Craft and Mystery

The Inspired and Fantastical Jewelry of Robert Lee Morris

Robert Lee Morris’ jewelry designs effortlessly meld sensual, natural materials with bold and elegant forms. Influenced by cultures from around the world, Morris creates monumental pieces to complement the human form that appear to be simultaneously primitive and futuristic. His works echo the sublime beauty of nature and his use of organic materials imbues his designs with splendor and mystery. 

Morris began his formal training studying art and archaeology at Beloit College. After graduating, Morris founded a commune, which was loosely modeled on William Morris’ Arts and Crafts community. Morris created jewelry, teaching himself how to metalwork using hardware store materials. The commune burnt down in the 1970s, but Morris continued to hone his craft.

His works caught the eye of a respected gallery owner who displayed Morris’ work at the Sculpture to Wear gallery in the lobby of the Plaza Hotel alongside jewelry by Man Ray and Alexander Calder. In 1976 his gladiatorial bubble necklace was featured prominently on the cover of Vogue, launching Morris’ career to new heights. The following year Morris opened his SoHo store Artware, collaborating with top fashion designers including Karl Lagerfeld, Geoffrey Beene, and Kansai Yamamoto and Cher, Oprah and Bianca Jagger were among his acclaimed clients.

Morris' bold designs have been featured prominently in the fashion shows of Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Michael Kors. Morris was honored in a retrospective exhibition, Metalmania: Robert Lee Morris, at the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1996. In 2007, he was awarded the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), securing his place as one of the most innovative and inventive jewelry designers of the late 20th century.

I've always wanted my work to be more available...I wanted to offer a range of crazy, experimental, one-of-a-kind pieces that would have integrity and be made of great construction as well as interesting engineering.

Robert Lee Morris

Robert Lee Morris

Robert Lee Morris’ jewelry designs effortlessly meld sensual, natural materials with bold and elegant forms. Influenced by cultures from around the world, Morris creates monumental pieces to complement the human form that appear both tribal and futuristic at once. His shimmering works echo the sublime beauty of nature and his use of organic materials imbues his designs with splendor and mystery.

Morris began his formal training studying art as well as archeology at Beloit College. After graduating, Morris founded a commune, which was loosely modeled on William Morris’ Arts and Crafts community. Morris created jewelry, teaching himself how to metalwork using hardware store materials. The commune burnt down in the 1970s, but Morris continued to hone his craft.

His works caught the eye of a respected gallery owner who displayed Morris’ work at the Sculpture to Wear gallery in the lobby of the Plaza Hotel alongside jewelry by Man Ray and Alexander Calder. 1976 his gladiatorial bubble necklace was featured prominently on the cover of Vogue launching Morris’ career to new heights. The following year Morris opened his Soho store Artware, collaborating with top fashion designers including Karl Lagerfeld, Geoffrey Beene, and Kansai Yamamoto and Cher, Oprah Winfrey and Bianca Jagger were among his acclaimed clients.

With bold and voluptuous, undulating lines, the jewelry of Robert Lee Morris has been featured prominently in the fashion shows of Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Anna Klein and Michael Kors. Morris was honored in a retrospective exhibition, Metalmania: Robert Lee Morris, at the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1996. In 2007, he was awarded the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), securing his place as one of the most innovative and inventive jewelry designers in history.

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Auction Results Robert Lee Morris

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, Triple row silver showpiece | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

Triple row silver showpiece
estimate: $8,000–10,000
result: $8,125

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, Percussion bracelet | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

Percussion bracelet
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $6,250

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, Golden Petal Waterfall necklace | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

Golden Petal Waterfall necklace
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $6,250

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, Golden Petal Waterfall necklace | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

Golden Petal Waterfall necklace
estimate: $4,000–6,000
result: $5,760

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, Jumbo disc belt | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

Jumbo disc belt
estimate: $2,500–3,500
result: $2,750

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, A gold link necklace | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

A gold link necklace
estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $2,500

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, Hunter's Cuff | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

Hunter's Cuff
estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $2,304

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, A silver and turquoise bracelet | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

A silver and turquoise bracelet
estimate: $1,500–2,000
result: $2,000

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, A gold and quartz ring | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

A gold and quartz ring
estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $1,270

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, gold belt | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

gold belt
estimate: $500–700
result: $300

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, necklace | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

necklace
estimate: $8,000–10,000

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, A silver dagger necklace | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

A silver dagger necklace
estimate: $1,200–1,800

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, A Medicine pectoral | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

A Medicine pectoral
estimate: $6,000–8,000

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, Fading Waterfall necklace | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

Fading Waterfall necklace
estimate: $4,000–6,000

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, A forged silver collar | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

A forged silver collar
estimate: $4,000–6,000

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, A bullet head necklace | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

A bullet head necklace
estimate: $3,000–5,000

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, Stairway headpiece | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

Stairway headpiece
estimate: $2,000–3,000

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, choker | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

choker
estimate: $7,000–9,000

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, A copper, silver and brass choker | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

A copper, silver and brass choker
estimate: $4,000–6,000

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, Percussion bracelet | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

Percussion bracelet
estimate: $5,000–7,000

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, hunter's cuff | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

hunter's cuff
estimate: $2,500–3,500

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, choker from the Mandala Collection | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

choker from the Mandala Collection
estimate: $3,000–5,000

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, gold and quartz ring | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

gold and quartz ring
estimate: $1,500–2,000

ROBERT LEE MORRIS, gold belt | Wright20.com

Robert Lee Morris

gold belt
estimate: $3,000–4,000