Making Travel Plans? 5 Must-See Jewelry Exhibitions

Are you dreaming of a warm weather vacation in the next few months? Palm Beach…Santa Fe…LA? Here’s a roundup of top-flight jewelry exhibitions in these fine cities, as well as powerhouse collections in New York and Paris. Start packing!

David Webb Ceremonial Elephant Brooch
1964 Photo by Ilan Rubin Courtesy of
David Webb Seahorse Brooch 1966
Photo by Ilan Rubin Courtesy of

David Webb: Society’s Jeweler, January 16, 2014 – April 13, 2014, Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach

This exhibition explores the legendary David Webb, the high-society jewelry designer whose devotees included Jacqueline Kennedy, Doris Duke, and Diana Vreeland. The museum has gathered 80 outstanding examples of Webb’s necklaces, rings and bracelets in gold, jade, coral, enamel, and precious stones. You’ll see designers’ drawings and special behind-the-scenes displays, as well as archival artifacts that examine Webb’s role in the visual culture of the 1960s.


The Aurora Butterfly of Peace, Through June 3, 2014, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles

Twelve years in the making, a private collection of fancy color diamonds arranged in the shape of a butterfly is on display in the museum’s Gem and Mineral Hall’s Gem Vault. The 240 natural colored diamonds weigh a total of 167 carats and include purple diamonds from Russia, blues and oranges from South Africa, lime green stones from Brazil, and dozens of pink diamonds from the Argyle mine in Australia.

Turquoise Cuff Photo Courtesy of National Jeweler
Turquoise Cuff
Photo Courtesy of National Jeweler

Turquoise, Water Sky: The Stone and Its Meaning, April 13, 2014 – March, 2016, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe

This exhibition will highlight all aspects of Southwestern turquoise jewelry, from geology, mining and history to contemporary design. Hundreds of necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, and everyday objects will illustrate how the stone was used as ornament, for ceremonial purposes, and for trading. Consider making this show a jumping-off point for a trip around the Southwest — a great way to add to your own turquoise collection.

Photo Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Photo Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Jewels by JAR, Through March 9, 2014, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

OBJ has told you about this exhibit before, but it bears repeating. Joel A. Rosenthal is the American-born designer behind the exclusive house of JAR, which he established in 1978 on the Place Vendôme in Paris. “Jewels by JAR” is the first retrospective of the designer’s work in the United States and also the first at the Met that is devoted to a contemporary jewelry artist. Don’t miss the special capsule collection of signed and numbered JAR pieces priced between $600 and $7,500 for sale on the museum’s mezzanine.

Photo Courtesy of The Daily Mail
The Duchess of Windsor’s famous Cartier Flamingo Brooch, designed by Jeanne Toussaint, was made of platinum gold, diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies and one citrine.

Cartier: Style and History, Through February 16, 2014, Grand Palais, Paris

While most people associate this great house of jewelry with its fabulous diamonds, Cartier has played a key role in the history of the decorative arts. This comprehensive exhibit, which ranges from Cartier’s “jeweler to the kings” era to “style moderne,” follows the evolution of taste in the 20th century. If you need another reason to visit Paris this is it, but hurry and book your tickets now to get there by February 16. Au revoir!



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