Fantasy Jewels: Obscure Objects of Desire

At Old City's Moderne Gallery December 2 - December 31, 2005

Some call them "costume," some call them "collectible," but everyone calls them "glamorous!" -- and truly, beautiful vintage Fantasy Jewels are stunning objects of desire.

Philadelphia, PA (December 2005)

Just in time for holiday gifting and glamour, Moderne Gallery will be displaying and selling FANTASY JEWELS: Obscure Objects of Desire, an extraordinary private collection of 20th Century designer jewelry -- from Friday, December 2 - Saturday, December 31, 2005 - at 111 N. Third Street, in Old City Philadelphia (215-923-8536,

This broad collection of exceptional costume jewelry spans many geographical locales and design movements of the 20th century. The more than 80 pieces on display include a large selection of pins, clip/pins, Coro Duettes, necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Most are American-made, from the mid-1930's to the mid-1950's, though a few pieces are French, Finnish and Italian and date from the 1920's, 1960's and 1970's.

Designers include Trifari, Mazer, Boucher, Eisenberg, Coro, Hattie Carnegie, Nettie Rosenstein, Derosa, Pennino, Napier, Chanel, Pentti Sarpaneva, one piece by Schiaparelli and a large cuff bracelet by Bellini (1930's). Prices range from $200 - $3,800, with most jewelry costing between $400 and $1,200.

"This private collection of Fantasy Jewels was built as testimony to the universal impulse to adorn one's body to create a unique persona," said Moderne Gallery owner, Robert Aibel. "The quest for beauty and elegance, as well as the urge to set oneself apart from the crowd, never vanishes, but instead is constantly being reborn and redefined as the world of fashion dictates."

The idea that costume jewelry may be considered works of art and design is thanks in large part to pioneers of early 20th century couture, such as Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli. In the early 1990's this view was renewed as a result of the "Jewels of Fantasy" exhibit sponsored by the Daniel Swarovski Corporation. More recently, exhibits as "Chanel" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and "Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art bear witness to the public fascination with costume jewelry as art and fashion.

"These blockbuster shows also helped to re-establish the fact that costume designer jewelry is often as well made as precious jewelry, and that the better examples are often designed with more experimental flair than those of real gems, " said Aibel, whose gallery specializes in fine 20th century design.

Moderne Gallery is internationally renowned for its high quality, vintage 20th century furniture, lighting and accessories. More than 16,000 square feet on four floors of its historic "warehouse" building in the Old City section of Philadelphia are filled with an extensive inventory - from French and American Art Deco and French 1940's - 1950's to exclusive Wharton Esherick pieces and the best selection of 1950's-1980's work of George Nakashima.

"Fantasy Jewels: Obscure Objects of Desire" will be on exhibit from December 2 through December 31, 2005 at Moderne Gallery, 111 N. Third Street, Philadelphia, PA. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am to 6 pm. Call 215-923-8536 or visit for further information.

Press contact: Phoebe Resnick, Resnick Communications, Inc. 610-872-2689 or cell: 215-206-1402.