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Entries in book review (5)

Book Review: Women Jewellery Designers  

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ACC Publishing will release their newest jewelry book--the oversized and highly impressive book is titled Women Jewellery Designers by Juliet Weir-de La Rochefoucauld. My review can be found in my latest article for the Observer: These 4 Women Are the Biggest Innovators in Jewelry Design 

Here's the link:

http://observer.com/2017/08/women-jewelry-design-history-innovators-book-review/

You can order your copy here:

 

Book Review: Lydia Courteille Extraordinary Jewellery of Imagination and Dreams

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I opened up this book knowing very little about the French designer Lydia Courteille. I've seen her incredible designs on Rihanna, at trade shows, in magazines, and every time I see one of her pieces, I have a slight heart attack. Her over-the-top and bold creativity is something that I vibe with, so I was really curious and excited that this monograph depicting her life, inspirations and collections was published. Actually, I take that back, it comes out November 16th, but I luckily got my hands on an advance copy thanks to the publisher. I made the bad decision of finally snuggling up to this book around 10:30 pm on a Friday night, thinking I would just look at the pictures and fall asleep. Nope. I was awake until early morning, reading, gazing and overly relating to this incredible woman and feeling so many connections that I never knew!  

What caught my attention were many of the depictions of her life growing up, her penchant for antique jewelry and how it opened up the jewelry world for her, and to learn Lydia is a gemologist as well!  Like I said, so many relatable moments while reading, I had to rub my eyes a few times. I love the tales from her childhood and the nuances that have connected her to the world of jewelry. Small items or events in her life have all shaped and steered her in the direction of jewelry and it is wonderful to read about these subtle hints she experienced growing up. Acknowledging them and connecting them is so fun. 

Her jewelry is art--it is colorful beyond all rainbows and in a league of its own.  As you can see from the photos above which I took of some of my favorite pages, she has so many different inspirations. Things like architecture of her beloved Paris, literature, film, her love of unusual gemstones, memento mori, and of course antique jewelry. Lydia has a knack for juxtaposing two completely unique things, creating gorgeous harmony which has her collectors wanting more. I hope to someday meet Lydia and her head-turning jewels. If only the setting could be in Paris at her atelier at Place Vendóme. That would be just as dreamy as this book. Happy reading!

To order your own copy:

Book Review: Rings: Jewelry of Power, Love and Loyalty by Diana Scarisbrick

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The book, Rings: Jewelry of Power, Love and Loyalty will forever go down in history as one of the most epic jewelry tomes.  Every page turned, a slight gasp can easily become hyperventilation with illustrations depicting some incredible rings.  There are so many examples of fine, historic rings dating back to the Byzantine 6th & 7th Century, even earlier Greek and Roman examples and Egyptian hieroglyphic engraved rings.  The information-packed book is one to be studied and may I suggest, keeping a notebook on hand for note-taking and jotting down facts that grab your attention.  Like one of my favorite facts--something I hadn't known before--enamel was introduced in the 14th Century to ornament flowers and leaves on shoulders of rings. Since then, enamel has continued to be a favorite of designers and even consumers, like myself. I have always had a thing for enameled jewelry--the fine examples shown in this book of 14th Century enameled rings will blow you away!

I purchased this book several years ago and read it little by little in between working long hours and keeping up with a blog.  Recently, I decided to sit down and finish what I had started and read the entire book...and I am so glad that I devoted the time to doing so!  

Most of the pieces featured come from the collection of Mr. Benjamin Zucker, as well as the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen, the Freud Museum in London, the Cartier Collection and various private collectors.  The book travels through both time and topics, each chapter depicting a theme and running through the examples of rings significant to that theme starting from the first glimpses and then continuing on upward. The book starts out with a very important topic--Signets--perhaps the essence of rings and where they all began. A topic both adamant and necessary--Love, Marriage and Friendship--is by far a leading chapter and very informational.  Favorites amongst collectors, like a gimmel ring or fede ring, are depicted here.  My favorite part was reading the Latin inscriptions inside posy rings, like In Thee Made I My Choyce Alone, Love Is The Bond of Peace, God Above Joynd Us In Love, Love Me Only, Kepe Me In Mynd, Feare God Love Me, Love Well Thy Frende Tyll Deathe de Parte.  

Amongst other topics, Memento Mori and Memorial rings are discussed--which are especially interesting to learn about and also as a collector, to be aware of the difference between them, although sometimes it could be a fine line!  Understanding history's greatest events and how they've shaped jewelry/ring design is abundant throughout this book and this topic is terribly intriguing.  Memento Mori jewelry would never even exist if the excruciatingly high mortality rates were such a part of everyday life during the 17th Century.  

I also enjoyed the last chapter called The Ring as an Accessory which delves into rings with a purpose, like ring watches, rings that hold handkerchiefs, and the famous calendar rings which were all the rage during the early 1800s.  An extensive bibliography, notes to the text, notes to the illustrations and index end the book.  As a reader, you are left wanting to reading more by Diana Scarisbrick, and you'll be lucky to find out she has written a few more in the category of Jewelry.  Happy reading!

