End of September Book Review by
Title: American Jewelry Manufacturers
Author: Dorothy Rainwater
General description: Book is a catalog of jewelry manufacturer marks, trademarks and labels spanning about a century, as well as brief history of the maker.
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: No pictures of jewelry. Lots of drawings and reproductions of makers marks
QUALITY of PICTURES:
Comments: Since most of the examples are not the original marks themselves, this doesn't apply.
QUANTITY of INFORMATION
Comments: Huge amount of info compiled if you need to look up a maker. It's the only book available to look up this info, except Dolan, and this covers much, much more
QUALITY of INFORMATION
Comments: Never known there to be a mistake, you will occasional not be able to find something
Comments: No values!
Comments: Can be hard to find a mark is it doesn't relate to the name of a company. The book is organized alphabetically by company. So, for example, if the Robert Crown Company used a 'RCCo' mark, you would undoubtedly look under 'R' but would find it under 'C' for Crown. There is a section in the back that list all the trade names alphabetically, that can be very helpful as a cross reference.
Total average rating (excluding n/a): 8.25
This is strictly a research book. You can research marks and historical info on companies. You can not learn about a company's design style or use it for determining value. It's also not for pinpointing age, unless a company was around for only a short period of time. You'll get a large date range the company was in business, but that doesn't help pinpoint the date of a specific piece of jewelry. That being said, it's invaluable. I went for years without this book, don't know why. I was forever asking friends to look stuff up for me. For the more well known names, I actually think RCJ is a better resource. But, for the stuff you come across that you've never heard of, this is the book you'll need. I, for example, bought what I thought was an Art Deco glass necklace, tagged Wenzel, which I had never heard of. Research in Rainwaters (as it's more commonly known) told me Wenzel was a California company specializing in CA mined quartz jewelry, early part of last century. I would have never thought my necklace was quartz. But it is.
If you're dealing in vintage jewelry, this is one of the few 'must haves'.
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