Current Lecture Programme
Tuesdays at 6:00pm. Members and Guests.
Society of Antiquaries of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly W1J 0BE
Lectures are restricted to members and their guests. It is not normally necessary to inform the Society that you will be atttending, but if attendance is expected to be exceptionally high the Society will inform members well in advance if booking a seat is a
requirement of attendance at a particular lecture.
If you are not a member, and would like to attend a lecture as a guest of the Society, click here to send your name, contact details, and the subject of the lecture you would like to attend. We will confirm your attendance by email. The Society welcomes new members. If you are interested in joining the Society further details can be given to you when you attend the lecture.
The story behind ‘Hungarian’ opals
Of all precious stones, it is opal that presents the greatest difficulties of description. As Pliny the Elder said, it displays at once the piercing redness of garnet, the purple brilliance of amethyst and the sea-green of emerald, the whole blended together and glowing with a brightness that is quite incredible. Until about the end of the 19th century the Kingdom of Hungary was the principal supplier of this beautiful stone. In the past, however, it came to the market because of fraudulent trading as ‘Oriental Opal’. The aim was to increase the selling price and keep the source in the Carpathian mountains concealed. But the truth had to come out in the end.
Jewelry for America
The earliest jewelry worn in America was of a sentimental nature, related to love and marriage or to death and mourning. In the early nineteenth century, a domestic industry began to take root. Newark, New Jersey, became home to countless manufacturers, and the iconic firms of Gorham and Tiffany & Co. were established. On New York’s Fifth Avenue, upscale jewelry houses strove to compete with European brands, while Britain’s Arts & Crafts movement inspired American jewelers to create small-batch studio production. Ms. Wees, curator of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York with the same title as this talk, will conclude with a brief look at mid-20th-century artists whose modernist designs paved the way for contemporary innovations.
Despite rarely being the sole identifier in an investigation, the ‘forensic’ use of jewellery is not an entirely new phenomenon. Jewellery has personal, sentimental, religious, cultural, geographic and regional significance; demonstrating a connection to identity across time, place, and space. Dr Maria Maclennan, the world’s first ‘Forensic Jeweller’, will discuss some of her award-winning PhD research exploring how jewellery can assist in investigations of crime, death, and disaster. Maria has previously worked alongside a number of high-profile organisations within both law enforcement and academia internationally, deploying across the globe to assist with identifying the jewellery recovered after mass fatalities. She is a regular public speaker on the topic of ‘Forensic Jewellery’, having previously delivered talks to the likes of the National Crime Agency, Library of Congress, European Academy of Forensic Science, V&A, and TEDx, in addition to appearing on television and radio broadcasts such as BBC’s Crimewatch Roadshow, BBC Radio 4 Live, and a recent historical crime documentary on BBC One.
Calling all Potential Lecturers!
The Society of Jewellery Historians would like to try something a little different in the lecture programme for October 2019. Instead of an evening lecture by a single speaker, we’d like to invite three speakers to each give a short paper (20 minutes maximum) which presents original research or ideas about any aspect of jewellery. Jewellers, historians of jewellery, dress historians, or keen researchers (young or established) in the field may apply. Subject summaries of 250/300 words gratefully received by Niamh Whitfield
(e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org), by 15 March 2019.
Travel expenses and a night in London (if applicable) will be covered.
Brooches, badges and pins at the Victoria and Albert Museum
Links to previous Lecture Programmes