 

Book Review: I Love Those Earrings by Jane Merrill & Chris Filstrup

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I Love Those Earrings by Jane Merrill & Chris Filstrup, Schiffer Publishing

This book is an ode to earrings, praising them for their existence and complimenting them on their beauty.  The authors have the same passion for earrings as I do for rings, so reading these 200+ pages was very familiar for me and quite fun!  The journey begins with the historical importance of earrings, and then continues by going through segments of time.  Many fine examples of early paintings with women depicted wearing earrings, are illustrated and discussed.  From the Early Romans, to the daintiness of the Renaissance earring, and then to the extravagance of the 17th Century long dangles, the authors illuminate the history and importance within each period.  Through and through, the reader is reminded of the timelessness and universal goodness of earrings.  The book reads, "Regardless of the time period, geographic region, and cultural heritage, earrings can be seen to have crossed all borders, making a universal statement of beautifully crafted adornments." (p.21)

In my opinion, earrings can really make an outfit. From the way you style your hair, to the shape of the dangle, earrings frame your face which is where everyone looks when conversing.  Unlike most pieces of jewelry or adornment for that matter, earrings cannot be seen by the wearer once worn (unless you look in the mirror). So the effect of earrings is truly for other people to see!  

One of the very last chapters within the book steps away from factual information and talks candidly with women about earrings.  I absolutely love this chapter!  Several different women give you their take on earrings, whether it is their favorite pair or a funny story involving earrings...it is quite entertaining.  Since these women shared their stories, I will share my own earring story:

I would say earrings are my second favorite type of jewelry, behind rings in first place.  Earrings always fascinated me and I was never afraid of getting my ears pierced.  I was four years old, begging my mom to take me.  The first ear piercing went smoothly, and then when the woman went to pierce my other ear, I automatically jumped in anticipation of the pain.  I was left with an earring going through the bottom part of my ear, rather than straight-through.  We took the earring out, and I went several months as a four-year-old with one earring.  After the mistake had healed, I got repierced and they've never looked symmetrical...but that did not matter to me!  I was so happy to have earrings.  I had a list made of all the earrings I wanted from the local jewelry shop.  My first pair of earrings were 14k yellow gold teddy bears.  I got my second holes pierced when I was in Middle School on my birthday.  That event was sort of a "rite of passage" for me where I was finally growing up and learning my own style.  My third hole piercing I got with my old roommate from college.  We both got them pierced at the same time by a co-worker who also worked part-time at the gold jewelry kiosk in the mall.  

A favorite pair of earrings of mine are these gold branch-like dangle earrings made by Barrett Ford. They feature briolette quartz and really make a statement when I wear them.  Any other pairs of earrings that I own are all studs, so these are really different and actually make me feel totally different when I wear them!  (Earrings are pictured on the inside cover of the book)

To purchase this book: 


Jewelry’s Shining Stars by Beth Bernstein

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“But it wasn’t until I was six years into a career as a fashion stylist and writer for magazines that I realized that nothing about the rise and fall of hemlines, the heel of a shoe or the structure of a handbag moved and intrigued me the way jewelry did.”

--Beth Bernstein, from the Introduction of Jewelry’s Shining Stars

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Jewelry is a different kind of accessory--it is more than an addition to an outfit.  Each piece of jewelry a woman owns can tell a story, whether it be sad, joyous, thoughtful, or some sort of tribute, it means something in the wearer’s life.  At the same time, each designer who created those pieces of jewelry each has their own story behind why or how it was created, what sparked the idea, and the design process through its completion.  This is exactly what is being conveyed in the newest book, Jewelry’s Shining Stars.

Beth Bernstein’s latest coffee table masterpiece takes you inside each designer’s ways of thinking--from their personal stories, quirks and adversities, to their favorite things, like books, artists, and influences.  The insight gained from each mini-interview is incredible.  I am left feeling intrigued, wanting to learn more, as well as feeling like I’ve just sat down and personally talked to each jewelry designer.  This was provoked by the way Beth asked the questions and formatted the revealing interviews.

Did you know that Colette found a 1.50 carat emerald in her shoe on one of her trips to the Tucson Gem Show? Or that Stephanie of Jemma Wynne is obsessed with ‘90s rap music? Or that Mizuki hoards favorite bathroom amenities from her hotel stays?!  Little unknown facts like this, mixed with some serious topics, is what makes this book such a fun read!  

This must-have book is available September 26, 2013 and I highly recommend it!  Here is the list of the 38 designers that are included in this publication:

ADEL CHEFRIDI • ALISHAN • ALLIA • AMALI • ANNIE FENSTERSTOCK • ARMAN SARKISYAN • BOAZ KASHI • BORGIONIS • CASSANDRA ERIN • COLETTE • COOMI • DONNA DISTEFANO • ILEANA MAKRI • JAMIE JOSEPH • JEMMA WYNNE • KAMOFIE • JOSEPH MURRAY • K. BRUNINI • KATHERINE JETTER • LAUREN HARPER • LAUREN WOLF • MEGAN THORNE • MELISSA JOY MANNING • MICHAEL JOHN JEWELRY • MIZUKI • MORITZ GLIK • NAM CHO • NAOMI BLUMENTHAL • PAMELA HUIZENGA • POLLY WALES • RAY GRIFFITHS • REBECCA OVERMANN • SHAILL • SORELLINA • TODD REED • VIBE’S • WENDY YUE • YAEL SONIA

*also extremely thankful to be included in the Acknowledgments section!