May Book Review by Adrienne Shivers
Title: Vintage Jewelry A Price and Identification Guide 1920-1940's
Author: Leigh Leshner
General description: Book focuses on, in particular, clear rhinestone jewelry of the 1920-1940, mostly 1930's and 40's . There are some colored rhinestone and some enameled pieces, but the focus was meant to be clear rhinestones.
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: The book is almost entirely pictures and lots of them
QUALITY of PICTURES:
All the shots on are a black background with is great for the detail of the clear rhinestone pieces, but harder to see colors agains. All the shots are very clear and most are large showing good detals.
QUANTITY of INFORMATION
Comments: Hardly any historical or text. Pieces are not dated, and no info about makers or eras is given. Not a book with a lot of text, more of a pictorial reference
QUALITY of INFORMATION
Comments: The biggest problem I see with the info (aside for the lack of it) is that Leigh doesn't date the pieces. She simply describes them, the materials used, but no other info, unless there's a mark. I've found a few unsigned pieces that I've had signed, but that's not really an error so to speak, how would one know. The descriptions, as far as she goes, are quite accurate. There's one glaring error I'm aware of and it's on page 65, the trembler flower is listed as unsigned. It's in fact Staret, but the big problem is the one pictured is missing a flower.
Comments: Values are high. There's a reason for that, this author is an active dealer (not all are) in a major metropolitan area, which means she can command higher prices. ALSO, and more importantly, she has every single piece professional restored, including re-plating and re-stones. So, she charge top, top dollar for her stuff, to cover that additional expense. Her pieces are all in perfect condition, as if never worn, and look new. She is known for that and her clientele pays to have that 'like new' look. So, her pricing factors in the restoration cost and the condition. It's probably fairly accurate for her stuff, but way too high for the rest of us.
On the other hand, sometime high book values help propped up the market and in this case. I believe that her higher values have helps the clear rhinestone market (in stores, not on ebay), to some extent.
Comments: No particular order to things, just page after page of pictures. This is not really a research tool, IMO, as much as a pictorial guide of this type of jewelry. You don't really want to use this book to look stuff up, but instead to just browse.
Total average rating: 6.333
Though my rating is only just above average, I like the book, but then I like the subject matter and the author. I cant rate the info highly, because there isn't much, but if you take that part out, my rating goes to 7.25. I think if you accept it for what it is, and that's as a gallery, as opposed to a research tool, it has more value. There are plenty of other books with more text and info. This one has great pictures a a pretty wide range of a very specific type of jewelry; rhinestones from the 1930's & 1940. Leigh's goal was to focus, rather than to have a broader range. If you love early rhinestone it's really a great book, lots to see. I'd take the values with some salt, although Art Deco rhinestone values have been on the rise in the last several months. I would definitely have it in the library.
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