Modern Alchemy Jewelry Exhibition
Laguna Art Museum
Modern Alchemy Jewelry Exhibition

Modern Alchemy

The Fusion of Art and Nature in the Jewelry Designs of Adam Neeley

Presented at the Laguna Art Museum, this solo exhibition features more than 100 works by the internationally recognized and award-winning jeweler Adam Neeley. Modern Alchemy explores Neeley’s creative working processes, history, and innovative gold alloys through a 25 year retrospective.

Neeley combines traditional goldsmithing techniques with modern technologies to transform precious metals and gemstones into wearable fine art. Collaborating with world-class lapidaries, such as Stephen Avery, Neeley creates truly imaginative pieces that go beyond contemporary design into the realm of dreams and fantasy. Modern Alchemy celebrates the convergence of art and alchemy, where ordinary materials are transformed into extraordinary masterpieces, and where Adam’s vision comes to life in breathtaking brilliance.

Exhibition Details:

Modern Alchemy Jewelry Exhibition

Modern Alchemy

The Fusion of Art and Nature in the Jewelry Designs of Adam Neeley

Modern Alchemy jewelry exhibition explores the creative working processes of innovative, award-winning jeweler Adam Neeley. Neeley combines traditional goldsmith techniques with modern technology to transform precious metals and gemstones into wearable fine art. Collaborating with world-class lapidaries, such as Stephen Avery, Neeley creates truly imaginative pieces that go beyond contemporary design into the realm of dreams and fantasy. This exhibition delves into this innovative jeweler’s history and working process and includes some of the raw and faceted gems and minerals he uses.

Presented at the Laguna Art Museum, this solo exhibition features more than 100 works by the internationally recognized and award-winning jeweler Adam Neeley. Modern Alchemy invites visitors to explore the creative working processes, history, and innovative gold-smithing techniques through a 25 year retrospective of Neeley’s wearable fine art.

Join us as we celebrate the convergence of art and alchemy, where ordinary materials are transformed into extraordinary masterpieces, and where Adam’s vision comes to life in breathtaking brilliance.

Exhibition Details:

Master Goldsmith

An alchemist takes ordinary materials and changes them into something extraordinary. His desire to be an artist-jeweler led Neeley to become a graduate gemologist and to train with master goldsmiths in Italy. Forging his own identity as an artist-jeweler soon set him on a path to winning prestigious awards for his designs and his creation of a new technique of blending white gold into yellow gold seamlessly, which he calls SpectraGold™. The Smithsonian Institute acquired South Sea Glow (pictured above right), an Neeley pendant made with SpectraGold™ and pearls, for their permanent collection. This honor yet is another testament to the influence Neeley has had on the world of fine art.

 Modern Alchemy jewelry exhibition

Master Goldsmith

An alchemist takes ordinary materials and changes them into something extraordinary. His desire to be an artist-jeweler led Adam Neeley to become a graduate gemologist and to train with master goldsmiths in Italy. Forging his own identity as an artist-jeweler soon set him on a path to winning prestigious awards for his designs and his creation of a new technique of blending white gold into yellow gold seamlessly, which he calls SpectraGold™. The Smithsonian Institute acquired South Sea Glow (pictured above right), an Adam Neeley pendant made with SpectraGold™ and pearls, for their permanent collection. This honor yet is another testament to the influence Adam Neeley has had on the world of fine art.

Modern Alchemy Jewelry Exhibition - Through the Looking Glass

“Adam Neeley, artist, jeweler, and alchemist, creates jewelry that is forged from an imagination stimulated by the sensuous beauty found in nature. His designs transcend the boundaries of conventional jewelry to create wearable art that is unique and intriguing. His alchemical processes combine traditional jewelry techniques with modern technology to change metals into brilliant colors, complemented by rare gemstones in a myriad of hues.”

