Iridescence at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, through March 24, 2019

“The term iridescence derives from Iris, the Greek goddess of the rainbow, and refers to a vibrant optical effect of rainbow-like colors that change in the light. Found on pearls and insect wings, iridescence draws from and celebrates the natural world’s multidimensional colors and organic forms. Since the Middle Ages, designers have experimented with ways to achieve an iridescent effect on the surface of glass and ceramics and incorporated naturally iridescent materials such as mother of pearl into their jewelry and metalwork. Featuring objects from the collection and installed in the museum’s magnificent Teak Room, this exhibition demonstrates how iridescence has maintained a lasting impact on design.” — Cooper Hewitt

Vase; ca. 1895-96; Design Director: Louis Comfort Tiffany (American, 1848-1933); Produced by Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company (New York, New York, USA); Free-blown favrile glass; Gift of Anonymous Donor, 1952-166-33. Photo © Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Jar (Eastern Mediterranean); 4th-5th century; Free-blown glass with trailed decoration; Gift of Mrs. Leo Wallerstein, 1961-88-7. Photo © Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Vase; 1920–29; Designed by Frederick Carder (American, born England, 1863–1963); Made by Steuben Glass Works (Corning, New York, USA); Blown, iridized, and tooled glass; Museum purchase from Mary Blackwelder Memorial Fund, 1977-56-1. Photo © Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Place Setting from Service for Twelve; 1972-73; Designed and made by Beatrice Wood (American, 1894-1998); Thrown luster-glazed earthenware; Gift of Mark Del Vecchio and Garth Clark, 1986-23-1/5

Ring; ca. 1960; Made by Frank Rebajes (American, born Dominican Republic, 1907-1990); Hand-wrought silver, abalone, pearl; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Eitel Groeschke in memory of Pauline and Frank Rebajes, 1990-138-3. Photo © Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Leaf Pitcher; ca. 1901; Designed by Lajos Mack (Hungarian, 1877-1963); Manufactured by Zsolnay, Pècs Factory (Pècs, Hungary); Pressed and hand-shaped, high-fired eosin-glazed fine white earthenware; Museum purchase from Charles E. Sampson Memorial Fund, 2007-3-1. Photo Matt Flynn © Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Grand Seascape with Trees Vase; ca. 1900; Designed by Clément Massier (French, 1845-1917); Hand-painted and metallic-glazed thrown earthenware; Museum purchase from Charles E. Sampson Memorial Fund and through gift of Barbara Munves, Dr. Barbra B. and Mr. Hal F. Higginbotham, and Susan Hermanos, 2015-10-2. Photo © Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum