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About the Museum of Jewelry

A brief recap of the last 56 years including the origins of our collections of antiques and artifacts and the retail brands carried by our gift shop.

Our Story

56 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.

1964: Artifacts and Antiques

In the early years, Shashi established Shashi Inc. and 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.

Shop Antiques

1966: Shashi Inc

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.

Shashi Jewelry

1969: Laurel Inc. by Laurel Burch

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.

Laurel Inc Jewelry

1981: Facets Inc.

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.

Facets Inc. Jewelry

1989: The 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 and shipped millions upon millions of copies of our award winning catalog.

Museum of Jewelry

2020 and Beyond

As things do with fashion (even with fashions that are thousands of years old) the styles waned. Around the year 2005 we stopped sending out retail catalogs and slowly scaled back operations.

And as things do with fashion, especially with fashions that have endured for thousands of years, the styles came back. Since our catalog days we've expanded our lines to include vintage Thousand Flowers Jewelry pieces, Cingano silver and BoneNE Artifacts. We have thousands and thousands of designs in our warehouse which we are diligently working to get photographed and online.

We humbly invite you to share the journey with us this time

By subscribing to our email newsletter - The MuseLetter. Or by following us on Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter. Or by bookmarking our page and checking in on our new products and blog posts from time to time. We're most grateful for your support and patronage, whether it started this year or in 1964.

Our Philosophy

Each piece of jewelry is handcrafted by master artisans from historical or history inspired designs - shaped, detailed and embellished using the same age-old techniques as have goldsmiths and lapidaries through the ages. No two stones or settings are ever alike, every piece has slight variations and formations. 

Patience and care are crafted into each and every hand-made museum original. From the stones which are faceted using the same time-honored techniques of the smiths of old, to the shaping, detailing, and embellishment that lapidaries and goldsmiths have perfected through the ages, each of the historically based designs in our collection is perfected in its own rite.

At the Museum, we believe there is a direct line from the imagination of the original artist, to the hands of our master craftsmen and women, to you-who give these extraordinary visions from the past new life.

Enjoy your journey through some of history's most magnificent jewelry and objets d'art.

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