The Collection of Barbara Berger

August 20, 2013

From the Collection of Barbara Berger: Maison Gripox collar necklace circa 1950s
Barbara Berger Exhibit

Barbara Berger Exhibit

After receiving the exhibit’s incredible book for my birthday and hearing our friends rave, my sister and I decided we had to visit to New York’s Museum of Art and Design to see the collection of costume jewelry from Barbara Berger for ourselves. While the book is impressive and inspiring, nothing can compare to the 600 pieces displayed in the museum. Although people have been admiring and collecting type of jewelry for a long time, Mrs Berger has really established 60 designers including Mariam Haskell, Maison Gropix and Schreiner as the industry’s most important through her exhibit.   Not limited by restrictions of natural stones and materials, costume jewelry can take dramatic shapes and wild color combinations.

While walking the exhibit I kept thinking about Mrs. Berger’s jewelry rules from her book which are amusing but also ones that I adhere to:

1) Always put on more jewelry and mix fine with costume
2) Wear earrings at all times, A woman is underdressed without them, plus earlobes are terribly unsexy.
3) Jewelry should be worn and not wear you; it all works if you have confidence
4) Traveling is a bore if you don’t include shopping for jewelry- that’s all the fun!
5) A woman’s power is revealed through her jewelry. Her adornment gives her the strength to confront the world, like an Amazon carrying her shield.” (Miller, Harris Simons. Fashion Jewelry: The Collection of Barbara Berger. 2013.)

If you ever draped yourself on your grandmother’s costume jewelry as a child and continue to covet costume pieces as much as your fine jewelry, then this exhibit is for you!

From the Collection of Barbara Berger: Maison Gripox collar necklace circa 1950s