On 8 November the Mineralogy Museum in Paris hosted the grand opening of the jewellery exhibition of American jeweller Paula Crevoshay’s work. Entitled ‘Illuminations: Earth to Jewel’ it will run until 1 February 2017. The exhibition took two years to prepare and now 32 original Crevoshay pieces are being exhibited, surrounded by minerals from the museum’s own collection.
By using a wide range of breathtaking gems, Paula pays tribute to nature and its jewelled resources. Decorating large pendants, cocktail rings, cuff bracelets and other impressively sized jewellery, you can see well-known stones such as beryl, corundum, tourmalines and diamonds, as well as rarer ones such as apatite, kunzite and sphalerite. In the exhibition these, among many other stones, are laid before visitors’ eyes in their naked forms in which they were taken from the earth’s bowels, and also, after cutting and setting in a jewel. The co-curator of the Parisian Mineralogy Museum, Eloïse Gaillou, reported that the juxtaposition of uncut gems and jewellery was not accidental. The purpose was to give an opportunity to curious visitors to see the two very different forms of the same mineral, before and after it has been touched by a human hand.
All the pieces that Paula selected for the exhibition are in one way or another connected with nature. It has a significant influence on the designer’s inexhaustible inspiration – something Paula reiterated in her speech at the opening ceremony: “It is my mission to share my devotion to the colours of the earth. My wish is to mirror the universal sublime moments in nature through my art. When a rainbow arcs across the sky we are transfixed. When the full moon rises over a dark ocean and when we gaze up to the Milky Way it delights and amazes. These are just a few of those moments that make us stop to feel a greater presence. It is in that moment of inner stillness that we experience being at one with all that there is. This oneness is my inspiration. The moment of wonder is what I hope you will experience as you behold the minerals paired with the jewels”.
At the Parisian Mineralogy Museum, you can see a golden octopus, Ula the Octapus, decorated with Burmese red spinels, blue moostones and cat’s eye moonstone eyes.; Sweet Montana, a necklace whose flower is encrusted with 397 multicoloured sapphires from the US state of Montana; and a pendant, Jingu in Regala, artfully carved by Glenn Lehrer from dendritic agate. In fact, in addition to fine art, Paula studied anthropology in her youth, paying special attention to symbolism – and this is all reflected in the design of her jewellery. Therefore, in the exhibition, amidst flowers and marine life, you will see an interpretation of the River Goddess, a pendant with chrysocolla, moonstones, diamonds and opals, and Sol’s Jewel, also a pendant, dedicated to the sun and decorated with heliodor, green tourmaline and chrysoberyl.
Besides the incredible gems, the American designer has demonstrated in her work sophisticated jewellery techniques, for example, “stones within stones” and stone carving. The Mineral Snowflake brooch resembles an intricate mosaic arranged out of small bars, carved from lapis lazuli, malachite, turquoise and opal, and the Maia pendant which is decorated with beautiful girl’s face carved in reverse intaglio by Thomas McPhee on a medallion carved from quartz.
“Paula Crevoshay wanted to share her love of gems and honour the skills of goldsmithing from ancient times to the present. What better place than the Parisian Mineralogy Museum to make this tribute?” says Didier Nectoux, curator of the Mineralogy Museum MINES ParisTech.
It is worth mentioning that this is the first exhibition of Paula Crevoshay’s work in Europe. If you cannot see it at some point before 1 February 2017, this designer’s pieces can be found at permanent exhibitions at the American Gemological Institute, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian.