1898, Lawton, PA, USA
- 1976, New York, NY, USA
Alexander Calder started making jewellery at a very early age by fashioning scraps of fine copper wire from spliced electric cables into jewels for his sister Peggy's dolls using a pair of pliers she had given him for Christmas in 1906. He seemingly never stopped - he thought and doodled in wire - producing in the region of 2,000 jewels. These jewels are more closely related to his smaller wire sculptures and gouaches rather than to his monumental stabiles. Indeed, he used many of the same materials and most of his jewels are made from brass or silver wire, while the few rare examples in gold were often special commissions or gifts for his wife Louisa.
Like Harry Bertoia, Calder refused to use solder, preferring 'cold connections' that brought forth many ingenious solutions for the attachment of decorative elements to the jewel and the jewel to the wearer.
His first jewels in the late 1930s and 1940s were made to be sold through exhibitions, either alongside his mobiles and stabiles or in stand alone exhibitions as at the Willard Gallery in New York in December both in 1940 and 1941, but from 1950s onwards most were simply as gifts or special commissions.