Books make wonderful presents, especially those that add a new facet of knowledge to Mom’s burgeoning, or perhaps more advanced interests. My book, BROOCHES: TIMELESS ADORNMENT, is a fabulous gift for anyone who wants to know more about the stylish history of this ornament — the best example of the jeweler’s art. It’s full of advice and the illustrations, noted with praise by Elle editors, are inspirational to those who haven’t yet grasped, “where and how to stick ‘em.”
For today’s post, I’ve asked my colleague and book seller nonpareil (everyone in the industry taps into her archival stock), Judy M. Cohen of JM Cohen Rare Books to offer a few insights into gathering a library of jewelry books that will last a lifetime:
First you should read a well-written, well-illustrated general survey of jewelry. The one I always recommend is Understanding Jewelry by David Bennett and Daniela Mascetti, an aptly named book that presents a thorough, yet general overview of jewelry throughout history. Understanding Jewelry is a book that will be used over and over again throughout your collecting life; the index is exhaustive; the information is quite detailed, and the photographs are exceptional. In fact, when there is a question about buying just one book, I always suggest this one.
There is a lot to digest in this work and for those who feel it is a bit too overwhelming, there is also John Benjaminâ€™s Starting to Collect Antique Jewellery or Clare Phillipsâ€™ Jewelry, From Antiquity to the Present.
Everyone should have Harold Newmanâ€™s An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry and Christie Romeroâ€™s Warmanâ€™s Jewelry. The dictionary is easy to use, alphabetical listing of words you might come across, as well as designers and techniques. Short entries explain the meanings of these terms and names.
Romero’s book has everything, including values. And a small book, Whatâ€™s it Made Of , by Sheryl Gross Shatz is very helpful to determine the material something is made of by using simple at home methods.
Once you have the basic reference books, you will find that your library will grow. Your quest for knowledge will make sure that happens! The minute you find a piece of jewelry about which you want to know more than a general survey can teach you, you will find that you want and need books on more specific topics, a particular period, a specific designer, one type of material or another.
In order to determine what a piece of jewelry is, the date and/or the maker, you will need books of marks, both hallmarks and makerâ€™s marks. The standard hallmark books are by Tardy, Poincons dâ€™Or and Poincons dâ€™Argent, one on gold and platinum and one on silver. They are in French, but everyone seems to be able to use them once taught. The marks will help you to determine the place and date of any piece. Jacksonâ€™s Silver and Gold Marks is useful for British marks. When there is a makerâ€™s mark, you may have to search many books, as there is no one book on makerâ€™s marks. However, there is one for American maker’s marks and that is Dorothy Rainwaterâ€™s American Jewelry Manufacturers.
After purchasing and reading the basic books, there are several that are highly recommended and referred to quite often by collectors and dealers. They include Shirley Buryâ€™s Jewellery 1789–1910, The International Era, Joan Evansâ€™ A History of Jewellery 1100–1870, Martha Gandy Falesâ€™ Jewelry in America, and Penny Proddowâ€™s American Jewelry: Glamour and Tradition.
When I am asked what books I recommend to people starting out in their quest for knowledge of jewelry, I usually begin with the books I have mentioned. Then I ask them to be more specific, about what period appeals to them or what period they are seeing and focusing on most often. For the Victorian era I recommend you start with Margaret Flowerâ€™s Victorian Jewellery; for Art Nouveau Vivienne Beckerâ€™s Art Nouveau Jewelry, Joseph Sataloffâ€™s Art Nouveau Jewelry, and Alastair Duncanâ€™s The Paris Salons 1895–1914; for the Arts & Crafts period Elyse Zorn Karlinâ€™s Jewelry and Metalwork in the Arts and Crafts Tradition; for Art Deco, Art Deco Jewelry by Sylvie Raulet and Melissa Gabardiâ€™s Art Deco Jewellery, 1920–1949; and for 20th century jewelry Graham Hughesâ€™ Modern Jewelry: An International Survey, 1890–1967. Recommended books on costume jewelry would be Deanna Farneti Ceraâ€™s Jewels of Fantasy: Costume Jewelry of the 20th Century and Vivienne Beckerâ€™s Fabulous Costume Jewelry.
Books with good photographs of jewelry as it was worn throughout history include Boucherâ€™s 20,000 Years of Fashion and Gregoriettiâ€™s Jewelry Through the Ages. I am always happy to discuss individual preferences with my customers.
I suggest that you pay attention to certain authors including: Joan Evans, Vivienne Becker, Daniela Mascetti, Amanda Triossi, Diana Scarisbrick, Penny Proddow, and Charlotte Gere; I also recommend that you consider the bibliography at the end of books you already find useful. The books that these authors use in their own writing will contain much more information than they are presenting to you.
Second only perhaps to the pleasure of finding and wearing beautiful jewelry is immersing oneâ€™s self in books of exquisite photographs of jewelry. Not only will you find it pleasurable, you will learn so much.
Ok, my dears, that’s all for this week. My family is celebrating our youngest son’s milestone — we are very proud of him. So I’m off to make final preparations. I will be back next Tuesday with more. Bon weekend!! LEG