A model wears Art Smith’s “Modern Cuff” Bracelet, circa 1948. Art Smith (1917-1982) was a modernist jeweler born in Cuba to Jamaican parents who eventually emigrated to Brooklyn. He opened his first shop on Cornelia Street in Greenwich Village in 1946 - no small feat.  According to the Brooklyn Museum (host of a 2008 exhibit of his work) he was one of the leading modernist jewelers of the mid-twentieth century. Along with being covered by magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, Smith, an avid jazz lover, once made cufflinks for Duke Ellington which included some notes from Mr. Ellington’s “Mood Indigo.” Mr. Smith was also a supporter of early Black modern dance groups and an active supporter of Black and gay rights. Art Smith was quoted in the 1969 catalog for his one man exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Craft: “A piece of jewelry is in a sense an object that is not complete in itself. Jewelry is a ‘what is it?’ until you relate it to the body. The body is a component in design just as air and space are.  Like line, form, and color, the body is a material to work with.  It is one of the basic inspirations in creating form.”  

A model wears Art Smith’s “Modern Cuff” Bracelet, circa 1948. Art Smith (1917-1982) was a modernist jeweler born in Cuba to Jamaican parents who eventually emigrated to Brooklyn. He opened his first shop on Cornelia Street in Greenwich Village in 1946 - no small feat.  According to the Brooklyn Museum (host of a 2008 exhibit of his work) he was one of the leading modernist jewelers of the mid-twentieth century. Along with being covered by magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, Smith, an avid jazz lover, once made cufflinks for Duke Ellington which included some notes from Mr. Ellington’s “Mood Indigo.” Mr. Smith was also a supporter of early Black modern dance groups and an active supporter of Black and gay rights. Art Smith was quoted in the 1969 catalog for his one man exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Craft: “A piece of jewelry is in a sense an object that is not complete in itself. Jewelry is a ‘what is it?’ until you relate it to the body. The body is a component in design just as air and space are.  Like line, form, and color, the body is a material to work with.  It is one of the basic inspirations in creating form.”  

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