36 hours + 805 miles = San Francisco road trip. I overheard a conversation at a local bead store about a Cartier exhibit at a museum in San Francisco. It took a little research to find - I'd never heard of the museum before - but Dick and I decided to take a quick trip north before the exhibit ended.
We left bright and early Monday morning with the goal of getting to Berkeley in time to visit Lacis - the mecca of lace and lace-making - before it closed at 6 pm. Made it in plenty of time; poor Dick got to hang out while I spent almost 2 hours touring the lace museum exhibits and shopping the incredible retail store.
Today was spent at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, which overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge at the top of the San Francisco peninsula. The museum opened to the public on Armistice Day 1924 (more information here). The exterior - and grounds are gorgeous, although Dick and I weren't all that crazy about the modern art piece in the main parking area. But we were very impressed with the Rodin 'Thinker' sculpture in the courtyard and the museum itself, which primarily features European decorative arts and paintings.
The star of the day was the 'Cartier in America' exhibit.
I expected a couple of rooms with a few nice pieces; that we'd spend about an hour looking at everything and then be on our way. Wrong. Three hours later we finally took a break for lunch and could easily have spent another hour or two revisiting the exhibit.
It was truly spectacular with room after room, case after case, of gem encrusted jewelry created for the ultra-wealthy in Europe and America from about 1909 to the 1970's. Think Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Grace (whose 10+ carat diamond engagement ring is on display for the first time), Marjorie Merriweather Post, Wallis Duchess of Windsor, all of whom had pieces featured in the show. (More pictures and descriptions of the pieces can be found here.)We spent so much time in the Cartier exhibit that we didn't have time to really see the rest of the museum; just took a quick run through the main rooms before we hit the road in an effort to avoid rush hour traffic in Frisco. We'll definitely be going back to the Legion - and searching out other museums we've missed both in San Francisco and L.A.