Jaw-Dropping Gems and Precious Metals Form “Natural Beauties”

Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont, raises the curtain Saturday, November 15 on "Natural Beauties," a new exhibition of jewelry inspired by the natural world.

"If you're a fan of nature, if you're a fan of jewelry, this is the best of both worlds for you," curator Kory Rogers said.

Precious metals, gemstones, fine enameling and other materials combine to showcase forms mimicking plants, animals, and insects. "I think there's something poetic about using precious natural materials to emulate nature," Rogers said.

The exhibition contains some 250 objects, mostly pieces of jewelry, from the late-1800s through today. It includes a necklace made of specially-treated glass that resembles sea anemones or jellyfish that glow in deep black waters, and ears of corn with pearl kernels and gold thread husks. "We want visitors to take away a greater appreciation for the technical skill that jewelers have in creating these works of art," Rogers told New England Cable News.

Jeweler Ted Muehling, whose work is included in the show, said he finds inspiration for his creations from some of the earth's tiniest inhabitants, such as caterpillars and spiders. "For me, they're miracles, as are birds and shells; things from nature," Muehling said. "I find them amazing--exquisite."

Another jeweler whose work is on view in "Natural Beauties," Gabriella Kiss, is famed for her bugs, such as her praying mantis brooch. She said the mechanics of nature--all those tiny insect legs and joints--fascinate her. "There's something about zeroing in on a scale that is so much smaller than ours to recognize the enormity of that world," Kiss told NECN.

"Natural Beauties" is on view at Shelburne Museum through March 8. 

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