All that glitters is gold—and diamonds, pearls, rubies, emeralds and sapphires! Visitors of all ages will be dazzled by extraordinary gems, beautiful jewelry and fantastically embellished creations from the collections of the Smithsonian Institution.
Presenting uncut examples of precious materials such as jade, amethyst and quartz alongside the artistry of man-made objects, Jeweled Objects of Desire celebrates the beauty of stones found deep within the earth. Highlights of the exhibition include a 7,000 carat quartz egg from Brazil, containing 240 facets (or surfaces) and resting on a gold stand embellished with 16 small and 4 large sapphires; a freshwater pearl corncob with 18-karat gold husk, inspired by the importance corn played in Incan society; and an ivory camel covered in brilliant-cut diamonds and cabochons of rubies, emeralds, and sapphires.
The special exhibition also features the work of internationally renowned jewelry designer Sidney Mobell, celebrated for crafting common utilitarian items into unique artworks through the use of gold and precious gemstones. Among the spectacular works on view are a 14-karat gold cell phone encrusted with more than 250 gems; a golden mail box studded with 76.70 carats of precious and semi-precious stones; and a jeweled penny gumball machine. Also included is the world’s most expensive slot machine, an antique Art Déco-style model covered in gold and gemstones from Mobell’s own collection valued at $21 million.
Related Events and Programs
Meet Sidney Mobell
Jeff Rogers Photography
On loan from the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, through the Smithsonian Affiliate Program, supported by the MassMutual Foundation.