I'm on a serious jewelry kick this week. (I know, I know...when am I not on a jewelry kick...) And I really like finding jewelry in unexpected places and finding pieces that have an interesting story to them. Sometimes this means I randomly stumble upon a vintage boutique on a sleepy New York City block, and sometimes it means I find the single great, looks-like-one-of-a-kind piece from a big box retailer like Ann Taylor. Today, I finally went through the Metropolitan Museum of Art giftshop catalogue that had arrived in my mailbox last week. And, well, you know what I found...
I found two amazing, beautiful, unusual, unexpected pendant necklaces that I have now become obsessed with. Now, yes, I am fully aware that the Met Museum catalogue is filled with some slightly bizarre, definitely-not-fashion items (frumpy sweater wrap with a still-life print anyone?). But they also have reproductions of incredibly ornate, opulent pieces of jewelry from hundreds of years ago that are housed in the museum's archives of gems and decorative arts.
The first fullfills my need to stock my jewelry wardrobe with various incarnations of crosses. I am a non-religious person who for some reason has always been drawn to this iconic, powerful shape. The more ornate and bigger the better...so as to not be so literal and more just beautiful and fashion-y. The one I've found at the Met is a reproduction of a 17th-century piece from Spain. In 18K gold overlay with crystal quartz, this stunner is a little over 2" long on an 18" chain. And with its unusual shape and over-the-top details, it makes a seriously luxe statement without making any sort of religious statement. I want to wear it with a plain white tank top, ripped-up jeans, and red patent platforms for a tongue-in-cheek, irreverent look.
The second pendant that instantly caught my eye is a replica of a French art deco magnifying glass from about 1920. Done in silver overlay with black hand-enameled finishes and jet glass beads, this could be taken as overly serious. But with a super modern outfit of matte latex leggings and a beaded, revealing dark tunic, this is the perfect night-out accessory that will look like you found it at a Parisian flea market. And even though it's sizable (4" on a 36" chain), it is statement-making yet still really pretty delicate, and therefore a perfect layering piece (I would put my short, diamonds-all-the-way-around necklace on top of it...).
So you see, you should always go to museums to expose yourself to as much history and culture as possible. And then you should browse the gift-shop for jewelry that makes you look just a little more well-traveled than you might actually be ;)