It is a visual paradox. That is how it has been historically for the chain: on one side, it is a link that stops and clenches (with a negative connotation), and on the other, it is a symbol of love, faithfulness and union. But above all, it is one of the most widespread and versatile ornaments in the world and evolution of jewellery. 'Precious Links. The chain between function and ornament', which opens today at the Museum of Jewelry in Vicenza, against the extraordinary backdrop of the Basilica Palladiana, is thus a tribute to this very important and essential element. The show unfolds through an evocative exhibition narrative, conceived by curator Alba Cappellieri. There are at least 80 pieces dating back to the eighteenth century until today, illustrating the universal symbolism linked to this jewel. And they especially highlight one of the highpoints of Italian excellence (particularly in the Veneto area, starting with the times of the Republic of Venice) and that is the ability to create high-quality and technically complex fashionable chains.
«Chains tie, bond, support and decorate; they also encapsulate universal symbolism and allude to the idea of circularity. It is an ornament that has no boundaries, chronology or geography; it crosses the history of clothing, art, jewellery and fashion», explains the curator. «The chain traditionally has two interpretations: in a negative sense, it signifies human slavery, while in the positive sense, it represents beauty and social prestige; in this sense, they have been used by the greatest painters in the history of art to symbolize universal values like honour, fidelity and love». The collection has period chains from the Veneto and Vicenza tradition, both industrial and artisanal; contemporary chains from important jewellery companies (Fope, Franco Pianegonda, Marco Bicego, Mattioli, Nanis, Pasquale Bruni, Pesavento, Pomellato, Roberto Coin, Unoaerre, Vendorafa Lombarda and Vhernier); and chains designed in the Veneto by jewellery designers and artists (Giampaolo Babetto, Francesca Braga Rosa, Emma Francesconi, Stefania Lucchetta, Stefano Marchetti, Carla Riccoboni, Barbara Uderzo, Daniela Vettori and Alberta Vita). The show ends 25 March 2018.