About the Museum of Jewelry
A brief recap of the last 59 years including the origins of our collections of antiques and artifacts and the lines we carry.
Our Story Begins in 1964...
59 years ago, Shashi was a travel enthusiast and antique obsessed desk agent for Eastern Airlines. While on vacation in South America he fell in love with some pre-columbian jewelry which he bought as a lot and brought home to the USA. He set aside his favorite pieces to start a collection, the rest he sold at a small markup.
Two trips later he decided to focus on it full time. Thus was The Museum of Jewelry most humbly born.
Antiques and Artifacts
In the early years, Shashi focused predominantly on antiques and artifacts. He made a living by searching the world over for jewelry and antiquities. Building a reputation as a renowned and prolific importer he built up collections of mummy beads (shown), tian-tsui, enamel, articulating fish and a sizable assortment of antique jewelry.
By the late 1960s Shashi was designing and manufacturing his own pieces. Enamel worked into flowers, insects and abstract shapes echoed the flowing pieces of the art-nouveau era. He humbly attributes a series of Vogue covers featuring his designs to a fortuitous office location in New York.
Laurel inc. was a partnership between Shashi and Laurel Burch. In 1971 Laurel visited China. With Shashi's help she became one of the first American designers to import from The People’s Republic Of China. Laurel Inc. represents her first commercial line and documents her transition from street artist to household name.
Notable were her early plated-brass pieces from antique french molds. Later her sophisticated stylized handling of animals and insects as well as the incorporation of floral, Ancient Egyptian and lunar themes helped define the line.
In the 1980s Shashi developed a thirst for gemstone encrusted jewelry. He traveled the world to source stones and played with a new and radical concept - fine jewelry at a fashion jewelry price point. Thus Facets was born - gold vermeil and silver jewelry bedazzled with precious and semi-precious gemstones.
Signatures of the line include use of hand-carved natural gemstones and elaborate care in the hand-crafted settings which often make use of old work techniques such as filigree accents, granulation and openwork.
Museum of Jewelry
While the aforementioned companies were wholesale entities, focused on business to business sales, Museum of Jewelry developed as our retail brand. From 1989 - 2001 we published an award winning catalog where we combined all our lines and built upon our collection with 14k gold fine jewelry.