Barbara Berger’s costume jewellery exhibition at the museum of art and design celebrates the craftsmanship and attitude of costume jewelry but also raised the question in my mind – When is costume jewelry art and when is it kitsch?
In India we have mixed views on costume jewelry as the tendency is to pay top dollar for ‘real’ stuff – read gold, diamonds and precious stones rather than pay a premium for design and designers name .
We also get very good costume jewellery in the Mughal and Nizami traditions in Jaipur and Hyderabad relatively cheap and unsigned so we are not trained to look for signatures as yet. There are Jamini Ahluwalia pieces you would pay for but never at the price you see costume jewellery in the West .
Barbara Berger has collected every known name in the world of costume jewelry from Madame Gripoix, Miriam Haskell and Joseph of Hollywood to designs by houses like Chanel, Dior, Valentino ,Ysl ,Nina Ricci and many more. It is an amazing collection and definitely worth a visit .
You can also go to the museum website for more details www.madmuseum.org
This is a selection from one woman’s collection that occupies an entire floor in the museum. Perhaps these pictures will inspire you to start your own collection .To my Indian friends -do hang on to all your Naga, Toda and Tibetan pieces as they will be great collector pieces one day in my opinion.