If you’ve been following me over on Instagram, I’ve been constantly throwing out gift-giving ideas for the holidays. Most of these involve jewelry and I’ve been trying to include items that are under $500. But sometimes jewelry can be intimidating to buy for someone who deems themselves a “jewelry connoisseur” and budgets for friends and relatives can be tight. That’s when jewelry books come in handy — they are every jewelry lovers favorite thing besides jewelry and the price points on books are usually in everyone’s budget. Another great thing, they can easily be ordered on Amazon, which is a huge bonus in my eyes.
This year, there are quite a few jewelry titles that have just debuted or are being released within the next few weeks, just in time for the holidays! I’ve also included a couple pre-order books that aren’t supposed to come out until next year, but they were too good not to include in this roundup! Take a look at my suggestions and make sure you order them for your jewelry library or for a friend as a gift. (I’ve been noticing prices of out-of-print jewelry books skyrocketing, so I suggest you order these now before they become a rare item.)
If you’d like my ENTIRE JEWELRY BOOK list (over 200 titles) then click here.
Title: Jean Schlumberger: The Rachel Lambert Mellon Collection from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Release date: December 18, 2018
As iconic of a name as Jean Schlumberger, if you aren’t familiar with his work during his reign at Tiffany & Co. during the 50s, you must read this book. This catalogue presents highlights from the collection of Schlumberger’s work given to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts by horticulturist, philanthropist, and longtime supporter of the museum Rachel Lambert Mellon.
Release date: December 4, 2018
The legacy of Boucheron extends over a century and a half, with this tome covering that expansive time. Learn all you ever wanted to know about the important French jewelry house with lots of photos, including drawings from the archives!
Title: East Meets West: Royal Indian Jewelry from the Al Thani Collection
Release date: December 3, 2018
This book features more than 150 objects, including jewel-encrusted jades, famous gemstones, enameled gold, and other precious works of art that range in date from the 17th century to the 1930s from India, and depicts its influence over Europe and the western world. Lots of essays and photos; a book you don’t want to miss!
Title: Designers and Jewellery 1850–1940: Jewellery and Metalwork from the Fitzwilliam Museum
Release date: July 30, 2018
This book came out in the summer and I’ve been wanting to buy it. This beautifully illustrated volume reproduces over 50 of the Fitzwilliam Museum’s most important pieces from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many previously unpublished. The museum is located in the UK.
Title: Arts and Crafts Jewelry in Boston: Frank Gardner Hale and His Circle
Release date: November 20, 2018
One look at the cover of this book and I’m already hooked. The Arts & Crafts period is one most jewelry lovers are intrigued by but may not know much about. Boston was an epicenter of this special movement in jewelry history and this book takes a deep dive into that–with it being co-authored by some great names, including Emily Stoehrer who is director of MFA Boston jewelry dept.
Title: Jewelry: The Body Transformed
Release date: November 12, 2018
Establishing six different modes of ornamenting the body—Deconstructed, Divine, Regal, Idealized, Alluring, and Resplendent—this artfully designed book illustrates how these various definitions of the body give meaning to the jewelry that adorns it. More than 200 examples of exceptional jewelry and ornaments illustrate this book and it is currently a top seller in its category.
Title: Chains: Jewelry in History, Function and Ornament
Release date: July 24, 2018
I know how much our antique jewelry community loves layering and draping themselves in antique chains — well this book is meant for you! This book retraces the historic, symbolic and aesthetic evolution of the chain, one of the most abundant and beloved of jewelry items, and examines its intersections with art, fashion, design and manufacturing, from antiquity to the present.
Title: Looking at Jewelry: A Guide to Terms, Styles, and Techniques
Release date: June 18, 2019
My heart immediately skipped a beat when I saw what was on the cover of this book — the Hamlin necklace which I got the rare opportunity to see and handle in person last year. I always get asked about which books I recommend for beginners and now I have an answer — this book! It is a concise guide to jewelry terms, with history and photos.It comes out next year, but I will be preordering for sure!
Title: The Cartier Collection: Jewelry
Release date: March 12, 2019
This is the most expensive of the bunch, but rightfully so with two volumes in a boxed set. With more than 3,000 pieces dating from the 1860s to the present, the Cartier Collection constitutes the world’s largest collection of its kind. This luxury work traces the history of the collection’s high jewelry holdings and attests to the originality and artistic genius that made Cartier a world-class jeweler.
Title: The History of Jewelry: Joseph Saidian & Sons
Release date: February 19, 2019
I can’t wait for this book to come out next year! It features several gorgeous pieces from NYC-based antique jewelry shop Joseph Saidian & Sons. Each chapter is centered around a particular piece of jewelry and the way in which it is emblematic: a previous owner, an exemplary design or dominant material. Jewels and their stories — my kind of book!