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Every object tells a story. Some, lovingly preserved and locked away behind glass in museums, have theirs studied, documented and typed out on neat signs for visitors to absorb.
Others are objects lost and found, their stories mysteries to be guessed at, or unravelled. Or transformed into pieces of art, as artist Isabella Blanco does with pieces of antique jewellery, which she reworks and incorporates into contemporary pieces in an intriguing blend of Art Deco and modern design. A collection of her designs is currently being showcased in the exhibition ‘Joias com História’ (‘Jewels with History’), at the Museu de Arte Sacra (Sacred Art Museum).
‘Rescuing history’ as she puts it, ‘bringing back into use things that had been forgotten, left in corners of drawers’, Blanco searches out antique brooches, belt buckles, bag straps, cigarette holders, and fragments of ivory and bakelite. Focusing on Victoriana and Art Deco accessories, she uses them to create lavish pieces of jewellery in silver and gold, studded with stones that include diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires.
Amongst her favourites of the 45 pieces in the exhibition is an antique letter opener, which has become the strap of a purse embellished with black diamonds and onyx stone.
And inspired, in turn, by Blanco’s Art Deco remixes, we’ve scoured the town for the best examples of Art Deco-influenced jewellery currently on sale – and in a testament to the style’s enduring charms, we found plenty of pieces for your perusal.