Timothy Adams, Curator & Jewelry Historian

Modern Alchemy Jewelry Exhibition - Through the Looking Glass

“Adam Neeley, artist, jeweler, and alchemist, creates jewelry that is forged from an imagination stimulated by the sensuous beauty found in nature. His designs transcend the boundaries of conventional jewelry to create wearable art that is unique and intriguing. His alchemical processes combine traditional jewelry techniques with modern technology to change metals into brilliant colors, complemented by rare gemstones in a myriad of hues.”

-Timothy Adams, Curator & Jewelry Historian

Nature’s Muse

Mother Nature has been the muse of jewelers for thousands of years. For Neeley, she is the most powerful influence on his artistic vision. Early exposure to the natural world was a strong influence on his work as a mature artist-jeweler. From his alchemist’s studio, he takes raw materials from the earth and transforms them into jewels with organic lines and vibrant hues of color. Flora, Fauna and Water (pictured above), are three of several nature inspired themes explored in the exhibition.

 Modern Alchemy jewelry exhibition

Nature’s Muse

Mother Nature has been the muse of jewelers for thousands of years. For Adam Neeley, she is the most powerful influence on his artistic vision. Early exposure to the natural world was a strong influence on his work as a mature artist-jeweler. From his alchemist’s studio, he takes raw materials from the earth and transforms them into jewels with organic lines and vibrant hues of color. Flora, Fauna and Water (pictured above), are three of several nature inspired themes explored in the exhibition.

Exhibition Themes

For centuries gemstones have been sought after for their rarity, exquisite color, and even mystical powers. Continuing his love of gems, Neeley seeks out rare and exquisite stones to be the centerpieces of his artwork. Modern Alchemy explores gemstone themes such as: Lapidary Arts, American Gems, Inside the Jewelry Making Process, Quartz Inclusions, Tourmaline, Garnet, Collector Gems, and Award-Winning Masterpieces (pictured above).

 Modern Alchemy jewelry exhibition

Exhibition Themes

For centuries gemstones have been sought after for their rarity, exquisite color, and even mystical powers or spiritual significance. Adam Neeley seeks out rare and exquisite stones to be the centerpieces of his artwork. Other themes of the Modern Alchemy jewelry exhibition include; the Lapidary Arts, American Gems, Inside the Jewelry Making Process, Quartz, Tourmaline, Garnet and finally Adam’s Award-Winning Masterpieces (pictured above).

“Through this exhibition, we aim to draw attention to the art form of jewelry, which is a culmination of sculptural, kinetic and performative qualities. This is wearable art, alive with movement, that transcends any utilitarian purpose and invites viewers to be captivated by its glittering materials.”

Julie Perlin Lee, Executive Director, Laguna Art Museum

Modern Alchemy Jewelry Exhibition - Nautilus Earrings
Modern Alchemy Jewelry Exhibition - Nautilus Earrings

“Through this exhibition, we aim to draw attention to the art form of jewelry, which is a culmination of sculptural, kinetic and performative qualities. This is wearable art, alive with movement, that transcends any utilitarian purpose and invites viewers to be captivated by its glittering materials.”

-Julie Perlin Lee, Executive Director, Laguna Art Museum

Laguna Art Museum

Acknowledgments

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Executive Director Julie Perlin Lee, Deputy Director Victoria Gerard, and the Board of Trustees of the Laguna Art Museum for hosting the Modern Alchemy jewelry exhibition. Special appreciation goes to guest curator and author Timothy Adams, whose vision and expertise has significantly enriched the show.

A sincere thank you to the esteemed individual jewelry collectors, who generously loaned their pieces to enhance the beauty of this exhibition. Your support is truly invaluable.

Visit the Museum
From his Laguna Beach studio, designer and goldsmith Adam Neeley pushes the boundaries of modern jewelry design. Born a gem-lover and educated at the prestigious Gemological Institute of America and Le Art Orafe, Adam has spent his life mastering the craft and art form of jewelry making and design. As a member of the American Jewelry Design Council, Adam is honored to share his expertise and passion with the world. His award-winning jewelry is celebrated by jewelry collectors, industry authorities, including MJSA and AGTA, and the Smithsonian Institution. We invite you to learn more by visiting our About Adam and Welcome pages.