Beautiful Creatures: Jewelry Inspired by the Animal Kingdom

Image of Beautiful Creatures: Jewelry Inspired by the Animal Kingdom
Release Date: 
September 22, 2020
Rizzoli Electa
Reviewed by: 

The subtitle to Beautiful Creatures is Jewelry Inspired by The Animal Kingdom, but prepare yourself to see some of the most spectacular jewelry ever produced whose jumping off point was anything from a simple scallop shell or butterfly to some of the most incredible jungle inhabitants.

“This catalog for the Beautiful Creatures exhibition is devoted to animal themed jewelry designs created over the last 150 years. . . . it dovetails with the 150th anniversary and the completely renovated jewel halls of The Museum of Natural History in New York City.”

The images are staggering, with accompanying text that offers you as much as you need to know as well as baiting you to want to see these pieces in the flesh, so to speak. What cannot be ignored is the unrivaled craftsmanship that played a major part and a key element in the architecture of such mind-boggling jewels that were created by the famous and not so famous of fine jewelry makers.

What is also exceptionally gracious and inclusive is that Fasel not only displays the works of the famed heritage brands and designers but also some very unlikely designers and brands that will probably not be familiar but are as noteworthy as the usual cast of characters. This reader was extremely appreciative of this aspect as so many books of this genre solely focus on the brands and reputations that we all know so well when it comes to haute joallier.

This is one of those books that that may be lacking in physical size but more than compensates with its astounding content, both visually and textually. This reader relished the time it took to read and in so many instances held the book even closer to my eyes to enable a closer look at the magnificent examples spotlighted by Fasel.

This is a book for the jewelry aficionado as well for those who might have a passing interest in everything from ornithology to entomology to herpetology to batrachology to simple seashells. In other words, there are few creatures that have not been memorialized by these créateurs and incredibly gifted and skilled craftsmen.

Get in line, wait for the opening of the exhibit at the Museum of Natural History, and get lost in the grandiosity of it all. In the meantime, you can be teased with the jaw dropping content of this book.