For centuries, extraordinary gemstones have been the centerpieces of stunning jewelry made to adorn royalty, aristocracy, high society, and Hollywood stars. Over fifty pieces that once belonged Marjorie Merriweather Post, one of the greatest jewelry collectors of the twentieth century, will tell the story behind some of the remarkable stones and the jewelry into which they were transformed.
When changes after World War I added powerful figures to the ranks of the wealthy, the world’s most exquisite jewels passed into new hands and revolutionary changes in fashion led to innovation in jewelry design. Marjorie Post was among the new elite and she acquired jewelry with the same discrimination that she applied to her acclaimed collections of fine objects from imperial Russia and eighteenth-century France. Marjorie was not just interested in wearing jewels, but was a connoisseur. Her resulting collection represented the finest assemblage of gems and historical and twentieth-century jewelry in America. She commissioned great pieces from the most important jewelry firms of her time including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Harry Winston, and Verdura among many others.
Spectacular Gems and Jewelry will display the greatest examples from Hillwood’s collection, left by Marjorie for the benefit of future generations, along with important loans of pieces once owned by Post but currently housed in other museum or private collections. The exhibition will afford the opportunity to examine the great quality and beauty of gems in the collection, their historical significance, and the evolution of twentieth-century jewelry design from the 1900s through the 1960s.