Sharing my inspirational treasures from the other day got me to thinking …

I’ve got a pretty extensive library here and some of the books are kind of obscure and I bet there’s people out there that might enjoy a peek at some of my favorites.  So before I dive into shopping cart oblivion for who knows how long, I’m taking a web-designer break and hauling out some treasured tomes to share.

Here goes …

I’m always looking for jewelry design sourcebooks.  For contemporary work, I love the books by Elizabeth Olver.

Jewelry Design the Artisans Reference Elizabeth Olver

Jewelry Design, The Artisan’s Reference is a sweet little utilitarian book.  Not too many bells and whistles, but a great visual reference – just like the title says.

The Art of Jewelry Design Elizabeth Olver

Another book of hers is The Art of Jewelry Design from idea to reality.  This one covers some turf.  It looks at all kinds of sources of inspiration, includes terrific sketches and renderings and is chock full of really unusual jewelry.  I really love it.

Design Sourcebook Jewellery


Design Sourcebook Jewellery falls into the sort of obscure category.  A British publication with a fair amount of avant garde/conceptual work, but great for stretching your ideas of what jewelry can be.

Jewelry Design Sourcebook Diana Scarisbrick

Jewelry Design Source Book, Diana Scarisbrick covers ancient to contemporary jewelry.  Not a vast reference by any means, but nice images in a concise format.

The Elements of Design Loan Oei

The Elements of Design by Loan Oei and Cecile De Keget, remains an all time favorite.  Not a jewelry book at all, but it’s a heavenly volume of visual inspiration and new ways of seeing.  Gorgeous photos and lots of repetition of form, shapes and texture.  Never fails to inspire or adjust my perspective.

I really prefer to look to the ancient world and antiquities for literal inspiration.  When I’m looking at classical form and design, it always seems like a good idea to look back, way back.  Here’s three good ones – big volumes that weigh an absolute ton:

jewelry through the ages guido gregorietti

Jewelry Through the Ages by Guido Gregorietti.  A ‘tome’ in the true sense of the word, a heavyweight full of great images.

the art of jewelry

the art of jewelry

The Art of Jewelry by Graham Hughes is an interesting mix of ancient and modern; lots of great  images juxtaposed so you get a real feel for where we’ve been and how far we’ve come.

Handbook of Fine Jewelry

Handbook of Fine Jewelry is, in many ways, quite similar to The Art of Jewelry, but is more of an encyclopedia format.  It’s bursting with terrific images – great for when I’m looking for classical styles to interpret in new and different ways.

For fun and big time eye candy, these next two are enormously satisfying:

The Couture Accessory, Caroline Rennolds MilbankThe Couture Accessory, by Caroline Milbank is just plain fun.  Wild and crazy and all over the planet, couture usually translates to outrageous, but there’s some fairly normal work as well.

Alchemy, a passion for jewels

Alchemy, a Passion for Jewels, by Temple St Clair, is a more recent acquisition.  One of those designers that seems to live a charmed life.  Exquisite work, locales and photography.

These books represent years of collecting, I was kind of obsessed while living in Port Townsend.  I didn’t have any university libraries to peruse, so I started perusing Amazon – very dangerous.  Even better was our local used book store, William James.  Man oh man, they’d get in some extraordinary finds.  Looking at some of them on Amazon as I’ve been putting together this post, well, turns out some of them have been good investments.

So, I’ll leave you with one more.  This is the one that got me started thinking about jewelry in a new and different way.  I started to see what jewelry could be, not what it was supposed to be.  I realized that my design limitations and parameters were entirely self-imposed.  My jewelry does tend towards a classical influence, but that’s a conscious choice, not a boundary.

the art and craft of jewelry

the art and craft of jewelry

The Art and Craft of Jewelry, by Janet Fitch.  I first bought a paperback edition of this back in the mid 90’s.  Then last year I found a 1st edition hardback at William James – snagged!  All these years later, this is still one of my favorite books.  The photos are truly great, the jewelry is fun and fabulous and just plain awesome and it’s just a overall great book.

Well, that’s it for now.  I hope there’s some inspiration and surprises in here.  It’s good fun to share my little treasure trove.

blessings – kvk

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