Like lawn jockeys you cam find in the old American south, these figures are working. Holding up a tray, a light etc. Permanent fixtures, stuck in history, contorted in servitude. But that’s not who I see in my blackamoor jewelry or moretto Veniziano. Oddly enough, the jewelry was different.
I’ll start with my Shiffon Co. pinky duet ring. I wear it every day and it reminds me to pay it forward to young women and young entrepreneurs.
I thought having a frog was bizarre. And then I remembered that I grew up with very, very wild animals. Like lions and panthers and sloths are my favorites.
If you’ve ever been to Venice, you’ve seen blackamoor art. It’s pretty ubiquitous in hotels there although you might not have noticed them. They are the sculptures depicting African males (and sometimes females) decked out in jewels and/or regalia and holding a tray or some type of container at entrances. With jewelry and sculptures dating back to the Early Modern period of European art, blackamoor art has drawn controversy in recent times, most notably on the Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2013 runway. Much of the blackamoor jewelry on the market today are Venetian antiques carved from ebony or enamel and inlaid with gold and fine stones, like diamonds, rubies, pearls, turquoise etc. Famed Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin was said to keep a blackamoor figurine on his desk to remind him of his great-grandfather, black Russian nobleman Abram Petrovich Gannibal. This figure can be seen in his former St. Petersburg apartment, now turned into a museum. Diana Vreeland, Coco Chanel and Anita Pointer of the Pointer sisters are also collectors of blackamoor jewelry and furniture. I …