Mid June Book Review by Adrienne Shivers
Title: Collecting Victorian Jewelry
Author: C. Jeanenne Bell
General description: Book focuses specifically on jewelry produced from 1819-1901 and covers the fashions, the styles, the materials and the social dictates that influenced jewelry of the Victorian period
This review will cover several categories and will include a rating for that category 1-10, 1 being 'forget it, 10 being 'must have'. There will also be a short comment about each category and then a general review at the end.
QUANTITY of PICTURES:
Comments: While there are not as many picture of jewelry as in some of her other books, there's a load of pictures from old publications showing the dress of the times along with the jewelry. Because of that combination, I rate quantity high!
QUALITY of PICTURES:
Excellent, including the reproductions of the old periodicals.
QUANTITY of INFORMATION
Comments: Incredible!!! This book covers not only what the jewelry was made of, but also covers historical information which was so important in Victorian fashion. The Victorians were so influenced by social status, historical events, superstitions and this is the only book so far to include that information as it relates to fashion and the jewelry.
QUALITY of INFORMATION
Comments: Incredibly thorough research and info including timelines, quotes from newspapers and periodicals, discussions of different types of jewelry and their significance in Victorian society. Social status was so crucial to fashion and the information explaining how and why certain pieces were worn is fascinating. I did find one glaring mistake, but I don't blame Ms Bell, the editor should have caught it. Check out page 7, the beginning of the first chapter on 1806-1839 jewelry...the subtitle says "The Beginnings 1819-1930's". OOOOPS. That should be 1819-1830's. I did not downgrade for this error, it is clearly a typo, but shame on the editor.
Comments: The nice thing about Bell's books is she distinguishes between collector, dealer and auction values. Very helpful to know where the values came from. If they seem high it's because most of the pieces shown are rare and most of us would not own many of these pieces. There are a lot of fine jewelry pieces shown, as you'd expect with Victorian pieces, and values reflect precious metals and gemstone market values as well. I have no problem with the high prices, these are some truly unique, rare and valuable examples. For the most part, the jewelry pictured is not found every day of the week.
Comments: Very easy to follow, very easy to read, very well organized, thought out and researched.
Total average rating: 9.58
Can you tell I LOVE this book? The only reason for the slight downgrade from a perfect 10 is I wish there were even more jewelry represented. This book has it all and a MUST have for everyone collecting and dealing in jewelry. Not just for those interested in Victorian, this book is also for those with a passion for jewelry fashion, it's influences on society and how it was influenced by society. I hope Ms. Bell does the same type of book for the 1900-1950's, with the same depth of info and discussion of why what was popular when. Run, don't walk, to your nearest B&N or Amazon and GET THIS BOOK! It's the best $25 you'll spend this month!!!!
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