“Worthwhile, both for the sumptuous jewelry and for the stunning lifestyle photographs.”Society of Jewelry Historians
For many centuries, collecting precious jewels was the province of kings and queens, emperors, and maharajas. But in the aftermath of the First World War, royal gems passed into the hands of a different kind of elite that included celebrities and a coterie that reveled in a nouveau riche whirl. Changes in fashion and the rise of Art Deco style led them to reset pieces or commission exquisite contemporary designs.
Authors Stefano Papi and Alexandra Rhodes explore this dazzling era via profiles of eleven glamorous women who built up astonishing jewelry collections in the mid-twentieth century. This revised and updated edition includes two new chapters that explore the lives and jewels of Ganna Walska and Hélene Rochas.
The authors reveal the remarkable stories behind the jewels and their collectors. Not only do they bring to life the worlds in which these women moved, but they also describe the gems in detail and chronicle the work of the leading jewelers of the day, including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Harry Winston. The book is illustrated with gorgeous close-up photography of the jewels as well as drawings of the original designs, and includes portraits of the collectors by Beaton, Horst, and other leading photographers of the time.
Another book I use for jewelry research is 20th Century Jewelry & the Icons of Style by Stefano Papi and Alexandra Rhodes. This book does not solely focus on royals but that’s okay because royal jewelry tends to end up being sold, which results in women of all social strata purchasing and wearing it. This is why today’s book recommendation is another excellent one!
Each chapter in the book focuses on one particular woman, her jewelry and the history of her jewelry.
The women covered are:
- Marjorie Merriweather Post
- Lydia, Lady Deterding
- The Duchess of Windsor
- Daisy Fellowes
- Countess Mona Bismarck
- Barbara Hutton
- Merle Oberon
- The Maharani Sita Devi of Baroda
- Maria Callas
- HH The Begum Aga Khan III
- Nina Dyer
As with the other books I featured this week, 20th Century Jewelry has scrumptious photographs, biographies, historic details galore and in-depth jewelry history to please any jewelry lover.