A New Jewelry Exhibition Expresses Itself In Words, Sayings and Symbols


“In an age when texting has become the millennials’ main mode of communication and politicians tweet their messages to the public, it seems the perfect moment for an exhibition of jewelry which expresses everything from emotions to social conscience through words and symbols. Such is the case of Message Speaks, a group exhibition, opening on Oct 3rd, 2017 at Aaron Faber Gallery. This is a body of work that is as timely as it is timeless.  Jewelry that conveys meaning or creates a message through phrases or a combination of text and symbols dates back for centuries and is a part of almost every culture throughout history.

Patricia Kiley Faber, co-owner of the gallery and an expert curator of studio and artisan jewelry for over 40 years, explains, “I had been seeing this theme among artisans at a global level who are incorporate messages into their work. The exhibition includes pieces with one word, a short poem, sayings in a different language or a recognizable international or talismanic symbol.”She continues, “Although jewelry has spoken meanings of status, power,

She continues, “Although jewelry has spoken meanings of status, power, protection and love from ancient history to contemporary times, this type of expression has been of great interest to me over the past few years. In addition to the growing number of studio jewelers creating pieces within this theme, there is a broader context. Whenever I am on the subway or public place, I see both young and older generations, texting, instant messaging, sending photos via Instagram or Snap Chat and I’ve realized this short visual way of communication is part of our modern life and the way we talk to each other now.” Faber adds.

At first Faber says she found it challenging to concentrate on an exhibition that was literal and narrative after decades of focusing on more abstract pieces from contemporary jewelers. “Then I realized all art is a form of communication”

In Message Speaks, Faber has chosen 18 jewelers who are concentrating on some sort of visual text. They have chosen different mediums and materials including gold, silver, acrylic and enamel. “These are jewelers who definitely have something to say and we have chosen a diverse group which includes new discoveries and some longtime friends.”

Masha Shapiro for Beloved “I Wear Your Memory” Bracelets”

Masha Shapiro the designer behind Beloved Fine Jewelry has included messages such as “I Wear Your Memory” with black enamel and chasing, which references memorial and sentimental jewelry of the Georgian and Victorian eras. Pamela Argentieri’s pieces reflect the same time periods but focus on symbols instead of words.


Michael Berger’s “All Road Lead To Rome” ring

Michael Berger has created a ring entitle “All Roads Lead To Rome” which focuses on a sculptural three-dimensional ring which spells out ‘Roma Amor’ –borrowing inspiration from ancient Rome and the Grand Tour period of the Victorian era.

“Another one of our artists, Kim Rawdin taught English on an Indian reservation in the 70’s and 80’s and creates bold sterling silver bracelets set with such stones as cabochon angel skin coral, mabe pearl, lapis lazuli, chrysoprase and striped onyx agate.  Each of his pieces is inscribed inside with a poem that he has written,” explains Faber. One in the exhibit reads, “Longer days of early spring…. the wind and the colors…no road back to yesterday.”

Trudee Hill’s Fool’s (gold) brooch

Trudee Hill’s “Fool’s (gold)” brooch plays on the concept of true fool’s gold, which is actually pyrite. The piece represented here is actually 24K plate over sterling silver but as Trudee explains, “’Fools (gold)’ is worn as a reminder to think critically and consider your sources.”

Paula Isola’s “The Lover” Bracelet

Paula Isola’s messages are in Spanish and her signature pieces include text on paper such in this bracelet, which she has named “The Lover” due to the fact that all of the words and segments of phrases revolve around love or fragments of love letters.

Celia Pascaud, a French jeweler calls his collection, “Unknown Writings”, with pieces for the show, rendered in enamel sterling and acrylic.

Julie Lamb recalls the nostalgia of New York City’s past with subway tokens, which are engraved with “I heart New York-with a heart symbol” and “If I Can Make It There” from the song New York New York.

“It’s been a joy to bring different international designers together and see how they all interpret this theme of transmitting or sharing their thoughts, feelings, wishes, dreams and humor,” Faber concludes.

The exhibition will display three to five  pieces of each of the creators and will be on view and for sale at Aaron Faber Gallery from Oct 3-28th in New York and then travel on to the SOFA show in Chicago, from November 2-5, 2017

Artists included in the show:

Pamela Argentieri, Tom Munsteiner, Masha Shapiro, Beloved NYC, Celia Pascaud
Michael Berger , Gretchen Raber, Matthieu Cheminée , Kim Rawdin, Jim Cotter ,  Danny Saathoff
Trudee Hill ,  Anika Smulovitz, Julie Lamb , Dickson Yewn, Thomas Mann , Peter Schmid/Atelier Zobe, Paula Isola


For an article I previously wrote on message jewelry from the past through the present, please see: JEWELRY AND FASHION EXPRESSED IN WORDS, SAYINGS AND MOTTOS