You have a thirst for knowledge and want to know more about the vintage jewelry in your collection. But which book to buy if you live in the UK?
There are hundreds of reference books to choose from and most have been written in the US by authors who have a collection in the US How specific is that to us in the UK?
So here is a short guide to 12 books to give a good overview of knowledge from the Victorian era to the 1980s and beyond. There are actually more than 12 books here, because some authors have written more than one useful book.
This guide should cover general unsigned pieces and some signed jewelry pieces. However, no specific books have ever been written for the majority of signed costume jewelery mass-produced by UK companies or for the UK market, apart from Wilson and Butler.
1. Costume Jewelry: A Collector’s Guide by Caroline Behr (Miller’s) (ISBN 1-84000-373-1)
A good place to start with an overview and timeline of Victorian, Art Deco, Arts and Crafts, 1950s, Czech, Austrian, and some designers. Easy to read and has good photos. Handbag size and ideal for reading on the train
2. Vintage Costume Jewelry: Carol Tanenbaum’s Passion for Fabulous Fakes (ISBN 1-85149-511-8)
A must buy and has the timeline with expanded information. Includes Art Nouveau, Birmingham silver, machine, introduction to Bakelite and plastic, and a glossary. Lots of good photos, but none of the backs (a must for identification, but rarely included in any book)
3. Secrets to collecting jewelry: How to BUY MORE for less! by Leigh Leshner (ISBN 0-89689-180-1)
Once again a timeline and overview through history, but a real gem of a book because it shows the reverses and mechanism or finds that are essential to dating jewelry. This book discusses style and materials with specific photographs. Party jewelry, plastic arts, retro, manufacturing methods, Scandinavian, cameos. Mostly brief information but a very good visual guide. US dollar price guide book (2005). Another fabulous book to read on the bus or train since it fits in your bag.
4. Clare Phillips Jewelry and Jewelery (V&A) (ISBN 978-1-85177-535-4) or Jewellery: Decorative Arts Library edited by Janet Swarbrick (ISBN 1-902328-13-2)
I couldn’t decide which of these UK books was the most informative. So I’ve included both
Jewels and Jewelery contains materials, a chronology of styles, and manufacture and distribution. Photographs of museums and pieces. Includes silver filigree, Berlin iron, pearls, glass and enamel. Jewelry of faith, cut steel, jewelry of mourning and love, not just jet or bog oak. Lalique, Ashbee, Liberty Cymric, Wilson, Gaskins, and a pre-Victorian timeline to the 2000s.
The jewelry is a visual celebration of the world’s great jewelry making techniques. From the ancient world to 1989. Packed with information and photographs with more specific references to jewelery in the UK.
5. Popular Jewelry of the 60s, 70s and 80s by Roseann Ettinger (ISBN 0-7643-2470-5)
Three decades of jewelry showcasing political and fashion trends that influenced the designs. US Dollar Price Guide Book (2006) Most of the ancient jewelry found is from this period, making this book invaluable to read. Well illustrated with pieces that are recognizable here in the UK. Including Mod jewelry, oriental influence, Pop Art, novelties, revival pieces, love beads, Art Metal, jade, plastic, wood and pavé. The author has produced other reference books on other decades that are well worth investing in.
6. Collection of Plastic Art Jewels by Leigh Leshner (ISBN 0-87349-954-9)
It is rare to find Bakelite in jewelry in such quantities and varieties as in the United States. It is useful to recognize and see the variety of plastic designs that have been used or with other materials. Celluloid, Lucite, Thermoset, Thermoplastic, Laminate, Reverse Facet are most commonly found here in the UK and easily overlooked. This book makes you see plastic accessories in a whole new light. It does not contain enough information about galalith, the first type of plastic that is most common in the UK. For this, read books about Jakob Bengel.
