Historic New England publishes book on its jewelry collection


Historic New England introduces Keepsakes and Treasures: Stories from Historic New England’s Jewelry Collection by Associate Curator Laura E. Johnson.

Historic New England’s jewelry collection spans centuries of family tales, industrial development, and artistic expression. Some of these adornments bear designer names. Some are well used, with stories embedded in every nick and missing stone. Some represent up-to-the-minute trends and some embody deeply held spiritual beliefs.

Through full-color photographs and engaging stories the sixty-four-page Keepsakes and Treasures is an overview of what jewelry looked like for New Englanders from the mid-1700s to the present. The book explores a range of themes related to jewelry, including pearls, cameos, sparkling gems, memorials, love tokens, fashion, portraits, children, souvenirs, and items made in New England. Each love token, souvenir, and cherished heirloom shows a side of New England life. Given as gifts to mark memorable moments in life, prized as keepsakes of triumph or tragedy, collected for their history and beauty, jewelry has the ability to relate to universal themes of family, love, loss, celebration, and rites of passage.

“Historic New England has always collected objects with great stories,” said Associate Curator Johnson. “With more than 2,500 necklaces, brooches, rings, and other items of adornment it was difficult to select which objects to highlight in the book. One of my favorite pieces is the bracelet on the book cover. I think of it as a wearable family tree.”

The book is available for $19.95 (plus shipping and handling). Buy it online or call 617-995-5924.

Many of the items in Keepsakes and Treasures: Stories from Historic New England’s Jewelry Collection will be on display next May when Historic New England opens Mementos: Jewelry of Life and Love from Historic New England at the Eustis Estate in Milton, Massachusetts. Mementos is an exhibition of approximately 130 pieces of jewelry with complementary textiles, portraits, and photographs, all carefully chosen from Historic New England’s extensive collections.

Media Contact: Susanna Crampton, 617-994-5955, [email protected]

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