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Jewelry exhibit sparkles and shines

The designs for the stunningly detailed jewelry pieces in the Garden of Light exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History were each hand drawn by artist Paula Crevoshay.   (credit: Nikita Mishra/) The designs for the stunningly detailed jewelry pieces in the Garden of Light exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History were each hand drawn by artist Paula Crevoshay. (credit: Nikita Mishra/)

Tucked away at the back of the Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History is a small room filled with dazzling jewels and stunning necklaces, bracelets, brooches, and more. While they look as though they could belong to royalty, in reality the precious gems in this room are the works of artist Paula Crevoshay as part of the Garden of Light exhibit.

As one enters the room, a large turquoise and gold necklace glittering under its display case immediately catches the viewer’s eye. Strategically placed at the center of the room, this necklace drew several visitors to the exhibit and was unarguably the main attraction. Nevertheless, the multitude of sparkling artifacts lining the walls could capture the attention of jewelry aficionados and those indifferent to jewelry alike.

Crevoshay, who has been designing jewelry for more than 30 years, began doing so as a hobby. After four years of learning ancient metal techniques used in India, she launched her career in jewelry design. Crevoshay’s workshops currently span the U.S. from New Mexico to New York, with additional locations in Thailand and Hong Kong. Her pieces are priced between $5,000 and $250,000, and have been compared to those by designers Fabergé and Lalique. The main reason for such steep prices is her design process: According to Whirl magazine, each piece is drawn by hand, and contains 18-karat yellow gold intertwined with gemstones that have been sourced from all over the world.

Each collection featured in the Garden of Light exhibit is entirely unique from the next, yet still unified by the common theme of nature. Crevoshay draws inspiration from the beauty of the environment, evidenced by names such as “The Undersea Garden” and “Big Blue Marble” for her jewelry collections.

The previously mentioned turquoise and gold necklace is part of “The Undersea Garden” collection. Other standouts in the exhibit include the “What is Green?” display, consisting of jewelry characterized by gold swirls and intricately carved gems in the emerald hue, as well as the water-centric “Big Blue Marble,” which contains jewels with opal, pearl, and turquoise. Yet another called “Winged Partners” pays tribute to its namesake, with glimmering brooches in the shapes of butterflies and dragonflies. Even for someone without any interest in brooches, it is impossible not to admire the elegance of Crevoshay’s designs.

Those with no inclination toward jewelry should not be discouraged from visiting this exhibit. As beautiful as the Garden of Light is, it is educational as well. There is one display of famous diamonds from around the world, where the description reads, “Many have adorned the crowns of royalty, while others have been lost in the mists of time.” Each gemstone has its source location indicated, and some are even emphasized, such as the “Tourmalines of Brazil” collection. This enchanting exhibit takes visitors out of the museum and transports them to, as the name indicates, a garden of light.