7. Collecting Jewelry 303: The Other Side Exploring Jewelry From Behind by Julia C Carroll. (ISBN 978-1-57432-626-0)
This is the book that gets to the basics that knowledge of vintage jewelry must have. The different components, including stones and cabochons, which can be invaluable in dating, and hardware clues that can be lost. Cameos, rhinestones, signed jewelry and signature photographs, art crystals, pins and much more. I look at this book and always find something I hadn’t noticed before. One of my most valuable books in terms of knowledge. It also has a section of designers including Jonette Jewelry Co (JJ) that are not always found in other books. American book with dollar price guides (2010)
Julia Carroll has produced other books, including Costume Jewelry 101 and 202, in this series. Both books are worth having for reference as well.
8. Baubles, Buttons, and Beads: The Bohemian Heritage by Sibelle Jargstorf (ISBN 0-88740-467-7)
This is another gem of a book; as we had a great deal of antique jewelry imported into this country from Bohemia to World War II and then in smaller quantities. Still available to find and collect, but prices are going up. Sections on buttons, filigree, glass beads, plastic and glass cameos, the 1930s, enamel, and most importantly, history. After reading this book, it has helped me date and identify brightly colored cameos, filigree brooches, and rhinestone jewelry from the 1920s and 1930s. Hand-finished and machine-made dress clips and the different finishes used.
Sibylle Jargstorf has produced other books on beads and glass that are invaluable.
9. Cameos: A Pocket Guide by Monica Lynn Clements and Patricia Rosser Clements (ISBN 0-7643-1728-8)
Although there are many books on cameos, this small package guide is full of cameos in materials other than shell. Shell is the most widely collected type of cameo jewelry, but to me it had no appeal. He wanted to know more about the glass, plastic, metal, and gemstone cameos he was finding. How to identify the materials used and when they were made. This book has a large number of photographs covering a large number of cameos in these materials, and more importantly, they are recognizable to the UK market. US Book with Dollar Price Guide (2003) For more detailed information on cameo jewelry, obtain any of the editions of Cameos: Old and New by Anna M Miller.
10. Margaret Flowers Victorian Jewelery (no ISBN)
It is not a book about vintage but antique jewelry which is now out of print but still available in various editions. First published in 1951, but it’s well worth a read. Knowledge of Victorian influences and seen in revival pieces. Birmingham’s role in mass-produced jewellery. This book is often placed in later books as influential. It has the Victorian era in 3 parts and each section has the most used motifs from that era. Sometimes the author’s snobbish attitude made me laugh, but it’s worth reading. Few photographs and most in black and white that are not so clear.
11. Scottish Jewelry: A Victorian Passion by Diana Scarisbrick
Scottish jewelery is found in abundance in the UK. From the mid-19th century, with the rise in popularity, there were factories in Scotland and England turning out designs and pieces by the thousands. This continued until the end of the 20th century, mainly in Birmingham. This book is a good introduction. Not as in depth as it could have been and don’t expect information on vintage Scottish souvenir jewelry from Miracle, The Ward Brothers, Exquisite or Hollywood. Pages of photographs of agate and silver brooches and bracelets. But complicated by the photo guide at the end of the book. A good starter book to recognize Scottish motifs.
12. Warman’s Jewelry: Fine & Costume Jewelry 4th Edition by Kathy Flood (ISBN 1-4402-0801-8)
This is the fourth edition of Warman’s Jewelry Identification and Pricing Guide. So another 3 books to get and read. Two centuries of pearls, figuratives, cameos, art nouveau, art deco and plastic are covered in this edition. The difference between Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian jewelry. Again page after page of jewelry photographs. Good mix of vintage, antique and modern jewelry. A mix of hat designs from around the world that I found applicable to the UK. US Dollar Price Guide Book (2010)
This is just a brief reference of general vintage jewelry books that will change as more books come out or you discover out of print books. Then there are more specific books on Bengal, Avon, Sarah Coventry, Egyptian Revival jewels, Haskell, D & E, Wilson & Butler and many more to read.
Even with this amount of information, I still feel like I just skimmed the surface. As stated above, there is a lack of information on jewelry from Ciro Pearls, Sphinx, Exquisite, Miracle, Hollywood, Thomas Le Mott, and many other companies that mass-produced jewelry in this country in the 20th century, which are now highly collectible throughout the world. world.
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