Sunday, February 28, 2016

Great Books about Great Jewelry

The history of jewelry is long and fascinating. This is why there are so many good books about jewelry and jewels. From the Hope Diamond to the Crown Jewels, there are so many stories about jewelry that readers will never run out of material to read. Here are some books that can whet the appetite about jewelry and the people involved in designing, creating, buying, and selling:

Precious Objects by Alicia Oltuski

This book is about a family that has been involved in the diamond trade for several generations. Oltuski’s family has been a mainstay in the New York Diamond District. Her family arrived in the US after World War II where they became involved in diamond transactions and quirky family stories. With her journalistic style, Oltuski presents a book that shares her life experiences as part of a family that handles some of the most precious cargo to reach the Big Apple. She also shares her experiences working for her father and grandfather, even carrying diamonds around the city as a young girl. The story is part memoir, part biography of diamonds. It is definitely a book worth the time of readers who love to learn about diamonds.

The Crown Jewels by Anna Keay

If you prefer to look at jewelry rather than read about it, this is the book for you. It is a beautiful coffee table book all about the Crown Jewels in England. This collection of jewelry is unrivaled and Keay presents it with knowledge and striking photographs. It is difficult to place a value on the Crown Jewels because of their quality and history and what they mean to the British Empire.

The book features everything from pieces from the days of Thomas a Beckett and Queen Elizabeth II. Of course, travelers and the English are able to see the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, but with a book like this, you do not even have to have a passport to see them up close.

Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry by Elizabeth Taylor

Taylor can be considered Hollywood royalty and no movie star has a collection jewelry quite like hers. The books includes photos of her jewelry along with her personal stories about each piece. She talks about how Richard Burton gave her the 33-carat diamond and how Mike Todd gave her the Belle Epoque diamond necklace. She categorizes the jewelry, but tells stories about them as if they are her children.

She shares stories about buying and selling pieces from famous jewelers like Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co, and Harry Winston. She shares stories about the pieces she bought and sold from royalty. She even shares a story about the time when Lucille Ball tried on the 69-carat diamond ring and could not get it off. This book is highly recommended for anyone who loves jewelry and the stories behind individual pieces.

Stoned by Aja Raden

This is a new publication about jewels and other precious objects. Raden digs deeply into the reasons why jewelry has become so precious to so many people. Raden is a scientist and a jeweler, who has a way with words, so she is able to bring her theories to life with the science behind the way gems are created and the way designers bring those gems to life in glorious pieces of jewelry. She is able to mix science and humor in a book that brings the idea of human desire to a place that few take time to explore. After reading this book, you will appreciate your collection of jewelry and you will want to add even more to it.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Shopping Tips for Estate Jewelry

Shopping for estate jewelry is like going on a treasure hunt. The pieces are unique and special, but not all of them are worth the prices they are getting. If you love estate jewelry, it is important to know what to look for so you can get what you paid for and wear it for a long time.

It is important to look for several qualities, the condition of the piece, the craftsmanship, the design and trademarks, and the size of the piece. Many shoppers will use a loupe when they go on the hunt for estate treasures so they can see if it the piece is worth purchasing. If you are unsure of how to use a loupe and what to look for in the jewels and metals, your favorite local jeweler can give you some tips.

Using a loupe when shopping for estate jewelry allows you to get an upclose look at damage. Some jewelry artisans are good at hiding solder marks, but most loupes will reveal them. When you use the loupe, remember that it is not a magnifying glass. Both eyes need to be open, but only one eye looks through the loupe. If you use it correctly, you can see fine details clearly.

When you are trying to determine if a piece of jewelry is truly authentic, there are a few things to do. The first thing is to look for a mark on the backside of the piece. Bring a list of marks with you so you can determine the authenticity. Because estate jewelry is so popular, people have realized there is a big market in knockoffs. Even reputable dealers can be taken advantage of with quality reproductions.

If you are looking at an expensive piece of estate jewelry, it can be helpful to get an appraisal, especially if you do not know the seller. When it comes to authentic, vintage pieces, knowledge is the best tool to help you get a good deal. It is a good idea to go with your gut feelings before you commit to spending large amount of dollars on a piece that seems fishy.

If you are going to build a collection of estate jewelry, it is a good idea to do some reading and investigation. Looking at museum pieces, reading books, and asking questions will help you build the knowledge you need to buy the perfect pieces for you. It will not take long before you learn what designers are your favorite and what marks to look for.

It is also important to decide what type of collection you want to build. Some people simply build collections of vintage pieces that they want to wear, without concern for posterity and investment. Others just want to build an investment in historical pieces of expensive jewelry. When you do decide to build a collection, know that a quality jewelry box from Chasing Treasure is the best way to store any type of vintage, historical, or estate jewelry.