Josephine Hartwell Shaw (American, 1865–1941)

Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Overall (pendant): 10.2 x 9.2 x 0.6 cm (4 x 3 5/8 x 1/4 in.) Length (chain): 83.8 cm (33 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Gold, jade, colored glass

On View

Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation Gallery (Gallery 104)


Americas, Jewelry


Necklaces and neck bands

Pendant of two white jade tear-shaped carvings with nine squares and three rectangular green stones on a four strand chain interrupted by four groups of five and two groups of three rectangular green stones. Carved white jade clasp.

Like craftspeople working in other media, jewelry makers of the Arts and Crafts Movement favored unusual materials and finishes, searching for novel combinations of color and texture. They chose uncut, naturally shaped, semi- and non-precious stones, even pebbles, over faceted diamonds and rubies, and dull surfaces over polished. They wanted to highlight the inherent beauty of each element within an overall harmonious composition.

A prominent member of the Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, Josephine Shaw earned the admiration of her fellow artisans and the public for her outstanding jewelry. Shaw often drew inspiration from Asian cultures. She composed this necklace around the two pieces of carved, eighteenth-century white jade from China. She complemented these exotic, presumably expensive elements with rectangles of common green glass set in green-toned gold. The rhythmic repetition of the glass with the loops, rods, and balls of gold does not overwhelm but rather enhances the subtle tones and delicate carving of the jade.

This text was adapted from Ward, et al., MFA Highlights: American Decorative Arts & Sculpture (Boston, 2006) available at


"J.H. SHAW" incuse on a rectangular gold tag soldered to rear of pendant at top


The necklace originally belonged to the mother-in-law of the donor. Collection of Nancy Loring by 1975; inherited by her daughter-in-law, Anne B. Loring 1975; to MFA December 17, 1984, gift.

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Atherton Loring