The Jewelry Art of Masha Archer by Erika Archer Zarow

11:32 AM PST, 7/25/2008

Recognized worldwide, Masha Archer created an extraordinary style in jewelry; when not worn, her pieces rest in cases on walls, like icons and other precious objects of art.

Her necklaces are breathtaking: coral, lapis, pearl, jade, amber, bone, African trade beads, silver and turquoise touch the skin.

Her art is an embodiment of the spirit of color reborn into the shape of beads, whose function is that of body sculpture.

Extending the horizons of our   vision beyond the safety of compositions that match or "go together" because of similarity and uniformity, Masha introduces the viewer to elements that are startlingly diverse not only in color, shape, and texture, but in design and cultural origin, mixing materials that span time and many ethnicities.

The resulting piece momentarily takes us aback, and we are swept up in a rich sensory experience of vibrant colors, patterns and shapes that, at first seem impossible to the eye, but command a desire to see more, to comprehend something new.

Any initial feelings of discordant forces working against each other give way to a coherent wholeness and everything one knows about design falls away and is re-organized into a higher sense of order in which the individual components of the necklace at once communicate amongst themselves, creating a symphony, the entire piece being greater then the sum of it’s parts.

Inspired by music, Opera in particular, Masha says," I see melodies and repetition of themes in these pieces and I work to achieve certain harmonies and rhythms…
my mother transmitted to me the idea that colors are to be heard in groups as a melody and the same notes and the same colors that combine differently and recombine perpetually with each other produce entirely different music".

These extraordinary one-of-a-kind necklaces respond to the movement of the body, creating an aura of timeless beauty, grace and power, setting them and their wearer apart from the ordinary.

Each piece is unique and is named after its inspiration, such as the "Porch of Maidens", from the "Acropolis Series", "Canyon Road" or "Spring Thaw", evoking a sense of the ancient past, faraway lands and breathtaking adventure, yet make a dramatic contemporary statement. To describe Masha’s jewelry we must create a new language, one that speaks to the grandeur of the human spirit.

Photos by Charles Archer and Maya Archer-Doyle

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