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Albert Paley

Pendant
1973
gold, silver, copper, labradorite, moonstone, jade, glass, ivory
22 x 8 1/2 x 1 1/2 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the James Renwick Alliance and museum purchase through the Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program

Albert Paley's pendant is a masterpiece of his wearable sculpture. Its sumptuous materials, complexity of design, and commanding presence remind one of tribal talismans, powerful objects believed to attract good as they ward off evil. In designing his jewelry, Paley had a definite type of woman in mind. "My jewelry was meant to be worn by women who had the psychological and political bearing to deal with their sexuality and self-image," he said. The pendant was not designed to be worn by the faint of heart.