Smoke and Mirrors

Artist: Andrea Polzkill - Shavlik Jewelry

Materials: smoky quartz, sterling silver, mirror

Dimensions: 4.5" x 3", 17" long

Beneficiary: FactCheck - We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding. is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The APPC was established by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg to create a community of scholars within the University of Pennsylvania that would address public policy issues at the local, state and federal levels.

Artist Statement: A play on the idea of creating illusions with smoke and mirrors, this necklace is a commentary on our mainstream news organizations today. The news routinely exaggerates information to create a biased and dramatized narrative, with the disastrous effect of creating division, anger, and fear.

Pieces of mirror have been manipulated to look shattered, and the reflections obscured, in a chaotic arrangement along with smoky quartz. Directional silver lines further create a sense of imbalance, and the oxidized silver a feeling of darkness.

The obscured vision where the mirrors should be clear and reflective, as well as the abundance of darkness and imbalanced proportions symbolize an absence of hope, stability, and well-being that these exaggerated narratives create in our lives.