Featured Member

Each month a new Featured Member is chosen from the completed member profiles on our website. Their interview and work is highlighted on our blog and social media. Visit our archive of past Featured Members.

May 2022

 

Jennifer Cross Gans wearing the squash blossom necklace that started her journey as a jewelry collector. 



Our Member of the Month for May is Jennifer Cross Gans. Jennifer was a long-time MAG member and all around jewelry enthusiast. She passed away earlier this year. The Metal Arts Guild commemorates Jennifer here with a piece of her writing, and links to writings by others in the jewelry community. 

 

LIFE BEGINS WITH A SQUASH  BLOSSOM NECKLACE

by Jennifer Cross Gans

It was a summer afternoon in 1973, and my son, then two and a half, was a newcomer in San Francisco, happily being pushed in a stroller in a narrow Grant Avenue street.  I chance to look into a shoe store and found some examples of an auction of Native American jewelry.  What caught my eye was a squash blossom necklace, weighing well over 8 oz, and decorated with massive blocks of dark red coral.  It cost $250, which in those days was a fair chunk of change. 

I dithered, but I was hooked.  I loved the prospect of wearing such a marvelous, eye-catching piece.  But I feared  the prospect of spending so much money from the household accounts:  what would my husband think?  Suddenly I recalled my own bank account, and thought, what the hell, I will buy it anyway.  So I did.

My husband admired the necklace, and said not a word.  I wore it a few times, then put it away.  But I became a collector from then onwards.  

So began a long pilgrimage in search of ethnic jewelry of all kinds.  But I later moved on to modern art jewelry, of a kind AJF loves so well, particularly the work of my friends who spend their lives working at it.

I should mention that I wore the necklace at a jewelry show, and was offered a good deal more money if I would care to sell it.  Sorry!  I wasn’t interested.

PS The earrings?  Definitely modern jewelry, and I made them, of course.

Memorium by Aimee Golant:

https://aimeegolant.com/2022/03/28/in-memorandum-jennifer-cross-gans/

 

Commemoration in Art Jewelry Forum:

https://artjewelryforum.org/articles/obituary_jennifer-cross-gans_ajf-member-collector-and-maker_natl-us_4-5-2022/