Precious readings

Oct 26, 2020

This week, I propose to add five beautiful books to your libraries. I have indeed received several books that I find interesting enough to suggest to you to complete your jewellery book collections. Furthermore, I have updated the“ideal library” page, added titles, checked availability and edited the links to publishers or Amazon. Because we never have enough!

1- “Beyond Fabergé“by Marie Betteley & David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye (Schiffer Publishing, 🇬🇧) – $75 – IG Review

If you are interested in Russian jewellery, this is the book for you. Remarkably written and perfectly illustrated, it plunges you into Imperial Russia to discover the jewellers who honoured the sumptuous orders of the members of the imperial family. For if history has remembered the name of Carl Fabergé, he was not the only one to deliver jewels and objects to the tsars and tsarines who succeeded one another at the head of this great country that is Russia. Thus, throughout the pages, Marie and David introduce you to the houses of Bolin, Carl August Hahn, Köchli, Tillander and the Seftigen dynasty. Cascades of diamonds, elegantly enamelled snuff boxes, royal portraits, jewels symbolising both love and attachment, the royal family had perfect taste. There is never a false note in the choice of stones, nor in the shapes and volumes chosen. Everything is perfect, from the illustrations to the writing of the two authors. To be read and reread without moderation!

2- “Jewellery in context“by Marjan Unger (Arnoldsche Art Publishers, 🇬🇧) – 15 € – IG Review

This little book is a precious jewel. First of all, because it contains the remarkable thesis written by the jewellery historian and theorist Marjan Unger, who left us in 2018. Through her work, she attempts to define what jewellery is, why we love it, why we wear it but also why it can be hated. She questions this common object through several filters: work, society or important events of a life. Her analysis is fine, delicate and her argument is as fair as it is balanced. Marjan is a great collector of contemporary jewellery, but here she talks about all jewellery. The term precious is not linked to the monetary value of the objects but to what we put of ourselves in them. A book to read if you want to think about and question your own vision of these strange objects that can provoke strong and contradictory reactions.

3- “Precious stones“under the direction of François Farges (Flammarion,🇫🇷🇬🇧)– 39€

It is impossible to miss this exhibition initiated by Van Cleef & Arpels since everyone is talking about it. That said, it’s very crowded, the situation doesn’t necessarily lend itself to much movement, Paris without being able to go out in the evening, it’s still a bit sad. But it’s for a good cause. So, if you feel that you are not going to go to Paris for this event, don’t miss the book. Published by Flammarion, in collaboration with Van Cleef & Arpels, it allows you to discover the exhibition from the comfort of your favourite armchair. It’s not as good as going to the exhibition, but it’s better than nothing! And then, it is the opportunity to read the beautiful texts written, among others, by Aurélien Delaunay – Director of the LFG – & Eloïse Gaillou – Curator at the Mineralotech Museum – and which tell you about stones, geology, opals, diamonds, beryls…etc. The photos are magnificent, both those of the mineralogical specimens and those of the jewellery pieces. Until you decide to conquer the capital, the book is an almost indispensable first step!

4- “Jewelry“by Petra Hölsche (Arnoldsche Art Publishers, 🇬🇧🇩🇪) – 58 € – IG Review

This is an essential book for understanding contemporary jewellery. This book is in fact the catalogue raisonné of the Danner Rotunde, the jewellery room at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. Opened in 2004, this ambitious project brings together and exhibits two of the largest collections of contemporary jewellery. More than 1700 pieces are on display for the general public to see. A place as fabulous as it is necessary to visit if this subject questions and/or fascinates you. The book also contains more than 300 biographies to help you understand the personalities of the artists and their different careers. The illustrations are all superb and the pieces often striking. The book will not appeal to everyone, some pieces will leave you speechless while others will strike you with the accuracy of the message they convey. I simply loved this book, it is on my desk and I never tire of looking at it to integrate these bold and amazing jewels. It’s up to you now!

5- “Chanel, Fashion Manifesto“edited by Miren Arzalluz and Véronique Belloir (Paris Musées, 🇫🇷🇬🇧) – €45

To celebrate its reopening, the Palais Galliera is devoting the first retrospective to the House of Chanel, exclusive sponsor of the renovation of the galleries that host the current exhibition. Absolutely magnificent, it allows visitors to admire pieces that had never before left the reserves of the House of Chanel which, for the occasion, opened its vaults and brought out incredibly well preserved and restored dresses. The exhibition is a chronological journey from the very first creations of the woman soon to be known as Mademoiselle Chanel, and even includes a hat from her early days. The textile pieces are simply superb, and the cuts and colours bear witness to the concept so dear to the designer: a garment that sublimates but does not hinder. From dresses to suits to coats, everything celebrates the timelessness of the brand’s in-house workshops. But the basement holds a treasure trove: dozens of jewels – some of them very old – compete with rhinestones and gemstones. Long necklaces, pearls, brooches, pendants, all tell the story of the houses and designers who collaborated in the creation of the collections: Gripoix, Goosens or, of course, Fulco di Verdura whose Maltese cross cuffs are as iconic and representative of the house as the tweed suit. If you are not in Paris, or don’t have the courage to go there in view of the context, the book is an excellent compromise. The texts are interesting, the photos superb. I’ve already seen the exhibition once, so I may well go back!

See you soon!


marie chabrol

Hello my name Is Marie. Speaker, consultant & teacher, I write with passion about the world of jewelry.

my ideal library

This is my ideal library. All these books are part of my own library and I always read them with great pleasure.