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An exhibition that changes the way you look at jewelry

When we talk jewelry, we think of adornment only. Most of us forget that throughout history, jewelry has been used for a wide variety of purposes, from plain old functionality (think cuff links) to protection from evil spirits.

According to a recent piece in the New York Times, a  jewelry exhibition in Italy has one goal in mind: to change the way you look at jewelry.

“You’ll start thinking about what jewelry means to you. And your idea about jewelry will be different after you visit.” promised Alba Cappellieri, director of the Museo del Gioiello.

The museum, which opened in December 2014, features nine rooms focused on different concepts. For example, the “jewelry as function” room has buttons, cufflinks, cloak clasps, tiny bottles meant to hold perfume and little coin pouches, all decorative items with workaday roles. “We have examples from all over the world, from Africa, China, India, America,” said Ms. Cappellieri, professor of jewelry design at Milan Polytechnic, pointing out an Italian Renaissance belt woven of gold.

But not to worry: there’s a section dedicated to jewelry that’s simply about design (pictured below).

A necklace in an 18th century style with a cut-glass pendant designed by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel’s fall 1983 couture and manufactured by Ugo Correani of Milan. It is a reproduction of a necklace owned by Coco Chanel.