Mary Hallam Pearse


Anello Della Morte


sterling silver

2 x 1 x .75”

photo courtesy of the artist

Throughout history and spanning cultures Jewelry has been imbued with supernatural and extraordinary powers,  made of sacred materials,, used to  signal and assert status and  wealth used for spiritual transference—to call in the spirits , appease the gods, or invoke ancestors while at the same time  playing a complex role in seduction and desire while flaunting and flirting and signaling what it means to be human.

Anello Della Morte  1998

This is one of my earliest pieces from undergrad made in my second semester of school and was a pivotal piece for me in many ways.  The Title of the piece is Annello Della Morte which means ring of death in Latin. Within the drawer resides a tiny gun.  The pattern on the surface was etched from images of an antique revolver. This ring is to be worn on one’s trigger finger. This is where I realized that jewelry’s rich history was waiting to be mined as this was my contemporary poison ring. This begins my interest in historical reinterpretation.   It was also at this point that I realized that something so small could be so powerful and this is where I fell in love.


Some Luck and a Gun 2018

I made this piece for myself to protect again toxic political interactions. In this series I combine commercial jewelry motifs, with parts of toy model snap kits, vintage gumball and crackerjack charms. These hybrid assemblages are mini tableaux which explore the symbolic and narrative potential of jewelry. Using the visual language of hobbyist model toy kits, I am inviting you to imagine removing the objects from the frame and rearrange them to construct your own tale, whether fact or fantasy and in an invitation to play. These seemingly unassembled portraits are ripe for consumption, waiting for the viewer, wearer and object to connect, communicate and interact.

Some Luck and a Gun


silver, coral, plastic

6 x 6 x .25"

photo courtesy of the artist