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August Book Review by Manon Kavesky

Title: Brooches: Timeless Adornment
Author: Lori Ettinger Gross
Type of Book: Hard Cover
Retail Price: $45.00
Pages: 192
Rizzoli 2008

Brief Description:
Brooches: Timeless Adornment is a shiny new picture book that focusís on vintage, antique and contemporary brooches. Most of the pieces are fine jewelry but there are a few costume pieces. Many of the fine jewelry designs will be quite familiar to costume jewelry collectors since there has historically been so much overlap between the fine jewelry world and costume. For example there are fruit salad pieces, blinding deco clips, fabulous florals and charming figurals. There are examples from Van Cleef and Arpels, David Webb, Seaman Schepps, Suzanne Belperron, Schiaparelli, Alexis Bittar, and many unmarked treasures.  There are some silly parts in this book but the nice layouts and high quality pieces make up for it in my opinion.

Quantity of Illustrations: At least one piece per page and often times many more. According to the press materials there are 175 photos. All are in color.

Comments: The photos are artistic. Brooches: Timeless Adornment is a book to ooh-and-aah over not a catalog of hundreds and hundreds of pins. The brooches are not all shot the same way some are on white backgrounds and others on clothing, fabric, wallpaper, etc.
Score: 8

Quality of Illustrations: All color photos. All are very clear, clean, professional and very detailed. Again this is an artistic coffee table type book from a very fine publishing house.
Score: 8

Quantity of Information: Nice breezy easy to read chapters on History, Craft, Collecting, Style Pin-ology and Care. You may ask yourself what is pin-ology? It seemed to be a chapter on the themes generally seen in pins, figural, floral, whimsical etc. I did learn things reading this book and you might too. For example, I know about the Victorian language of flowers and pieces with multicolored stones that spell out acronyms but did you know, there is also a secret language of Georgian Sevirgne or Ribbon Bow Brooches? Described as a flirtatious ornament, the placement of a bow brooch indicated if you had found true love, or were actively looking and all points in between.
There is also a nice little section on Milicent Rogers a collector/designer/rich lady who lived in Taos, NM post WWII. As a sidebar, for those traveling in the southwest the Millicent Rogers museum is a great small local museum. She was a huge collector of Native American jewelry and her collection is prominently displayed in her namesake museum.
Is the information thorough? Yes
Score: 7

Quality of Information: Good interesting details, nothing groundbreaking but an interesting read for jewelry fans.
Comments: This book treats each piece as an individual little piece of art. Each photo is captioned with details about the maker, materials, date of production etc.
Score: 7

Values Listed (Prices) No

User Friendly: Yes
Is information easy to find? Table of contents no index.
Most of the information is visual so yes it is easy to find
Score:  

Average score: 7

Is this book a must have? Yes for devoted jewelry fans. Again those who are only interested in costume jewelry there is very little included and I believe you will be disappointed.

Overall comments: I really liked this it was beautiful to look at and I think I will use it to track down the origins of costume pieces. And a shout out to Julie Levine from Joolbait Jewels who has a piece included.
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