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Posts Tagged ‘margaret de patta’

Contemporary Pieces Using Gemstones From Margaret De Patta Collection

Posted by learntobead on September 13, 2012

Contemporary Pieces Using Gemstones From Margaret De Patta Collection

The Velvet Davinci Gallery in San Francisco held an exhibit of contemporary jewelry artists creating new jewelry with old stones.

“The De Patta Project was born when Velvet da Vinci purchased many of these unset stones from the estate of Margaret De Patta. There are some beautiful cut stones by Francis J. Sperisen, cabochon stones and beach pebbles found by De Patta. De Patta’s nontradtional use of gemstones and non-precious pebbles are key to the understanding the importance of her influence on the field of contemporary jewelry. ”

Jewelers represented in this exhibit:

Deborah Boskin

Petra Class

Sandra Enterline

Geoffrey Giles


Joanna Gollberg

April Higashi

Tom Hill

Mike Homes

Dave Jones

Terri Logan

Deb Lozier


Dawn Nakanishi

Brigid O’hanrahan

Julia Turner

Andrea Williams


It is difficult, when creating jewelry for an exhibit celebrating the work of an historical figure, to decide the best balance among:

– referent and reference to the past, both in terms of De Patta’s jewelry style, as well as the overall modernist aesthetic.
– showcasing your own personal style
– demonstrating a sense of what contemporary style means today
– showcasing the gemstones used

It’s useful to explore these artists’ other work you can see images online, to get a better sense of the artist, as well as a better sense of De Patta.


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Margaret De Patta

Posted by learntobead on September 13, 2012

Margaret De Patta Jewelry
(1903 – 1964)

From about 1939, Margaret De Patta was a major designer in American Contemporary Jewelry history, perhaps one of the major influential forces during her time. She was a founding member of the San Francisco Metal Arts Guild.  She is often credited as starting the modern jewelry studio movement.

Her pieces epitomize her use of simple lines and structure. There is a strong architectural sense.   You can see clear connections to the cubist and modern art and bauhaus and modernist architecturer prominent at the time.

She characterized her pieces as miniature wearable sculptures, and in reaction to the prevailing view of  jewelry merely as body ornament.   Her use of line demarcates boundaries, creates a sense of dimensional space, frames elements within her pieces.


De Patta envisioned a piece of jewelry as a dynamic object capable of changing perceptions of space and movement by creating reflections, optical illusions, and unexpected alterations of light.


It is interesting to look at her jewelry designs, and think about contemporary design today, the similarities and differences.


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