Baltimore, bedazzled

The Walters' Jewelry Fair brings 20 top jewelers and artisans to Mount Vernon

  • This reversible spinning stone bracelet by Patricia Madeja of New York will be on display as part of the Walters Art Museum's Jewelry Fair.
This reversible spinning stone bracelet by Patricia Madeja… (handout photo, Baltimore…)
November 04, 2010|By John-John Williams IV, The Baltimore Sun

Whether it's models dripping with sparkling gems or hundreds of people scrambling through the Walters Art Museum in search of free jewelry — this weekend, Baltimore will be an epicenter of bling.

Can You See What I See: Jewelry Fair at the Walters, will feature 20 jewelers and artisans from across the country. It's an opportunity to learn more about the story behind the design of the pieces and also get a better feel for the museum, according to Rachel Seba, co-chair of the event.

"There's a lot going on," Seba said.

The fair begins Friday with a fashion show led by Ray Mitchener, owner of Ruth Shaw. Area high school and college students will model jewelry by exhibiting artisans. Last year, most were wearing five or six pieces of jewelry each.

"The models are loaded up from head to toe," Seba said. The jewelry fair will feature activities including a fashion show focusing on jewels, a cocktail reception that doubles as a private sale and a series of jewelry designer lectures. And, perhaps most tantalizingly, it features a free scavenger hunt, whose participants will have the opportunity to find and keep six pieces hidden throughout the museum.

"There is nowhere where you should not be looking. It could be anywhere," Seba said, adding quickly with a laugh: "We will not be hiding anything in the jewelers' case."

Here are some of the exhibitors:

Julia Fluker

Fluker, who last participated in the fair in 2006, returns this year in large part because she recently moved to Timonium from Newport, Ky.

"I knew I had to do it," said Fluker, who has been involved in the jewelry business for the past 30 years. "I had a chance to do a show in my new hometown."

Fluker describes her jewelry as "classically informed investigation of natural forms, incorporating sensibilities associated with ancient cultures, and reflecting my own personal esthetic."

Fluker, who completes between 30 and 100 pieces a year, is particularly proud of a nasturtium bracelet and necklace. Both pieces are made of 18-carat gold and are adorned in diamonds and natural orange sapphires. The bracelet sells for $8,500; the necklace costs $11,500.

Emma Villedrouin

Although Villedrouin is based in Washington, her work has been prominently featured in local jewelry store Bijoux.

"It is a gift to make something that people wear," said Villedrouin, who has worked in the jewelry business for the past 15 years. "It becomes a talisman for them. They become identified with it."

Villedrouin mainly works with 18-carat gold, pearls and colorful gemstones.

"It's easy to wear," she said. "It's feminine and contemporary to wear at the same time."

Villedrouin said her "Daisy Broach" will be the signature piece of the collection she shows at the Walters. The piece sells for $4,600.

"It's an amazing broach," she said of the piece, which features an orange moonstone center, with pink tourmalines and pearls that radiate out from the center.

"It's very bold, but lively at the same time. It makes you stand taller and feel great when you wear it."

Tom Herman

Herman, a Stone Ridge, N.Y., resident, has been involved with the Walters fair since its inception. The first year, he worked as an organizer.

Herman's jewelry is not restricted to precious stones and metals. He also makes pieces from laurel, oak and ginkgo leaves. The past couple of years, Herman has been involved in making broaches that have been packaged and sold with classic literature.

His most recent offering is a broach inspired by "The Raven," the narrative poem by Edgar Allan Poe. There at 10 sets of the special-edition package. Each sets sells for $1,500.

Herman will also show a $32,000 lapis bracelet. The piece rests on an enamel egg.

"I work seven days a week, sometimes 20-hour days," said Herman. "It doesn't matter. I'm doing what I love to do. That's all that counts."

If you go

The Can You See What I See Jewelry Fair is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday at the Walters Art Museum. Admission is $10, which includes the entry fee to the Jewelry Fair for the entire weekend. Call 410-547-9000, extension 305, or go to

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