AVAILABLE TODAY! Vintage Jewelry Design: Classics to Collect & Wear

by Robyn Hawk on April 5, 2011

Vintage Jewelry Design: 

Classics to Collect & Wear 

Caroline Cox (Author)
Gerda Flockinger (Foreword)

What a way to start the day...got a package of Lark Books in the mail - for review purposes - but you know me - you can count on an honest review, I am never short of opinions ;-p

First let me say that this volume takes everything you already expect from Lark Books and bumps it up 10 fold.

Gorgeous photos - check
Brilliant information - check
Strategically Assembled - check

...but this is where it gets great - all of this is in a hard cover, coffee table sized package for a paperbound price!!!  NO KIDDING!

OK - my thoughts on the book...

Vintage Jewelry Design: Classics to Collect & Wear is the brainchild of an amazing woman, Caroline Cox who is a professor of cultural history at the University of the Arts, London, a world renown speaker on the relationship between fashion, beauty and culture and the author of Lingerie: A Lexicon of Style (2000) and Hair and Fashion (2005), which had an accompanying catwalk show at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The author and her background are part of what keeps this book from being just a coffee table book - looking at the impact of current events on the Jewelry of the day.  I think we can all think of examples of this in our lifetime...the laid back hippie era that lead to a more straight laced preppy culture (or vice versa - depending on which end of the hippie movement you landed in).  

Cox talks about wildly erotic fashion and hairstyles of the Art Deco Age that followed the high necked collars of the Victorians - so I guess rebellion is nothing new! 

This book will find its way to your reference shelf - it talks in detail about each decade and trend. The smooth undulating lines and soft colors of the Art Nouveau Era; The fine detail and white on white (diamonds in platinum) trend of Edwardian jewels; The clean almost architectural lines and black & white of the Art Deco Era; To the fabulousness of the "fake" gems and almost gaudy costume jewels of the 40's...the difference is that this book talks about the jewelry in context with the fashion and politics of the times.

My favorite feature of this jewel filled tome is the Grid Pages. These double page spreads look at the "Key looks of the decade!", with glamour shots of stars, key fashion trends and jewelry - jewelry - jewelry!

One thing that is included in this book that is missing from most guides is that Cox tries to cover any prominent "Art" Jewelers of the era she is looking at - this is a nod that most artisans would love to see become the norm in Jewelry Design books.  Thanks to the amazing 500 and Masters series from Lark Crafts this era is WELL REPRESENTED!

If I were going to suggest anything that might make the book better?  is that more attention be paid to the more recent decades...there are so many trends and cultural changes that have affected the 90's and the 00's...oh and I didn't see enough about the Punk movement which was actually a more important era in London (where the author is from) than in the US.

Product Description from Amazon:

This gorgeous coffee-table book, with a foreword by influential jeweler Gerda Flöckinger, showcases classic vintage jewelry from the past 100 years. Featuring examples that epitomize the iconic styles of each decade, it offers an overview of the most influential designers (including Tiffany, Cartier, Fabergé, and Chanel), their sources of inspiration, and materials of choice. Photos display a selection of rare and remarkable pieces from museums and private owners, and a vintage shopping guide gives tips on spotting fakes, caring for purchases, and other important facts collectors should know.

All photographs reprinted with permission of Lark Crafts, Vintage Jewelry Design, by Caroline Cox, copyright 2011.

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