Glittering bizarre: Agmes’ surrealist jewellery gains the upper hand

The mischievous designs of New York jewellers Morgan and Jaclyn Solomon take a Dalí-esque turn, with a soupçon of Man Ray along the way

Bracelet and Brooch on display
Man Ray bracelet, left, and Dali brooch, right
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Surrealist symbols hold an enduring appeal for Morgan and Jaclyn Solomon, the sisters behind New York-based jewellery brand Agmes. Their new collection of jewels explores the ambiguity of the human hand, a particular fascination of surrealists, who explored it abstractly as a symbol of both tenderness and terror.

The influence of Salvador Dalí and Man Ray is clear to see in the oversized proportions and slyly humorous design ticks of the sisters’ designs. Hands cast in sterling silver and yellow gold dangle from brooches, or cling mischievously onto earlobes, while globular pearls sway. On necklaces, thick ropes of irregularly sized pearls tease a hand waving ‘hello’ – when framed against graphic links of sterling silver, its meaning distorts again.

Adding to the magical mood, Dutch photographer Paul Kooiker’s eerie images capture the jewellery in sepia tones. ‘The hand can signify so many different things, and we decided to examine what the Agmes hand would look like to us. As female artists who work with our hands, ultimately, it symbolizes strength.’

Necklace and earing on display

Rita bracelet and necklace, left, and Rita earring, right

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agmes jewellery

Emmanuelle earrings, left, and Dion necklace, right

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Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.