This bronze brooch by John Iversen, in the form of a delicate decaying leaf with all its ripples and tears, celebrates the variety, cycles, and even decline found in nature. Variations in the metal’s color and finish meticulously capture a dry leaf’s faded hues and brittle textures, heightening a sense of nature’s unpredictability and randomness.

Iversen, born in Germany but based in the US over the last three decades, displays a unique contemporary take on the natural world. A master goldsmith, Iversen casts directly from nature. Using a method similar to the lost wax casting technique, he creates one-of-a-kind representations of natural objects. His precision and understanding of traditional goldsmith’s techniques are apparent, from his selection of natural materials to his painstaking finishing process. Iversen is considered an innovator in the world of contemporary jewelry for the way he uses source materials from nature.


Cynthia Trope is the Associate Curator of Product Design and Decorative Arts at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

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