Our celestial Stars of The Met Necklace features a range of stars
· BY ·

Spotlight on The Met Collection: Stars of The Met Charm Jewelry

Our star-studded charm bracelet and necklace take their radiant designs from diverse treasures in The Met collection

In celebration of our “celestial” theme for fall, The Met Store team has commissioned a pair of matching pieces featuring stars from six Museum curatorial departments. Crafted in 18K gold plate with enamel, Swarovski crystals, glass, and various antique finishes, these delightful charm-bedecked adornments will add an element of art-inspired glamour and whimsy to your wardrobe. Below is a brief look at the artworks—and the stories behind the stars.

Our Stars of The Met Charm Bracelet and Necklace

Star from a Library Table – The American Wing

Herter Brothers, the New York firm of the German-born brothers Gustave and Christian Herter, was arguably the leading cabinetmaking and decorating firm in the U.S. during the late 19th century. Formed at a time when wealthy Americans were redefining luxurious standards of living, Herter Brothers created cosmopolitan environments for some of the most visible and affluent clients of the era. This star recalls a magnificent rosewood library table in the American Wing, which was originally made for William H. Vanderbilt’s lavish New York City mansion. The impressive tabletop, inlaid with mother-of-pearl and brass, presents a celestial field with the stars over the northern hemisphere on the day Vanderbilt was born.

Library Table (detail). Herter Brothers (German, active New York, 1864–1906). Made in New York, New York, United States. Rosewood, brass, mother-of-pearl, and abalone, 1879–82. Purchase, Mrs. Russell Sage Gift, 1972  1972.47

Star from a Cylinder Seal – Ancient Near Eastern Art

The invention in the fourth millennium B.C. of carved cylinders that could be rolled over clay led to the development of complex seal designs. First used in Mesopotamia, the seals served as a mark of ownership or identification. Seals were either impressed on lumps of clay that were used to close jars, doors, and baskets, or rolled onto clay tablets that recorded information about commercial or legal transactions. This seal depicts a worshiper making an offering to a divinity seated above two human-headed bulls. The god is enthroned on a stool with animal legs of a type known from actual contemporary remains from both Egypt and Anatolia. Between them are a winged rosette disk with crescent, two stars, a squatting monkey, and an ankh, the Egyptian symbol for life. A sphinx wearing an Egyptian crown attacking an ibex is also depicted above a kneeling griffin-demon in a flounced skirt. One of the stars from this seal was transformed into the jewelry’s round blue charm.

Cylinder Seal and Modern Impression. Old Syrian. Hematite, ca. 1820–1730 B.C. Purchase, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Gift, 1991  1991.368.

Star from a Saber with Scabbard – Islamic Art

The most important ceremony in the inauguration of many Islamic rulers was the investiture with a sword, rather than a crown. This extravagantly decorated saber traditionally is said to have been refitted in 1876 for the investiture of the Ottoman sultan Murad V (reigned May 30–August 31, 1876). The sword was probably assembled by a court jeweler, using a 17th-century Iranian blade, an 18th-century Indian jade grip, and gem-studded gold and gilt-brass mounts of contemporary workmanship. The emerald near the top of the scabbard opens to reveal a secret compartment containing a gold coin marked with the name of Süleyman the Magnificent (1494–1566), the most powerful Ottoman ruler of the 16th century. Our jewelry highlights several star designs from this saber.

Saber and Scabbard. Grip, Indian, 18th or 19th century; guard, scabbard, blade decoration, Turkish, 19th century; blade, Iranian, dated A.H. 1099/A.D. 1688. Steel, gold, silver, nephrite, diamonds, emeralds, pearls. Gift of Giulia P. Morosini, in memory of her father, Giovanni P. Morosini, 1923 23.232.2a, b

Star from a Terracotta Column-Krater – Greek and Roman Art

Our jewelry’s openwork charm highlights a star painted on an ancient Greek terracotta column-krater, a bowl for mixing wine and water. Attributed to the Group of Boston, this handsome Late Classical red-figure vessel was made about 360–350 B.C. The star adorns an outdoor scene in which Athena, the divine protector of Herakles, is shown seated in conversation with Castor or Pollux, the twin half-brothers from Greek mythology.

Terracotta Column-Krater. Attributed to the Group of Boston. Late Classical. Greek, South Italian, Apulian. Terracotta, red-figure; 360–350 B.C. Rogers Fund, 1950  50.11.4

Star from a Pair of Ear Clips in the Shape of Starfruit – Asian Art

Evoking the richness of classical Javanese jewelry, this star takes its inspiration from Central Javanese adornments dating from the eighth–early tenth century. In this powerful Southeast Asian kingdom, lustrous gold was fashioned by goldsmiths into personal adornments worn on the body; made into ritual objects; and traded in commerce. Both Javanese royalty and commoners likely wore gleaming gold jewelry, including striking earrings with intricate applied ornament, such as granulation and floral designs. 

Pair of Ear Clips in the Shape of Starfruit. Indonesia, Central Javanese period. Gold, 8th–early 10th century. The Samuel Eilenberg-Jonathan P. Rosen Collection of Indonesian Gold, Bequest of Samuel Eilenberg and Gift of Jonathan P. Rosen, 1998.  1998.544.114a, b

Star from a String of Amulets – Egyptian Art

An amulet is a small object that a person believes will magically bestow a particular form of power or protection. The last star in our roundup is based on a string of star-shaped amulets from ancient Egypt. They were molded in faience, a ceramic material made of quartz, alkaline salts, lime, and mineral-based colorants. While faience is made of common materials, it maintained important status among precious stones and metals. In ancient Egypt, faience objects were considered magical, filled with the undying shimmer of the sun, and imbued with the powers of rebirth. This star charm on our necklace is decorated with hand-applied blue enamel to suggest the ancient Egyptian original. 

String of Star Amulets. Egypt. Middle Kingdom–Early New Kingdom, Dynasty 12–18. Blue faience, 1981–1295 B.C. Rogers Fund and Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1922  22.1.1298

Shop our unique celestial charm jewelry here.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Museum reserves the right to delete comments that it deems inappropriate for any reason. Comments are moderated and publication times may vary.

Copyright © 2016 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved. 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10028.
Terms & Conditions · Privacy