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BY MANON KAVESKY
Title: Traditional Jewelry of India
Author: Oppi Untracht
Type of Book: Hard cover and paperback edition
Average Price: starts at $21.99 used in hard cover, new paper at $33.00
In Print: yes
Brief Description of Book: An encyclopedic study of East Indian jewelry. A labor of love by the author who had been collecting since the 1950’s. This is a huge book full of color and black and white photos, which you can look at it over and over again. I have had this book since the summer and everyone who comes to my house seems to take a long look through it. Even friends who do not “get” jewelry seem to get lost in the pages for a while.
Traditional Jewelry of India features more than 800 photos of jewelry and people wearing jewelry as well as animals and statues. The photos of people wearing some of the pieces are helpful because you can’t figure out how some pieces should actually be worn. For example giant nose rings, so big that a chain is needed to suspend the ring from a headscarf. Or a special type of pendant that is similar to a very small loincloth.
Every part of the body has a specific ornament This book is structured around the types of ornament such as rings, bracelets, hair ornaments, necklaces, toe rings and ornament for animals (elephants, oxen, horses) Jewelry is made of gold, silver, base metals and natural materials such feathers, natural fibers. Indian jewelry incorporates natural stones precious and semi-precious, simulated lab created stones. There are examples of jewelry from maharajas and tribal people (even a few groups of cannibals). Jewelry is worn for weddings, festivals and every day activities. There is also a section of jewelry that was created by western jewelers such as Cartier and Van Cleef and Arpels in the “Indian taste” for the western market. Indian maharajas also brought fabulous jewels to western jewelers and had them updated into contemporary styles.
Reading this book is like a trip to the Field Museum in Chicago.
Quantity of Illustrations: 870 photos and 220 in color
Quality of visual material: Wonderful photos.
Color Photos: 10
Quantity of Information: As much one could possibly need
Is the information thorough? I think so
Is the book easy to read and follow? I would be lying if I said I actually read the entire 432-page book but I did read sections. I was trying to research a pair of ankle bracelets that I recently acquired. And I think I was able to figure out which area in India they were made. It was really interesting, not too difficult to read but lots of information.
Is there a table of contents? Yes
Is information easy to find? Arranged by type of ornament
Average score 10 perfect!
Is this book a must have? For me yes, for others maybe not such a strong recommendation. However, I do see a lot rfi’s where sellers, buyers and collectors are trying to deduce the origin of unusual pieces. A billion people live in India and they have been making jewelry for at least 5000 years so there is a lot to see and learn about.
"Manon you do a Wonderful Job and this is Yet Another great Example of that fact. I will Honestly be adding this to my Birthday Book List. Thank you ever so much for bringing this one to my attention. Keep up the great work. Hugs Roger & Ms Molly" --Roger Yorkyman, 02/07/11
"A perfect 10! It sounds like a fabulous book. Thanks for the review. It will go on my 'really want to get' book list." --Linda Vogue, 02/07/11
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