Jewels 1


From an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum, NY in 2018



India, Indonesia, the Far East, The Philippines, Central and South America, Polynesia, China, West Africa


Jewellery from several civilizations and time periods,  for its various functions:

ritual, display of social status, to mark a rite of passage, for adornment, pleasure, or fun.

Also for the function of beauty as a generator of happiness and contentment.  The beauty not only of the object itself but also of the exquisite workmanship. 

All jewellery in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, NY and some in an exhibition in the winter of 2018:  The Body Transformed

Everyone smiled here in the moments when they are not reading a museum label. Even when they are.



Central and South America



Gold ear spools, 100 BC to 800 AD, Colombia



Headdress with face wearing ear and nose ornaments, gold, 1st to 7th centuries, Colombia



Pectoral with face and nose ornaments, gold, 1st to 7th centuries, Colombia




Ear flares, 3rd to the 7th century, Peru (Moche) of hammered gold, tuquoise, sodalite and shell inlay.



Crescent nose ornament, gold, Colombia, 1st to the 7th centuries



Nose ornament with shrimp, gold, silver, stone, 6th to 7th century, Moche, Peru




Funerary mask, 9th-11th century, Peru (Sican) of hammered gold, cinnabar, copper overlays



Visitors circulating in the gallery, smiled except when they were concentrating



Collar with Spondylus shell beads with black stone beads and cotton, 12th to the 14th century, Chimu, Peru



Lip ornament, 1300-1521, gold, Aztec




Crown of the Andes:  Crown of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, gold repousse and chased, emeralds; c. 1660 (diadem) and c. 1770 (arches).  Popoyan, Colombia










Shell breastplate with dolphins an frigate bird, Tridactna shell, turtleshell, trade cloth, fiber, late 19th-early 20th century; Pacific Islander, Santa and Solomon Islands




Mask with frigate bird, mid-to-late 19th century; cassowary feathers, turtle shell, fiber, resin, shell, paint.  Pacific Islands




Neck and chest ornament, shell, beads, fiber, metal, 20th century.  Northern Luzon Island, Philippines




Ear ornaments with tiki figures, early 19th century, white ivory, Marquesas Islands, Polynesia



Engraved pearl shell with ocher, late 19th and early 20th century, Western Australia




Necklace, whale tooth, coconut fiber.  Fiji, 19th century



Bronze bracelet, 300 BC to AD 200, Thailand



India, Indonesia




Earrings with royal emblems of elephants and tigers, gold, Ist century BC; Andra Pradesh




Woman of the Court dressed as an Idealized Beauty, attributed to Ramji, Jaipur, Rajasthan, late 18th century; opaque watercolour, silver and gold




Jade sword handle, 18th-19th century, Mughal period; jade (nephrite) with gold and stone inlays




Tiger-claw necklace, gold, garnets, blue and yellow sapphires, emerals, rubies, diamonds, pearls, corals, turquoise, cats eyes, turquoise, spinels, tiger claws. Tamil Nadu, Mughal or early British period; c. 19th century




Jhela (hair ornament), gold, glass; 18th-19th century; Kashmir, Punjab or Rajasthan, Mughal period




Carved emerald later made into a brooch; emerald with later addition of emeralds, sapphires and platinum.  Mughal period, 17th century; setting by Cartier, NY (founded France 1847) c. 1920




Necklace with rubies, diamonds, gold, imitation emeralds (colourless rock crystal over green foil), pearls.  Punjab or Rajasthan, Mughal period




Dancing celestial deity,  sandstone, early12th century, Uttar Pradesh




Thali (marriage necklace), gold later strung on black thread, late 19th century, Tamil Nadu, India



Brooch, 19th century, pierced gold foil over glass (thewa work), beads and filigree.  Pratapgarh, Rajasthan, India.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY







Necklace with hunting scenes, c. 1850 CE.  Pratapgarh, Rajasthan.

Actually at the Philadelphia Art Museum 


A complex, lengthy process – thewa – of fusing pierced 23K gold foil and coloured, molten glass. The gold is pierced into the shape of patterns or scenes.

Workmanship of families, father to son, in Pratapgarh, Rajasthan, India.

A process worked out in the very early 18th century, the exquisite excellence of this work has been widely recognized.




Armband with face, gold, early 10th century, Indonesia



Gold ear ornaments, Javanese, Indonesia, 8th to early 10th century




Gold necklace, Javanese, Indonesia, late 9th or early 10th centuries



Mamuli (ear ornament or pendant), 19th century, Sumba Island, Indonesia



Marranga pendant, gold,19th-early 20th century, Sumba Island, Indonesia







Gold earrings in front, end of 5th century, Korean, Gaya Federation, Three Kingdoms period





Headdress with phoenixes and flowers, gold, rubies, pearls, cat’s eyes, iron,  Ming dynasty, 16th-17th centuries, China





West Africa



Hip ornament with face, 16th-17th centuries, Edo Peoples, brass, Nigeria




Ivory bracelet with mudfish and heads of Portuguese traders, ivory copper?. 16th-17th centuries.  Edo Peoples, Kingdom of Benin, Nigeria




Bracelet, ivory, wood or coconut shell, 17th-19th centuries, Kingdom of Owo, Yoruba Peoples




Bracelets, 17th-18th centuries, brass.  Edo Kingdom, Benin, Nigeria




Head of an ‘iyoba’ (queen mother) wearing coral crown and collar, brass, iron, 18th-19th centuries.  Kingdom of Benin, Nigeria




Soul Washer’s Badge, gold, 18th/19thcentury. Ashanti, Ghana.  Loaned by a private collector to this museum



Armband with car, silver, 19th and 20th centuries. Fon Peoples, Dahomey Kingdom, Republic of Benin



Headdress, 19th and 20th centuries, wood, hide, metal, bone, paint, Ejagham Peoples, lower Cross River, Nigeria



Brooch, 19th-20th century, silver, Dahomey Kingdom, Republic of Benin



Pendant with head, gold, 19th to mid-20th centuries.  Baule Peoples, central Cote d’Ivoire

Pendant with crocodiles, gold 19th-20th centuries.  Lagoon Peoples, Cote d’Ivoire




Gold beads, 19th-mid-20th century, gold and copper alley.  Baule or Lagoon Peoples. Cote d’Ivoire