A glimmering day

Despite the gloomy weather outside, it was all sparkle – think diamonds and sapphires, garnets and emeralds – in an event space on the ninth floor of the tony University Club off Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue this past Sunday.

That’s because a favorite WAG subject – jewelry – was in the glittering spotlight when Elyse Zorn Karlin of Port Chester welcomed a packed house of curators and collectors, designers and gemologists, scholars and authors, dealers and manufacturers to “Jewelry of the Americas,” the seventh annual conference of the Association for the Study of Jewelry and Related Arts.

WAG was on hand not only to savor the generous slate of lectures but also observe Karlin at work, as she’s slated for a close-up in our December “Bedazzled” issue.

The noted jewelry expert, author and curator (yes, you saw her name in this month’s story on the Forbes Galleries, as she is curating a show there next spring) and Yvonne Markowitz, curator of jewelry at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, put together quite a day that touched on historical figures and their jewelry, noted manufacturers and their work and jewelry in noted collections.

Highlights included author and historian Lois Sherr Dubin’s insightful talk about the work of noted Navajo/Hopi jeweler Jesse Monongya, who offered his own entertaining comments at the end; Canadian jewelry artist Niki Kavakonis, who gave a glimpse into her background and latest work; and Jack Ogden, an ancient-jewelry specialist who offered an appetite-whetting glimpse into England’s famed “Cheapside Hoard,” a treasure trove of jewelry that goes on display next autumn in London.

During the day, Karlin not only previewed “A Story to Wear,” an in-progress documentary on jewelry history, but also lectured, with artist Mona Brody, on “The Art and Jewelry of Frida Kahlo.”

Sending attendees off with some “Kahlo Kookies” she baked herself (based on a recipe in a Kahlo cookbook), Karlin offered the following: “I want to leave you with three thoughts: Buy jewelry. Study jewelry. Wear jewelry.”

Oh, how we like the sound of that. – Mary Shustack

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