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Review – Faded splendour in Musée des Arts Decoratifs
PARIS, June 30, 2010 – Jewellery aficionados feel a sense of excitement before visiting the jewellery gallery at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs in the Louvre district of Paris.

Their great expectations are due to the prestige of the nearby Place Vendôme, the home of France’s top jewellery brands with a fabulous history of providing intricately crafted pieces to some of the world’s most glamorous women.

But a recent visit to the jewellery gallery (Galerie des Bijoux) at the museum was a bit of a let-down.

Visitors can barely read the obscure lettering of the descriptions in the darkness. In some cases it is quite impossible.

So you don’t know what you are looking at in a big part of the exhibition. Senior French jewellers say privately that they are disappointed that it is not possible to read the texts accompanying some pieces that represent France’s proud jewellery heritage and are worth many tens of thousands of euros.

Legible inscriptions do include France’s long-established brands, such as Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, as well as contemporary artist-jewellers, including Lorenz Bäumer, Solange Azagury-Partidge and Delfina Delettrez Fendi .

But the descriptions are so difficult to read, and the exhibition space so dark, that one feels it is time for the curators to seriously re-think the presentation of the exhibit.

The museum might wish to take a look at the jewellery display in the upmarket department store Colette, not far away on the Rue Saint-Honoré, where Delphine’s abstract pieces are attractively displayed in bright light.

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