Mima jewellery gallery is a hidden gem

IF you’re a fan of eclectic jewellery ranging from Tatty Devine perspex brooches to a headpiece that would suit a Doctor Who villainess and a cutting edge necklace made out of concrete and broken glass, then the jewellery gallery at Mima (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art) is a treasure trove.

Its prized collection, recognised as one of the most significant in the UK alongside those held by the V&A, National Museums Scotland and the Crafts Council is being displayed in all its magnificent glory in a former storeroom.

Out of more than 200 precious pieces worth over £200,000, a select 100 are on display at any one time dating from the 1970s to now.

Most were inherited by Mima when it opened in its Centre Square location in 2007 from the town’s Middlesbrough Art Gallery, Cleveland Art Gallery and Cleveland Craft Centre.

Its core range is made up of jewellery from England, Germany and the Netherlands, created during a period of cultural and political flux.

Opulent adornments are displayed in cabinets and sleek white drawers which, give an element of surprise and delight. I would love to see the pieces taken out from behind their glass and worn -maybe during lunchtime fashion shows?

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The most expensive accessory on display will be a bracelet valued at £37,000 by Giovanni Corvaja made in 1999 of gold and niello, which is a black mixture of copper, silver, and lead sulphides, used as an inlay on engraved or etched metal.

To mark its opening two years ago, renowned British  brand, Tatty Devine, which is famous for its colourful perspex jewellery, donated 15 pieces including brooches, bracelets and necklaces to the exhibition representing every year since it was launched by friends Harriet Vine and Rosie Wolfenden.

Now with a shops in Brick Lane and Covent Garden in London as well as a booming website, the products are still handmade in England.

From their ‘Vintage Lady’ brooch to their iconic banana, plectrum and parasol necklaces, their affordable and fun take on pop culture have made their designs a favourite in jewellery boxes across the world.

So for those looking for art with a difference, who like their jewellery bold and very quirky, then the Mima jewellery gallery is well worth a visit. And for those eager to leave with their own bit of bling, there’s always the gallery shop downstairs.


Mima (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art), Centre Square, Middlesbrough, TS1 2AZ

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