Alexander Calder was most known for his iconic mobiles and sculptures. Most people will not know that he also had an exceptional talent in producing exquisite pieces of jewellery.
Caged crockery, C. 1945 Silver wire and ceramic
He began developing his distinctive creations by designing small accessories made from wire for his sisters dolls. Over the years he refined his jewellery producing them in silver and gold and many other materials he found inspiration in such as brass, leather cord, pebbles and coloured glass.
Brooch, C. 1938 Brass wire, glass and steel wire
Calder made most of his earliest pieces for Louisa James who he later married. He saw his jewellery as small sculptures to wear and he never mass produced any of them although he was asked to may times throughout his career.
Earrings, C. 1940 Silver wire
His Jewellery was very large and appealed to women with Avant-garde tastes who liked to make a dramatic entrance.
Flower necklace, C. 1938 Brass wire
His tremendous craftsmanship can be seen in each one of his works. Calder hammered, bent or chiseled every piece himself. There was a consistency in his jewellery making with his use of spirals and tight wounded coils. He would hardly ever use a solder and bound them with snippets of wire. As seen in his cuff bracelets there is loads more than just one piece of wire.
Cuff Bracelet, C. 1948 Gold
Calder had seen and collected African sculptures when visiting Paris. His bracelets and neck collars resemble corsets which were worn by women in the East African Dinka Tribe. His work can also be comparable to Celtic and Pre Columbian art.
Dinka Tribe necklace
Necklace, C. 1941 Silver wire, cord and ribbon
Necklace, C. 1940 Brass wire
Alexander Calder’s sense of the body as a sculpture was liberating.