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Entries in jewelry book (14)

Book Review: Christie's The Jewellery Archives Revealed

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Have you ever dreamed of going into the vaults and archives of the infamous, world-renowned auction house Christie's?! I feel like I dream about that on a daily basis and although I've never gotten my chance, author Vincent Meylan may hold the key to unlocking that door with his latest book called Christie's The Jewellery Archives Revealed. In it, he chronicles some of the most headlining jewelry auctions--from British Royalty jewels, to Elizabeth Taylor's collection, and everything in between. Mr. Meylan had insider's access to the Christie's archives to research for this book, where he brings hundreds of color illustrations, including more than 100 original documents reproduced just for the pages of this tome. 

The history behind Christie's is even more extensive than what I thought--with their first sale being on December 5, 1766! It is interesting to read that during this revolutionary time, the events that took place may have actually benefited Christie's because so many people of royalty were being sent to the guillotine. Chapter two has quite the attention-grabbing title of "Murdered Queens." The extensive stories behind each historical piece are quite fascinating, and I am thoroughly enjoying the paintings of the royals as well as photos of the jewels which illustrate the book. It gives you insight into European royalty as well, including history and intriquing stories behind many of their ill-fated lives. 

Chapter 11 is a favorite, titled "Diamonds are Christie's Best Friends," it chronicles a few of the top-selling, biggest, rarest and most stunning diamonds to ever grace Christie's auction floor. This chapter opens up about how mysterious and extensive their diamond sales were over the past couple centuries. The earliest diamond consignments reveal not much on where they came from...and in the same breadth, where did they end up once sold?  A trio of rubies, for example, went up for auction in 1891. The weight and rarity of any one of these, if they were to resurface, would shatter any record ever set. So astonishing.

Aside from the last chapter, it is noteworthy to check out the Appendix. It lists significant names of pieces/collections that went up for auction by year, starting with the year 1767. It is a great, quick reference as well as a "who's who" amongst those who sold pieces through Christie's.

The auction world is quite mysterious, legendary and totally unique. It is one of my favorite parts of my jewelry hobby. This book encompasses all this and more, and should you find yourself daydreaming of all the jaw-dropping jewels that once passed through Christie's auction house--you might want to buy yourself this book to know exactly how incredible they truly are!

To purchase your own copy of Christie's The Jewellery Archives Revealed, click below:

Book Review: Jewels on Queen by Anne Schofield

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Receiving jewelry books for the holidays is one of my favorite things ever. I usually have some down time in between Christmas and New Year's where I try to organize my life, my goals, get my mind focused, and a lot of this is done without leaving my house for a few days. Rather than feeling cooped up, I actually enjoy this time of year and take a few days off to lose myself into a good jewelry book. This time around I couldn't wait to read Jewels on Queen by Anne Schofield, a gift from my mom. I read the entire book front to back in one sitting and it left me wanting more--so obviously that's when Googling began. But overall, I felt this is such a lovely book.

So what exactly does this book feature? Unlike the title, you may first guess that the book is all about the Queen of England and her jewelry collection. The book actually does not mention the Queen at all--in fact, it is about another "queen," a well-known antique shop located on Queen Street in Australia, Anne Schofield Antiques. This book is amazing because it delves into Anne's collection--things she has purchased, sold and acquired--over the past 50 years of being an antiques dealer. It is like my "Jewelry Collection Stories" only in book form; more in depth and LOTS of pictures.  If you enjoy that type of reading, then you'll love this book as much as I do.

The beginning of Jewels on Queen gives you a little background and insight into Anne's life and how she ended up being an antique jewelry dealer/shop owner. Her story is really unique and I actually related to a few parts that were almost identical to my story. The chapters are broken down into jewelry categories that Anne specialized the most in--like cameos, sentimental jewelry, souvenir jewelry, Art Deco, etc. Every chapter highlights her personal story relating to the topic and shows some really iconic pieces she has come across over her career. Anne has a special story about her visits to London--like visiting Wartski and SJ Phillips. I love the details and revelations about her personal life that she mixes in with the jewelry stories--it's fun and easy reading.

