When buying books, I look for items that I think would be of interest to collectors. Of course, they must pass muster – scarcity, condition, and importance. It can be in any genre, although I tend to stay away from recent literature, children’s books, cookbooks, and biographies. I may have to reconsider the last category as I am often asked about these. I bought two biographies a couple of months ago, MacKenzie King and C. D. Howe and they have both been sold.
In this fashion, books for inventory are accumulated, and then I realize that we have a number of books on the same subject. A while back I did a musing about salmon books, since there is a pile of them right in front of me. Now I find that we have a number of jewellery books! I will share with you photos and descriptions that I have used when posting the books up on the internet, for five of these books. And we have more than five.
From the blurb – this book accompanies the most ambitious exhibition ever mounted on the
jewelers of the Russian Imperial Court. With over 1,000 treasures by Fabergé and other world-
famous jewelers and goldsmiths, Fabergé brings together famous works of art from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and the Kremlin Museum in Moscow, as well as the Forbes Magazine Collection. New York and numerous private American and European collections, most of which have never been exhibited in the United States. Exquisite objects including cigarette-cases, miniature animals, snuff boxes and, of course, the Imperial eggs – fashioned with technical excellence from gold, silver, precious stones and enamels – are all illustrated in full color.
From Nadja Swarovski’s Preface – Welcome to this magnificent celebration in words and images of 120 years of Swarovski. My great-great-grandfather Daniel Swarovski founded his crystal company in the Tyrolean Alps in Austria 120 years ago with an extraordinary vision – to bring light and glamour to the world with his precision-cut crystals. Queen Victoria counted as one of our first customers, but when Daniel was asked his goal in life, he replied – Diamonds are for royalty, I want to create a diamond for every woman. Today Swarovski crystals have become the vital element of fashion jewelry. Fashion designers using Swarovski’s crystals include Chanel, Christian Dior and Alexander McQueen. Some of the performers pictured in this book include Lauren Hutton, Audrey Hepburn, Hedy Lamarr, Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson.
Everything about this book is first class, the paper, the inserted mini-booklets in each section, the heavy silver section dividers and the photographs are simply incredible. This is one of the most gorgeous books I have ever had the privilege of handling.
From the blurb – “In Famous Diamonds Ian Balfour, who has worked in the diamond industry for many years, tells the stories of one hundred of the world’s most celebrated jewels. The ‘Cullinan’, Queen Elizabeth’s ‘Williamson Pink’, the Taylor-Burton”. The author has carried out extensive research and he separates fact from fiction to reveal much new information about these celebrated gems. With nearly 200 photographs, many in full colour, this book is a fascinating and definitive book about the world’s most memorable jewels.”
From Dali’s Comments – “My jewels are a protest against emphasis upon the cost of materials of jewelry. My object is to show the jewel’s art in true perspective – where the design and craftmanship are to be valued above the material worth of the gems, as in Renaissance times. There is a tipped in black and white portrait of Dali and tipped in full page colour illustrations of 28 of his wonderous pieces. They are numbered in Roman Numerals I to XXVIII. Then there is a laid-in fold over portfolio in the back of the book with number XXIX – “The Angel Cross” that was completed in May 1960. A spectacular piece!
Before I provide a description of this book, I want to make a brief commentary. When I first picked it up, I realized that this volume was important and visually spectacular, and I bought it without question. When I got home, I researched the book, and it turns out the author is one of the foremost experts in jewellery today – she is in her nineties and still going strong. She has written many books on the subject and the production quality is always high and prices easily reach into the hundreds of dollars. But there were no copies of this book on the internet which I found shocking, since it was published not too long ago. So, with no pricing info to work from, I had to wing it. I priced it at US$300. The book was bought in June and sold in July. And a nice touch, it was being sent to Annapolis, Maryland where we last lived before returning to Nova Scotia.
Diana Scarisbrick; Scottish Jewellery: A Victorian Passion – from the Ghysels Collection; photography by Mauro Magliani; published by 5 Continents Editions via Cosimo del Fante, Milan, Italy, 2009.
From the blurb – Through the centuries, the distinctive character of Scottish jewellery has enchanted collectors from around the world. In the mid-19th century, demand for the Highland specialities was so high that the supply from local craftsmen had to be supplemented by versions made in England in the same materials and patterns. In this beautifully illustrated volume, leading jewellery historian Diana Scarisbrick presents treasures from the renowned Ghysels Collection. Examples include brooches, kilt pins, bracelets, earrings, tie pins, buttons, and belt buckles, many by famous designers. One hundred beautiful illustrations highlight the exquisite craftsmanship of traditional Scottish designs executed in local materials – agates, cairngorms, amethysts, garnets, freshwater pearls – set in silver or gold to harmonise with the bright colours of the clan tartans. The book also traces the history of jewellery in Scotland and explains the significance of the various motifs – Celtic, heraldic, sporting, religious, naturalistic, military, and sentimental. Diana Scarisbrick, MA, FSA (b. 1928, Echuca, Australia) studied at Oxford University (1947-1950). She enjoys using her training as a historian to explain the cultural, social and political significance of jewellery and engraved gems. Over a 50-year career, she has written over 20 books and catalogues, including Rings: Jewellery of Power, Love and Loyalty and Portrait Jewels: Opulence and Intimacy from the Medici to the Romanovs, as well as mounting exhibitions at home and abroad, and engagements with museums, auctioneers, collectors, and the Parisian jeweller, Chaumet.