Featured Books on antique and vintage jewelry to recommend

Discussion in 'Jewelry' started by Kimbert, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. Kimbert

    Kimbert Well-Known Member

    Though my interest is great, my knowledge is sorely lacking! It's very hard to cohesively gather the scattered information on the internet! Obviously there are many books out there, but does anyone have recommendations of things you've read that you'd personally recommend? Either general "surveys" of antique and vintage jewelry history or any more narrowed down topics- whatever stood out to you as a good read!
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  2. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    Hi, Kimbert -- I thought we had a thread about this topic but I see the one pinned to the top of this forum is only for online sources.

    So, when you say "antique" for now I'll assume you also would include older jewelry that is not 100 years old yet. If you want antique (100 years or older) only, let us know.

    I'm going to need to compile a list since I don't have one made already. That way I can also check back to see what others write.
  3. Kimbert

    Kimbert Well-Known Member

    I searched around a bit for a similar topic but surprisingly didn't find it! the online sources are awesome and handy though!
    Yes you're right, by antique I meant antique and vintage! So far the things I've collected and/or had interest in collecting were victorian to around 1950s =)
  4. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Where do I start....
    Books I consult a lot are books on hallmarks, like Tardy's (all the ones on precious metals) and hallmarks books by Jan Divis. I have a pocket book on British hallmarks and one on Dutch hallmarks.
    Top of my list is something that might not interest you. It is Marjorie Ransom's "Silver Treasures from the Land of Sheba", about antique jewellery from Yemen.
    I have a couple of books on Native American jewellery, but most of that is not antique of course.
    I'll have to check my books.

    Fig just answered, and I realise you could be talking about vintage jewellery as well, since the jewellery you've shown us is both antique and vintage.
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  5. Kimbert

    Kimbert Well-Known Member

    I'm just running out the door, will write a more full response later! Just wanted to say, you're absolutely right, I meant antique and vintage, edited the title! thanks for responding!!
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  6. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    I made up a list of some of the ones that I have that have stayed in my mind for one reason or another. I do have others, but most are either about gemstones or they are museum productions like a couple of those listed here. I put a note at the end of each one. The one by Vivienne Becker seemed very good as a general survey of lots of types of jewelry. But others here have good overall information in areas that are mentioned.

    Baker, Lillian. Plastic Jewelry of the Twentieth Century; Identification and Value Guide. Updated edition. Paducah, KY: Collector Books, 2003. -- Includes a history of types of plastic and plastic jewelry. I found that valuable.

    Becker, Vivienne. Antique and Twentieth Century Jewellery; A Guide for Collectors. Second Edition. Colchester, Essex: N. A. G. Press, c1987, reprinted 2002. – Lots of text to read about different movements and styles of jewelry through history.

    Bell, C. Jeanenne. How to be a Jewelry Detective. Shawnee, KS: A. D. Publishing, c2000. – I have consulted this book many times in order to identify types and dates of jewelry. I just wish the book was longer!

    Bell, C. Jeanenne. Answers to Questions About Old Jewelry, 1840-1950. Second edition, c2008. – A much more extensive book than the one listed above. Covers historical periods, etc.

    Jargstorf, Sibylle. Baubles, Buttons and Beads; the Heritage of Bohemia. c1993. Atglen, PA: Schiffer. – This is a fabulous history of Bohemian jewelry. It was recommended here on Antiquers, I think by dragonflywink. A very good read.

    McLoughlin, David. Jewelry Fix-Ups: How to Clean, Repair and Restore Your Jewelry. East Petersburg, PA: Fox Chapel Publishing, c2011. (This was simultaneously published in the UK and the US. UK edition is by Fil Rouge Press of London, and they hold the copyright.) – Although this book is about fixing broken jewelry there is a lot of information about different types of findings and styles that may help to identify dates, etc.

    Metropolitan Jewelry. Text by Sophie McConnell, Design by Alvin Grossman. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. A Bulfinch Press Book/Little, Brown, & Co, c1991. – This is mostly an “eye candy” type of book but you can get a sense of how jewelry changed through time. Includes photos of actual jewelry and also of artistic depictions of jewelry from the Museum’s collection.

    Miller, Anna M. Cameos: Old & New. Third Edition. Woodstock, Vermont: Gemstone Press, c2002. – I had the 2nd edition of this and then bought the 3rd, then found out that Ms. Miller had passed away and there would be no more. Very good history of cameos and cameo jewelry. I learned a lot.

    Williams, Dyfri and Jack Ogden. Greek Gold: Jewelry of the Classical World. This is another one from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, based on an exhibition in London and in New York during 1994-1995.

