Out of this world, truly

It was a wickedly windy late-winter evening when I stepped into the Forbes Galleries on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan last Thursday. Within seconds, any thoughts of the weather – of earth, in fact – were gone.

WAG was invited to the reception and private viewing for “Out of this World! Jewelry in the Space Age,” which would officially open two days later. It was truly an evening filled with cosmic touches.

There were space-themed cocktails (“The Moonwalk”) and hors d’ouevres (some with “blue-moon cheese”) and even musical entertainment from Jo-Ann Skiena Garey, who sang and played everything from “When You Wish upon a Star” to “Fly Me to the Moon.”

Clearly, they know how to do things right at Forbes, which we profiled in our October issue after a personal tour by the galleries’ managing director Bonnie Kirschstein (who just happens to have grown up in Chappaqua). It’s always been a “hidden gem” of a cultural destination, one that puts on world-class exhibitions. “Out of this World!” continues the tradition, featuring pieces from more than 100 designers and lenders touching on a variety of space-related themes.

It’s a unique topic, to be sure, though one certainly deserving attention. After all, the wonder of the stars, moon and the planets has indeed captivated man for centuries; this exhibition traces how that fascination has been translated to items of adornment through the years.

We got a sneak peek when we spoke with Elyse Zorn Karlin of Port Chester, the exhibition’s curator. The noted jewelry author, historian and co-director of the Association for the Study of Jewelry and Related Arts shared a few details when we met with her for a profile on her “dazzling” career for our December issue.

Seeing the exhibition in place – and catching up with both Karlin and Kirschstein during the party – was more than exciting, especially for a jewelry lover. It was the chance to drool over one thing after another, from Van Cleef & Arpels’ “Tampa Necklace,” which features a tiny space ship in its design, to a 1960s diamond-dotted rocket ship brooch to piece after piece inspired by the Sputnik shape, a personal favorite.

In addition, there are pieces of jewelry created with materials from space, those that literally traveled to space with astronauts – and a decidedly playful rounding out by quirky space-themed elements such as a toy piano featuring two very young space travelers. A perfect mix.

The exhibition is one that merits a return visit – the crowd was so big it was actually a challenge to see everything up close. But I’m certainly looking forward to my next trip to space, even if it’s only via Elyse Zorn Karlin and the Forbes Galleries.

“Out of this World! Jewelry in the Space Age” continues through Sept. 7 at the Forbes Galleries, 62 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan. For more details, visit forbesgalleries.com.

– Mary Shustack

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