I typically write concerning the actually superb people I’ve gotten to know throughout my journey as a collector. Immediately, I’m writing about somebody I all the time needed to fulfill: style jewellery collector Barbara Berger. Each accumulating style has a rock star, a legend in their very own time, and she or he was it for costume jewellery fans like me. After I lately discovered of her passing by means of mutual associates on social media, my coronary heart sank figuring out how a lot they might miss her and that my alternative to get to know their “Cookie” had sadly handed.
Certainly one of my regrets as a collector, and I can’t recall too many, isn’t attending the opening of Berger’s jewelry exhibit on the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York in 2013. The truth that I used to be even invited was an honor. However in hindsight, I ought to have overcome the obstacles that held me again and jumped on the possibility to attend. A number of of my associates went, and celebrities like Nate Berkus and Iris Apfel, together with a few of my favourite up to date jewellery designers, had been there to assist Berger. Based mostly on the images I ogled on-line, it was an evening to recollect. However as they are saying, shoulda, woulda, coulda, and the e-book associated to the exhibit was my comfort prize.
What Makes the Barbara Berger Assortment Particular
The e-book highlighting a number of the items on show at MAD was printed earlier than the exhibit’s opening. I acquired a overview copy due to my pal Harrice Miller, who penned the textual content and helped curate the occasion. After I posted a overview on-line with a beautiful picture of Berger, I heard by means of the grapevine that she’d shared that function with Berkus. I hardly ever know who reads my work on-line, so figuring out Oprah’s favourite inside designer took a peek at it, to not point out our jewellery queen herself, was a momentary thrill.
Truthfully, although, wanting by means of Fashion Jewelry: The Collection of Barbara Berger was much more inspiring to get a glimpse of what made the cache—and the collector—so particular. First, she had the true coronary heart of an fanatic, as her phrases famous within the intro textual content: “To speak about accumulating costume jewellery is to speak about life, type, coronary heart, and fervour. Amassing is a treasure hunt, on the lookout for the unattainable, after which occurring to the following problem.”
After inheriting all her mom’s jewellery at a younger age, Berger’s first buy as a collector was a pair of Chanel earrings at a Parisian flea market when she was simply 13. Selecting up baubles as a pastime, as she put it, turned her ardour.
“Creating my portfolio of over 4 thousand items produced by greater than eighty designers represents over fifty years of accumulating,” she shares within the e-book. “I purchase what I like, and it’s normally love at first sight.” The exhibit included 600 of these examples, and the e-book highlights 200 of them.
What impressed me most about Berger’s ardour for costume jewellery, particularly since her late husband Mauricio was a jeweler, is that she had the means to purchase nice jewellery. Actually, most of the couture items she added to her assortment normally price as a lot as nice jewellery. As an alternative of following a want for treasured gems and metals, she embraced the private expression allowed by style jewellery. She acknowledged the artistry and attraction of each instance she added to her assortment. That’s the mark of a real connoisseur.
The Depth of the Barbara Berger Assortment
Wanting by means of the index of designers included in Fashion Jewelry: The Collection of Barbara Berger hints at what the portfolio contains. In fact, all the perfect style homes are there. Dior, Schiaparelli, and Balenciaga are all represented, and her love of Chanel’s finest work is obvious. Jewels from Maison Gripoix had been additionally clearly favorites, with many attractive designs from her stash fantastically photographed. Collector favorites like Boucher, Trifari, Eisenberg, Kenneth Jay Lane, Joseph of Hollywood, and Schreiner are additionally highlighted.
These, nonetheless, are the designers and corporations you’d anticipate to be included within the assortment. I do know Berger was “one in every of us” as a result of she collected newer designers that many individuals don’t learn about. She bought up to date items by Canadian designer Alan Anderson, and though her work wasn’t within the e-book, I do know that a formidable design by my good pal Katerina Musetti was on show on the MAD exhibit. I can’t neglect about Lawrence Vrba, whom I’ve personally identified for years and ardently admire. A number of of his items are in my very own “by no means half with” stash. The late David Mandel, who designed underneath the identify The Show Must Go On!, and Vrba’s scholar Robert Sorrell are additionally represented within the assortment.
I additionally love the inclusion of quirky items by Andy Warhol’s muse BillyBoy*, Dolce & Gabbana’s purple lipstick designs, and Karl Lagerfeld’s assortment that includes colourful make-up brushes. Edgy, trendy items marketed by Pierre Cardin, Versace, and Missoni additionally made their method into Berger’s portfolio, displaying her broad appreciation for all sorts of bijou artistry.
These mentions simply scratch the floor however ought to offer you an thought concerning the superb vary of bijou Berger personally chosen, cherished, and often wore. She was certainly a consummate collector, and her prized possessions and the friendships she made whereas acquiring them will proceed to be her legacy within the style jewellery world.
Pamela Siegel is a contract author and creator who has been educating collectors for greater than 20 years. Along with three books on subjects referring to antiques and collectibles, she often shares her experience by means of on-line writing and articles for print-based publications. Pamela can also be the co-founder of Costume Jewellery Collectors Int’l (CJCI) and the proprietor of Stylish Antiques by Pamela.
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