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Our Jewelry, Transformed

This fall, we’re proud to shine a spotlight on the innovative ways our art-inspired jewelry gets made

In honor of Jewelry: The Body Transformed, a landmark exhibition at The Met featuring millennia of exquisite adornments, The Met Store has upgraded its own jewelry collections. We’ve incorporated high-tech metalworking, USA-based production, integrated production (from first single ingot to final chain link), and other worthwhile techniques into our latest designs. Read on for a glance behind the scenes—and a peek at how the jewelry magic happens.

We’ve made each piece unique to The Met.

Tiny hallmark tags bearing The Met logo dangle from every bracelet and necklace. You won’t find these hallmarks anywhere else.

 

Our partners have produced these tags using two techniques. A 21st-century adaption of an ancient technique, lost-wax casting uses forms—or “model trees”—created with a 3D printer. The trees are cast in plaster, with those molds in turn filled with molten silver, then carefully broken off one by one to be assigned to a necklace or bracelet. 

 

Alternatively, the tags are etched with state-of-the-art lasers, which can cut characters and edges down to a fraction of a millimeter.

 

We’ve manufactured in the USA.

Designed in three dimensions using CAD, the Byzantine Gems Collection is an assembly of many carefully designed parts.

 

A designer starts with 3D renderings in CAD, making sure the proportions of each piece are perfect. Next, crosses for each delicate drop get soldered on a conveyor belt, as metal clusters of beads are cast using the lost-wax method. Add fair-trade stones to the settings, and beautiful pieces emerge.

Our necklaces have up to 58 separate parts apiece.

 

We’ve designed in three dimensions.

Our Byzantine Bead and Circle jewelry was meticulously designed using CAD software. We’ve approached arranging every link, bead, and shepherd’s-hook closure with the tools of an architect.

 

We’ve smithed our own metal.

New silver pieces can be found across our fall collections. Each piece began as a series of tiny pellets, which are melted down in a crucible heated to 970 degrees Celsius.

Poured into plaster molds, then cooled, polished, and assembled, the tiny silver dots end the process as carefully wrought bracelets, necklaces, and rings.

 

We’ve put the finishing touches on by hand.

For our Hellenistic Cabochon Collection, our partner artisans have set sparkling fair-trade, semiprecious stones at the center of mesh metal chains.

 

Such meticulous techniques salute the work of ancient Greek artisans.

Discover even more jewelry and other art-inspired gifts at store.metmuseum.org.

Replies

  1. This is really a beautiful, smart thing! Creating this magnificent jewelry, using American craftsmen and women and offering unique pieces that only The Metropolitan Museum can offer. Brilliant.

    I love the beautiful pieces and am pleasantly surprised they are being created right here in the U.S.A. Also as an artist and craftswoman it is of great interest to me to see what goes on behind the scenes in the making of these gorgeous jewels. Bravo!

    Reply
  2. For years, the MMA had its own, US workshops for creating beautiful and lasting jewelry. You went seriously astray when you farmed out pieces to other places; I recall an Egyptian brooch (a gift from my husband) that arrived, sans its stone – a carnelian cabochon. Yes, the Museum replaced the brooch, described as gold vermeil, yet the metal of this replacement soon turned greenish, meaning the under metal was copper, not sterling silver, as all true vermeil is. Not only was it merely gold-plated, but a micro-level of gold had been used.

    Now your items are more costly, but I can trust them to be of the quality I once knew. I’m 68 years old and bought my first jewelry from you as a college student (using baby-sitting money – at 50 cents per hour), when I ordered your tiny, B&W catalogue from the advert in the back of a popular magazine, then bought a pair of lovely SS earrings I still wear. You proudly said all object you sold were made in the MMA’s own workshop.

    Bring back all the jobs.

    Reply
  3. I would like to see more items from Persian and Cypriot cultures. Is that a possibility? There us much re: Italian, Egyptian, French, etc. artwork, jewelry, clothing and so on.
    Would love to see some expansion.

    Reply
  4. I am inspired by this turn at the MET. Thank you for celebrating the skill and remarkableness of the artists who make your fine gifts.

    Reply

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