    I have other books, but these are some of the ones that stay in my memory the most and could be of interest. Museums have issued other exhibition catalogs that may be of interest. They often have lots of historical information.
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  7. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    On your recommendation I just bought a copy. :):):)
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  8. Ownedbybear

    Ownedbybear Well-Known Member

    I'd also recommend picking up auction catalogues if you can. A wealth of information. If you're ever in London, go to the jewellery gallery at the V&A.
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  9. Marie Forjan

    Marie Forjan Well-Known Member

    For costume jewelry I highly recommend this series by Julia Carroll:

    Collecting Costume Jewelry 101:
    The Basics of Starting, Building & Upgrading : Identification and Value Guide

    Collecting Costume Jewelry 202: The Basics Of Dating Jewelry 1935-1980, Identification And Value Guide

    Collecting Costume Jewelry 303: The Flip Side : Exploring Costume Jewelry from the Back : Identification and Value Guide
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  10. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Wow, @Figtree3 , what a list.
    Wonderful, Fig. It is also a bit of a travel book, with a lot of info on the various regions, the people, culture.
  11. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    These titles sound very good. Do you think they are good for ongoing reference lookups?
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  12. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    Charlotte Gere & Judy Rudoe, Jewellery in the Age of Queen Victoria.

    But unreliable in my own area of interest, the subjects depicted on cameos, and unrealistic about prices.

    Think there's a second name with Miller's on the third edition? Maybe that person will revise again? Or maybe not. Since you can now search on line for the results of past sales & auctions to get your own feel for prices, maybe not worth updating the price guide aspect & no need to redo the history, etc.
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  13. Kimbert

    Kimbert Well-Known Member

    I'm going to keep my eye out for a used copy of one of Tardy's books on hallmarks! Antique jewelry from Yemen is something I've never read about at all, but you've piqued my interest! Will add it to the list after I've got through a couple more general books! Thanks again for the recommendations!

    @Figtree3 What a fantastic list, thank you so much for taking the time to do that! I found a few from your list in used condition on amazon for around $10 so I went ahead an ordered (was worried acquiring some books would be very expensive, so that's awesome!) I've ordered the Becker and the two Bell books! They sound like good starting points. Everything on your list looks interesting- I'll certainly be referring back to it!

    Cool idea, I wouldn't have thought of that! I've never been to London (I'm overseas) but I'll put that on my future tourist bucket-list!

    Thanks for the suggestion! These look like they have great reviews from other readers, I'll put it on my list to get to!
  14. Marie Forjan

    Marie Forjan Well-Known Member

    They are fabulous. There are patents, what to look for in stones, how stones are set and the 303 shows how different companies finished the backs of their pieces. All are really wonderful references!
  15. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    Sounds great! I think I'll find and order them, too.
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  16. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    I agree the Miller book was not very helpful about the subjects depicted on cameos. About the prices, I was informed once that most books are useless for prices and I do remember the ones in the Miller book not seeming right.

    You know, I also thought the third edition might have had a co-author, but there isn't one listed. Maybe there was a fourth edition after all, finished after she died? I'll check.

    Back quickly. Yes, 4th edition publ. 2008 and co-author listed was Diana Jarrett.
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  17. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    I wasn't home when I wrote & thought I have editions 2 & 3, but it's 3 & 4. One thing the Miller book does take up that you won't see covered much elsewhere is contemporary Italian cameo makers.

    Another book that is often cited is Michele Rowan's Nineteenth Century Cameos. It's well researched with great photos. But it is no longer in print & has become pricey, if you can find it.

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  18. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Yes, always used, they are much too expensive otherwise.
    I don't know if they have the gold and platinum etc ones in English, the originals are in French. The silver one is translated in English, for many people that is the most important one anyway.
    I will buy any precious metal, if the price is right, so I 'need' the other ones as well.:)

    Another more general one:
    Roseann Ettinger: Popular Jewelry 1840-1940.
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  19. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    Because I just ran into an eBay listing for a copy, I pulled out my copy of Cameos: Classical to Costume, by Monica Lynn Clements & Patricia Rosser Clements, to give it a mini-review. My copy is the 1998 edition; eBayer is selling the 2nd edition from 2008. Unless they have used that great resource that was not available when they first compiled the book, the Internet, & thoroughly revised it, I can't recommend it.

    The main organizing principle is type of material. The cameos shown under Lava did all seem, in a quick leafing through, to be lava. The Shell section shows few conch shell cameos among all the helmet shell pieces, no cowrie shell cameos & just calls them all simply 'shell'. I saw only a single coral cameo. About 2/3 of the cameos shown as hardstone are black & white versions of common glass ones and are in fact shown again in the section on glass. The cherry on top is the one that gets a page of its own & is described as a wax cameo portrait 'depicting Classical woman's portrait', ca. 1750. It notes the piece is 'museum quality'. It is like these 4, except mounted as a wall decoration, white figure on brown ground.

    Black Sad Woman 1.jpg
    Black Sad Woman 2.jpg

    Sad Woman ivory color.jpg

    Sad Woman white on pink.jpg

    The book's strong suit is glass & plastic cameos. Lots of photos showing same designs in various colors. If you can find it in a bookstore, I can recommend spending some time looking through those sections to acquaint yourself with cameos commonly seen in costume pieces. Just don't spend money on it.
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  20. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    Good review, Bronwen. I have the Clements book, and haven't used it much.
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