Sotheby’s celebrates black jewelry designers
Last Chance to See: Black Jewelery Designers Celebrated at Sotheby’s New York
Melanie Grant is curator of “Brilliant & Black: A Jewelery Renaissance” at Sotheby’s New York
Sotheby’s celebrates black jewelers with a new exhibition, “Brilliant & Black: A Jewelery Renaissance”. The exhibition, which is currently taking place at Sotheby’s New York (until September 26, 2021), with all pieces available for purchase until October 10, 2021, is the brainchild of the author and jewelry publisher. Melanie Grant, who organized the very first selling show devoted to black jewelry designers.
The exhibit features an eclectic selection of over 20 jewelers, with the 60 pieces included spanning a range of styles, from traditional to contemporary. Jewelers including Harwell Godfrey, Jacqueline Rabun, Rashid Johnson, Mateo New York, Almasika, Thelma West, Lola Fenhirst, Lorraine West and Johnny Nelson each presented pieces that can be seen in person in the galleries of Sotheby’s in New York or via Sotheby’s Buy Now Online Marketplace.
“I believe we have entered a revival of black jewelry design similar to the boom in post-war creativity we experienced in the 1920s when James Baldwin, Gordon Parks and Harry Belafonte stood up to expressing a new vision of darkness through the prism of art, ”comments Grant. “African-descent jewelry artists have been largely ignored in favor of ‘African-inspired’ design over the past century, despite the fact that so many resources for making jewelry come from the continent. “
For Catherine Sarr d’Almasika, the exhibition is an opportunity to explore each jewelry creation in more depth and an opportunity to connect with the public. The three pieces she presented – the “Universum” cuff, the “Vici” and “Le Cauri Endiamanté” earrings – are part of her sculptural aesthetic of jewelry. “I design jewelry that connects to broader traditions and meaning spanning generations and cultures,” she says. “I’m interested in overlapping circles in cultures. It is an honor to have Almasika among so many talented visionaries, Melanie Grant felt this urgency to bring together artists whose aesthetics and vision needed to be discovered by the world.
“The events of 2020 have brought about a cultural shift where black talent is recognized for its brilliance and jewelry designers for their contribution,” Grant adds. “They have fascinating stories to tell. §