Anne Schofield's Antiques is still open today in Woollahra, Australia. If you can't hop on a plane and visit, I suggest buying this book and learning about Anne and her story from the comfort of your home!  Happy reading!

To purchase your own copy of Jewels on Queen by Anne Schofield, click below:

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: GEM the Definitive Visual Guide

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Earlier this year I finally did something every American needs to do at least once in their lifetime: I visited Washington DC and the Smithsonian. I could have spent the entire day, from open until close, in the National Museum of Natural History--their National Gem & Mineral Collection is one of the best, not to mention some of the most exquisite finished pieces of jewelry, each with such incredible history. When I found out about the newest book release from the Smithsonian, I knew it was going to be comprehensive and chalk-full of colorful examples of all things I love (gems and jewels). And hey, I was right. I've been flipping and stopping, gawking and reading all day. 

First off, the breakdown. The Introduction highlights the basics, because whether you're a student or a novice, a professional or a graduate gemologist, we all need to review the foundation. The best part about the intro is the photos--vibrant depictions of each term and visually appealing on every level. The next section brings Native Elements to life: gold, silver, platinum, copper, bronze and diamonds, mixed in with some special vignettes about important and noteworthy pieces. The largest section, speaking in terms of breadth and depth, is all about Gemstones! From Agate to Zircon and everything in between, each stone is given a description, scientific specs, and gorgeous examples featuring the particular gem in different forms (rough, faceted, carved, set in jewelry, etc). Rocks and Minerals make up the final section of the book, before the very end--a very handy directory, glossary and index. 

Hopefully my photos will give you an idea as well of what this amazing book is all about! I think it is perfect for every gem lover, jewelry enthusiast, or person who loves to learn. This book needs to be in the libraries of every middle school and high school! If I happened upon this when I was in middle school, my future in the gem and jewelry industry may have started even earlier than it did.  My jewelry book library is pretty extensive, but this particular title is unlike anything out there.  I love it!

*Full disclosure, I received my press copy for free. 

To order your own:

Video Series: Gem Gossip Read & Wear for February 2016

Gem Gossip Read & Wear video series

Hey! Can you believe I made it through two whole months keeping this New Year's resolution?! I know, neither can I! So February has come and gone, and I thought sticking to a strict one ring purchase per month and one book purchase per month would be difficult, I actually was struggling with finding something to buy. February was really busy for me with lots of travel and a content-heavy schedule...so most days were spent behind a computer writing all day. Jewelry is always on my mind, but certainly this time the buying aspect was not really in the equation.

The Ring:

I decided to log into eBay since I hadn't been on since way before Christmas--I had actually personally "banned" myself from eBay because, let's be honest, it can get a jewelry-loving girl into a lot of trouble. I wasn't very deep into my search when I came across a "baby" ring that featured the word Nevada in a style typical of the California Gold Rush era souvenir jewelry.  This was a really intriguing time in history, during the mid-1800s when around 300,000 people flocked to California in search for gold. From this movement, lots of sounvenir jewelry was created. Some fine examples are highlighted in the auction lot I mention in the video--this lot is from Rago Arts' December 2015 sale where the estimated value of the items more than tripled in the final bid price of $5,000. The "Colorado" ring from that lot really caught my attention and I've been on the hunt for one similar ever since. That's how this "Nevada" ring sparked my interest and luckily no bidding was necessary as it was a "Buy It Now." Although I do love the excitement of an auction, sometimes the quick click of an "Add to Cart" is what is needed to soothe a jewelry obsession.

The Book:

As I stated in the video, I bought Jewels & Jewellery by Clare Phillips while visiting London in 2014. I was so enchanted by my visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum, that I had to bring home this book which features many of the jewels within their jewelry galleries. Can you believe their galleries contain over 4,000 items of jewelry?! They way everything is displayed makes it even more magnificient. Luckily for you, you don't have to catch a flight to London or pack this heavy book in your suitcase like I did--you can just order it below! Let your mail carrier do the heavy lifting for you! ;)

Important Links:

February's Ring Purchase: Antique "Nevada" old miner's souvenir ring, www.eBay.com

February's Book Purchase: Jewels & Jewellery by Clare Phillips 

Jewels & Jewellery book