Jewelry of Light and Dance: Mary Lee Hu

If jewelry can be considered an art form, American jewelry designer, Mary Lee Hu (b. 1943) is undoubtedly one of the most gifted artist. Hu’s jewelry are not opulent, nor particularly playful. Their charm lies instead in the delight they bring to the senses by the way the pieces fold and bend like fluttering ribbons of metallic light. The result is jewelry that is harmonious, elegant and celebratory. You want to caress a Mary Hu bracelet or neck piece, feel how the gold threads twinned on your fingers, hold them up against the light, admire their mathematical symmetry, and even squint your eyes to see those incredible knitted textures on their gold surfaces.

Hu’s early works encompass brass, silver and occasionally, gold. Since 1985, however, she has worked exclusively in gold. Her designs are represented in leading international museums including the Museum of Fine Arts at Boston and Houston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and London’s Victoria & Albert Museum.

Selected jewelry of Mary Lee Hu (in chronological order)

Choker, 1975. Fine and sterling silver. 6.5 x 5.13 x 0.56 in. Private collection.

Choker, 1977. Fine and sterling silver, lacquered copper. 12.5 x 6.75 and 1 in. Collection of Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington.

Choker, 1985. 18 and 22 kt gold. 6 x 9.5 x 3 in. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Bracelet, 1999. 18k and 22k gold. 3.5 x 4 x 1.5 in. Private collection.

Bracelet, 2002. 18k and 22k gold. 2.75 x 3.5 x 2.75 in. Museum of Arts & Design, New York.

Choker_2005. 18k and 22k gold. 8 x 8.5 x 0.5 in. The Daphne Farago Collection.

Brooch, 2008. 18k and 22k gold. 3.5 x 4.5 x 0.75 in. Private collection.

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