Reading about jewelry is inspiring. The way brands and the market evolved over time, the role jewelry played in different cultures, and in the life of different people, are topics that do not cease to amaze me. Just by looking at the pictures – the stones, the surprise of a design – one can learn how technique and inspiration work together to produce such beauty.
So, here are my top 5 readings related to jewelry – the ones that stand out for surprising, involving, amusing and enlightning the reader . They may change over time, which is good news – more information, more inspiration!
This book tells you the story of eighteen famous women – artists, aristocrats, society personalities – and their jewelry collections. A good overview of the pieces they owned, the jewelers they bought from, the men who offered them and how the jewels changed over time.
Beware: these women’s passion for jewelry is totally contagious!
2. “Verdura, the life and work of a master jeweler”: how lifestyle fosters creativity… or was it the other way around?
Discover how one Sicilian “bimbo disoccupato” becomes a reference in 20th century jewelry design. Verdura’s personality grows from totally amusing (see page 17 for the above quote) to totally amazing. He deconstructed and demystified classic jewelry and paved the way for many of today’s great designers. The book reads like a novel.
3. “Boucheron, the secret archives”: voyeurism to the max!
What do you get when you put together social and political history of the 19th and 20th century and many thousand carats of diamonds and precious stones? And you look at all of it from the perspective of Place Vendôme? You get a very good story. The book is full of amazing jewels and the funniest anecdotes, including a “ghost” in the Boucheron store. Don’t worry, it is no longer there. I checked.
Note: I have the French version but now there is an English version that has a nicer layout. Too heavy for bedtime reading, though.
4. “Le Dictionnaire Égoïste de Lorenz Baümer”: a story well told.
When you have the right side of the brain as honed as the left side, someone like Lorenz Baümer happens!
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Baümer himself one year ago, at his Place Vendôme salon. I was prepared to fall in love with the adventurous creations I knew from pictures, even though the grandness of it all is better seen. What I was not prepared for was the intensity of his personality and the sharpness of his mind. Very special. If you are lucky enough to get this book, you will understand what I mean.
5. “Into temptation… jewellery musings”: not a book!
I don’t really remember how I came across this blog but I did. Having subscribed to it, now I can’t live without my daily fix of contemporary jewelry – fine, vintage, fashion, any kind – always expertly chosen and described in this delightful blog.
This are only the top 5… more could be added and probably will, in the near future.