lemonier created it for the World Exhibition in Paris in 1855.
All the monarchs replenished the collection of jewels of the French crown, except for the “pear king” Louis Philippe I, who ruled from 1830 to 1848. But he bought jewelry for his wife.
The collection features a pair of Queen Maria Amelie Teresa de Bourbon, the niece of Marie Antoinette. It is in this purse that she is depicted in the ceremonial portrait of Louis Ersan of 1836.
A diadem, a necklace, earrings and three brooches, all with blue Ceylon sapphires in their natural form (today jewelers “heat” stones to achieve a brighter color).
Museum of Historical Treasures, Kiev, Ukraine
The Kiev Museum of Historical Treasures, better known as the “Museum of Scythian Gold,” is a branch of the National Museum of the History of Ukraine. It is located on the territory of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra. Visitors can see the bowls and cult vases of the Scythian era from the royal mounds.
The main treasure of the collection is the famous Golden Scythian pectoral (royal breast ornament) depicting scenes from the life of Scythian nomads, extracted in 1971 from the Tolstaya grave mound in the Dnipropetrovsk region.
The museum also presents ancient oriental gold jewelry from the burial of the Sarmatian queen, the work of ancient Russian jewelers, and products by masters of the XIV-XVI centuries. Colts, earrings, pendants, bracelets amaze with a variety of forms, plots and subtleties of work. Unique is the golden diadem, decorated with multi-colored cloisonne enamel.
The salary of the Gospel with an ornament made of multi-colored enamel, and other precious items of church decoration are excellent examples of Ukrainian jewelry from the 17th-18th centuries.
The exposition ends with the works of famous Polish and German jewelers of the 19th – early 20th centuries.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA
The Metropolitan Museum of Art contains 17 branches, each of which is dedicated to the art of a certain part of the world or the time period of history.
Expositions that present visitors to the museum, including jewelry: Greek and Roman art, the art of ancient Egypt, the art of the Middle East, European sculpture and art. The last exposition is the most voluminous and has about 50,000 items dating from different periods from the beginning of the 15th to the 20th centuries, inclusive.
Boston Museum of Fine Arts, USA
The collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts has about 450 thousand exhibits from around the world (Africa, Asia, Europe, America) from ancient times to the present day. The collection of ancient memos is one of the most comprehensive in the world and can only be compared with the collection of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. In the ancient Egyptian collection, sights of the Old Kingdom are widely represented, including sculptures, sarcophagi, jewelry and mummies.
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, USA
The museum presents an extensive collection of jewelry and design items in the department of design and decorative art. In addition, in the department of drawings, prints and graphic design of the museum, you can see several jewelry sketches and preparatory drawings. The objects in the collection represent a variety of styles, materials and origins.
Museum of Jewelry, Vicenza, Italy
The city authorities of Vicenza, Matteo Marzotto, president of the Fiera di Vicenza exhibition complex, where the VicenzaOro exhibition takes place, and museum director Alba Cappelieri had a hand in the opening of this museum.
In the museum, which has 400 exhibits, visitors can not only admire the beauty of jewelry, but also learn a lot of interesting things about jewelry craft – one of the oldest in the culture of mankind.
Each of the nine rooms, the exposition of which was compiled by international curators, is dedicated to a certain topic: symbolism, magic, functionality, beauty, art, fashion, design, icons, the future.
Geneva Museum of Art and History, Switzerland
The Geneva Museum of Art and History is considered one of the largest and most important museums in Switzerland. In his collection, there are more than 7000 exhibits of various eras – from prehistoric artifacts to modern painting.
Multidisciplinary exhibitions on archeology, fine and applied arts offer museum visitors a versatile view of the history of art and the evolution of culture from prehistoric times to modern times. Among the exhibits of the Department of Applied Arts are musical instruments, watches, jewelry and fabrics, as well as Byzantine art objects and icons.
Museum of Royal Jewelry, Alexandria, Egypt
In the heart of modern Alexandria, in the elegant Zizinia district, is the Museum of Royal Jewelry. The museum is located in a magnificent palace, which was originally built in 1923 as a summer palace for the wife of a descendant of Mohammed Ali.
Muhammad Ali and his descendants ruled Egypt for almost 150 years – from 1805 until the 1952 Egyptian Revolution. After the revolution, they decided to send the jewelry left by the royal family to a safe place and were hidden until the decree of President Mubarak in 1986 on the creation of a special exhibition in the palace of the princess.
The museum has a collection of about 11,500 artifacts that once belonged to the royal family and descendants of Mohammed Ali. Among them are a magnificent chess set belonging to Mohammed Ali, a coffee set inlaid with silver and decorated with gold, a set of gold dishes decorated with 977 diamonds, medals and other various jewelry belonging to members of the royal family.
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