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Object Name: Gemini box
Date: 1969-1986
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Medium: Silver, enamel
Dimensions: Overall: 1 5/8 x 3 1/4 x 2 1/4 in. ( 4.1 x 8.3 x 5.7 cm ) Overall (silver weight, with other materials): 3 oz (troy) 15.2 dwt (116.9 g)
Place made: North America, United States, New York
Description: Oval silver casket-style box with a hinged lid set with an enamel; black enamel with twin fetuses attached with a single umbilical cord; maker's mark stamped on the base.
Credit Line: Gift of Juan Pliego
Object Number: 2000.147
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A Mexican-born silversmith, Juan Pliego settled in New York in 1965 and studied silversmithing with master silversmith William Seitz at the YMCA on Eighth Avenue and Fiftieth Street. Pliego soon became Seitz's assistant and replaced him as instructor in 1974. In 1980, Pliego established his own studio, the J. P. Crafts Studio, on East Twenty-first Street. Many of his objects incorporate precious and semi-precious stones, such as amethyst, opal, chalcedony, sapphire, malachite, lapis lazuli, and jade. Pliego's exquisite boxes also incorporate gold and other metals, resins, and enamel. His influences were far-ranging, from Aztec and Mayan design-a nod to his Central American roots-to Egyptian metalwork, discovered during his travels around the Mediterranean and in Asia. In 2000, Pliego donated nearly all the objects he made during his career to the Historical Society: fifty-three small boxes and forty-three additional objects including bowls, goblets, and a coffee set.

Exhibitions:

"Juan Pliego: Craft Silversmith," New-York Historical Society, October 2000–February 2001.

"Stories in Sterling: Four Centuries of Silver in New York," New-York Historical Society, May 4–September 23, 2012.