The Jewelry Insider

December 15, 2008

Glittering objects have long been associated with celestial phenomena– from sparkling meteor showers to the twinkle, twinkle of little stars. But astronomy enthusiast, Kara Knack, paired my favorite shiny thing – jewelry – with her passion for all things cosmic – and the result is out of this world.

The famous Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles is displaying Knack’s unique exhibit, the Cosmic Collection, which represents a timeline of the universe – from the Big Bang to the present. And it’s all made out of jewelry.

More than 2,200 pieces shaped like crescent moons, multi-pointed stars and radiant sunbursts are displayed in an undulating line along a 175-foot wall at the observatory.

Ms. Knack amassed the jewelry collection over two decades from swap meets, junk shops, discount stores and garage sales. She then enlisted 18 volunteers, who stationed the jewelry along a display board, earring by bracelet by necklace by pin, with Knack organizing the pieces to appear “random and chaotic.”

A heavenly themed timeline, even one made of costume jewelry, Knack told The Los Angeles Times, allows people to reconnect with objects in the sky and perhaps inspire them to ask important questions: Why are we here? What is an individual’s place in the vast universe?

Edwin C. Krupp, the observatory’s longtime director, says “It’s a very digestible universe for people. They’re drawn by this unexpected way of displaying the march of cosmic time.”

While the Cosmic Collection doesn’t include the diamond and gemstone styles that make our hearts go pitter pat, I’m sure Ms. Knapp would approve if we rocketed on over to to pay homage with shiny stars of our own. And the sun and moon shine bright there as well.

May the force be with us.

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