Sunday, April 10, 2011

Book review: Vintage Jewelry Design

Vintage Jewelry Design: Classics to Collect & Wear 

Lately I've been feeling the need for some outside inspiration.  Most likely I am a bit burned out from the year-long project I just completed in writing my book on bead embroidery.  Well, this new book that I received from Lark publications to review may be just what the doctor ordered.  Vintage Jewelry Design: Classics to Collect & Wear, written by Caroline Cox, couldn't have reached my door at a better time!

Many times a book that provides a survey of history will focus just on one country or another, missing trends that were developed elsewhere.  That's not the case with this lusciously illustrated book; it focuses on the styles that have emerged from around 1890 to the present day, paying attention to both sides of the ocean.  Prestigious firms and designers are placed within the cultural context of each decade, creating a most delightful book for study or for casual browsing.

I learned things that I did not know before.  Even though I'm very familiar with the designers and designs of the Art Nouveau period, I didn't really understand before that their rise was made possible by the rise of the new industrialist families.  Previously, jewelry was part of a family's wealth and inheritance, but now a new moneyed class arose that wanted adornment too.  By the 1920's, Coco Chanel was telling the world that jewelry should make a woman beautiful rather than simply give her an aura of wealth.  And did you know that it was in the 1930s that diamonds became the symbol of romance? 

There's so much more in this beautiful book.  Part coffee table book, part scholarly history, all gorgeous...I think you'll enjoy Vintage Jewelry Design a lot!

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2 comments:

Mandy said...

Cool! I'll have to have a look see at that book. Yesterday at the library I was looking through a similiar book called Costume Jewerly (I think), it was awesome also.

JoaniB said...

This looks like a fabulous book! Must check it out. Thank you!

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