Top 10 Books About Jewellery


The Cartiers: The Untold Story of the Family Behind the Jewelry Empire, by Francesca Cartier Brickell

From the Hope Diamond to the Tutti-Frutti necklace, the house of Cartier is the name behind many of the world’s most recognizable jewels. Here, for the first time, Francesca Cartier Brickell explores the untold stories of her ancestors, Jacques, Louis and Pierre Cartier – three visionary brothers who transformed their grandfather’s Parisian jewellery store into an international luxury empire.

Inspired by a long-lost stash of her grandfather’s letters and photographs, Brickell spent 10 years travelling the world and interviewing everyone from Indian maharajas and American heiresses to pearl stringers and former salesmen. With their help, plus exclusive access to the Cartier archives, she reveals the dramas, tragedies, intrigues and love affairs that shaped the fortunes of the firm.

The result is a mesmerising portrayal of early-20th-century social history, told through the lens of a single, now incredibly famous family.

Jewels & Jewellery by Clare Phillips

Jewellery devotees who miss being able to stroll through the V&A’s recently refurbished William & Judith Bollinger Gallery can instead get their bauble fix in the form of the museum’s jewellery curator Clare Phillips, and her splendid history of adornment.

Dividing the western history of jewellery into three parts (artist’s materials, the development of style and how jewellery has been worn over the centuries), it showcases some truly spectacular creations, such as Queen Victoria’s sapphire and diamond coronet, designed for her by Prince Albert in 1840, the year they were married.

Chaumet Tiaras: Divine Jewels by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni

Since 1780, the Parisian house of Chaumet has been one of the most sought-after jewellers in Europe – helped, undoubtedly, by becoming the official jeweller to Empress Joséphine and Napoleon.

Tiaras are the brand’s speciality (indeed, Chaumet has produced more than 2,000 since its foundation) and this is a luxurious tribute to some of its most fabulous creations. Lavishly photographed and accompanied by essays on the history of the diadem and its role in society and fashion, it’s a gorgeous coffee-table tome that would make a perfect gift for any luxury lover.

Celebrating Jewellery: Exceptional Jewels of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, by David Bennett and Daniela Mascetti

Penned by two of Sotheby’s most eminent jewellery experts, David Bennett (the worldwide chairman of jewellery) and Daniela Mascetti (the European chairman of jewellery), this is the ultimate compendium of the most celebrated jewels from the past 200 years of western history.

From Victorian tiaras to the colourful designs of the late 20th century, the volume takes in both the great jewellery houses – such as Cartier, Bulgari and Van Cleef & Arpels – and their most iconic pieces, all beautifully photographed and explained in exquisite detail. No jewellery buff should be without it.

Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World by Aja Raden

“So what’s a stone worth? What makes a stone a jewel? And what makes a jewel priceless?” writes Aja Raden in an early chapter of Stoned, the former jeweller’s very first book.

The answer is a hugely entertaining account of human desire, and in particular, our love of all things shiny – all centred around eight different pieces of jewellery. Despite the author’s admission that she “didn’t really want to write a book”, Raden’s unique blend of science, history, psychological observation and, of course, amazing jewels will have you hooked from the very first page.

Reading Stoned is like spending time with your funniest, cleverest, most madcap friend – you won’t regret it for a moment.

Ruby: The King of Gems by Joanna Hardy

Shrouded in mythology and coveted by royalty throughout the ages, rubies are the fascinating subject of this insightful book by the jewellery specialist and BBC Antiques Roadshow regular Joanna Hardy.

Here, she distills her encyclopedic knowledge of the scarlet gemstone into tales of 60 of the most renowned ruby pieces and offers practical advice on what to look for when buying a gem for yourself. What Hardy doesn’t know about rubies isn’t really worth knowing.

Tiaras: A History of Splendour by Geoffrey C Munn

Munn offers a fascinating deep-dive into the history of the diadem, and its transformation from the ancient helmet and celebratory wreath into a modern-day symbol of wealth, rank and royalty. This is an endlessly diverting and inspiring read.

Diamond Jewelry: 700 Years of Glory and Glamour by Diana Scarisbrick

Filled with enthralling stories of princely generosity, political posturing, fabulous socialites and scandalous love affairs, this is a captivating overview of seven centuries of precious diamond jewels, and the often equally dazzling personalities who commissioned and wore them.

Jeweler: Masters, Mavericks, and Visionaries of Modern Design by Stellene Volandes

The study of gems needn’t simply be confined to the ancient and the traditional. This glamorous guide, written by the editor-in-chief of our American sister title, showcases some of the world’s most inventive modern jewellers, including the German house of Hemmerle, New York-based James de Givenchy (the founder of Taffin) and the Hong Kong designer Wallace Chan, famous for his dazzling and intricately carved gemstone designs.

It’s a thoughtful look at the huge scope of contemporary design, and well worth a good few hours spent in a cosy corner with a mug of something delicious.

Jewel: A Celebration of Earth’s Treasures, with a foreword by Judith Miller

This is a comprehensive guide to precious gems, from agate to zircon, with chapters dedicated to gemstone formation, distribution across the globe, chemical makeup and, of course, the four important Cs: cut, colour, clarity and carat.

Beyond the basics, there are captivating spreads of some of the infamous gems in history, such as the Duchess of Windsor’s flamingo brooch, La Peregrina pearl, Fabergé eggs and the Koh-i-Noor diamond.

Top 10 Books About Jewellery Top 10 Books About Jewellery Reviewed by Diviano on July 15, 2021 Rating: 5

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