Wish-list worthy jewellery books of 2020

From healing crystals to Dior haute joaillerie and gems of the Swinging Sixties, we reveal an eclectic array of books for the jewellery-lover's library.

Shelves of Books

Books are the perfect Christmas gift and this year there is a tempting selection spanning a wide range of topics. Our selection of titles offers an immersion into the design powerhouse of the Swinging Sixties in the UK and USA; explores how to harness the power and beauty of crystals in your home and invites you to marvel at the fabulously bright, fantasy universe of Victoire de Castellane at Dior.


For jewellery historians and design pundits

'Simply brilliant, Artist-Jewelers of the 1960s and 1970s' is edited by Cynthea Amnéus with chapters by Adam MacPhàrlain, Ruth Peltason, Rosemary Ransome Wallis and Amanda Triossi. This catalogue accompanies the exhibition of the same name that will travel to Antwerp, Pforzheim and Cincinnati over the next two years. Like the exhibition, the book pays tribute to the rebellious era that rocked the 1960s and 1970s, challenging creativity and stamping its mark on every element of design from fashion to jewellery. The jewels displayed are from Kimberly Klosterman’s private collection, a savvy connoisseur of design who saw ‘big and beautiful’ in this genre at a time when others could only see ‘big and ugly’. The book kicks off this tribute to the artist-jewellers of the era with an essay on the International Exhibition of Modern Jewellery 1890-1961 organised by the Goldsmiths’ Company and the Victoria & Albert Museum. The exhibition and its reverberations are recognised as a seminal moment  in this jewellery revolution. The second chapter is dedicated to the transition of the new design wave from individual artist-jewellers to the big-name jewellery houses including Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari and Cartier. Further chapters delve into topics such as the parallels in fashion and jewellery and the changing perceptions to both.  An interview with Kimberly Klosterman adds insight into the singular mind of this collector. Each jewel from her collection is catalogued by designer with a brief overview of their careers. A final chapter offers an appendix of maker’s and designer’s marks. Simply Brilliant is simply essential for any jewellery lover and design buff.

Simply Brilliant Artist Jewelers of the 1960s and 1970
Simply Brilliant is a stunning inventory of the incredible creations from the most celebrated jewellery artists from the 60s and the 70s from the collection of Kimberly Klosterman.   

For every serious jewellery collector or fan of 1960s & 1970s British design

It seems like the 1960s and 1970s are having a revival as two other books explore this period and dedicate individual tomes to the works of Andrew Grima and Betty Cooke. ‘Andrew Grima, the Father of Modern Jewellery’ is a coffee table book written by William Grant that over 335 pages charts Grima’s career and achievements as well as the continuation of his business by his wife Jojo and daughter Francesca. Jewellery expert Geoffroy Munn writes in the foreword: ‘Each and every chapter in this beautifully illustrated book makes a special contribution to the history of jewellery but is also a microcosm of 20th-century design.’ Detailed and beautifully illustrated, the book covers his rise to fame and royal patronage as well as collaborations with international houses such as Dunhill, Omega and Pulsar. A must for all lovers of Grima jewellery and a fitting recognition of the legacy he left to jewellery design around the world.

Andrew Grima The Father of Modern Jewellery
This book celebrates the work of jeweller Andrew Grima and contains extensive archives of his sketches, designs and photographs of his life, many of which have never seen before.   

Spot on for design purists

'The Circle and the Line, the Jewelry of Betty Cooke' is the catalogue for the exhibition at The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore opening on 22 September 2021. Betty Cooke (b. 1924), a much-loved native of Baltimore, over seven decades has crafted jewels in her characteristic stark and modernist style and is considered one of leading designers of contemporary jewellery in the USA. The exhibition and catalogue feature jewels from both Cooke’s collection and private loans, all in her deceptively simple style.

Circle and the Line The Jewelry of Betty Cooke
Set to open in September 2021 at The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, this book is a preview of the the exhibition dedicated to artist-jeweller Betty Cooke, one of the most acclaimed names in American modernist jewellery.    

A must for the New Age crystal-junkie

Carol Woolton mines the mineral world in The New Stone Age, 'Ideas & Inspiration for Living with Crystals' to offer a guide on how to fill your home and life with healing rocks. Woolton observes that as life speeds up, we are ‘seeking the reassuring sense of permanence and natural beauty that a crystal with its deep connection to Mother Earth, can provide.’ The book acts as a manual to finding the right stone for you and offers enticing house-filling options in the chapters divided by colour and mineral.

The New Stone Age by Carol Woolton
In her book 'The New Stone Age',  British Vogue Jewellery Editor Carol Woolton explores the history of minerals, their healing powers and how they can can enhance wellbeing and fit in with today's fashion and home designs.   

For fans of Dior and contemporary jewellery with attitude

'The A to Z of Victoire de Castellane, Dior Joaillerie' is a hefty tome of over 400 pages that looks at the body of Victoire de Castellane’s work at the helm of  the jewellery department at Christian Dior over the past twenty years. Spanning de Castellane’s colourful career at Dior so far, it is a voyage through her ground-breaking designs from the neon-bright, writhing, flower explosion of the  Belladone Island collection shown at the Orangerie Museum in Paris in 2007 to her witty bejewelled skulls or the beautifully menacing Milly Carnivora blooms. Divided into two sections, the first is an alphabetical collection of her favourite words, concepts and ideas illustrated with her kooky pencil sketches, often featuring Mr Christian Dior himself. ‘C’ gives us carnivore, cocktail and crowns, a fitting welcome to the wonderful world of Victoire. The second half is dedicated to photographs of jewels which beam out from the glossy black pages and is almost as good seeing the real thing.

Dior Joaillerie The Dictionary of Victoire de Castellane
Dior Joaillerie: The Dictionary of Victoire de Castellane is a testimony to the creativity of Dior's creative director and her breathtaking designs since her debut with the French brand in 1998.

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