Book Review: Vintage Jewelry Design by Caroline Cox

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This season seemed like the perfect time to add a new monthly series where we review craft, cook (or whatever else moves us at the moment) books. In preparation for this new series I checked out a couple of vintage craft books from the library and also on a bit of a whim, ‘Vintage Jewelry Design‘ by Caroline Cox.

Halloween day may appear to be an odd pairing for a review of a Jewelry book, but I figured that many of you had recently hit up your local thrift stores looking for just the right accessories for your costumes and this type of shopping would be on people’s minds. This book is just the kind of reference guide that could be helpful in finding the pieces for the era you are going for.

Picture from page 67 with the caption,
“A carved red Bakelite dress clip of 1931 shows how
naturalistic forms were simplified in this era
to echo the fluid minimalism of the 1930’s fashion silhouette.”I have been pleasantly surprised by how interesting this book is (a girl and I even been became buds on the max over this book!).  First it has an amazing amount of well done photos of different jewelry from the 20th Century. Maybe that seems like an obvious statement, but this book really does balance information with photos well. The focus is on a wide variety of photographs and packs in as many types of pieces as possible. It is informative with plenty of knowledge, but still keeping the focus on all the pretty pictures of pieces from the last 100 years.

It is also an inspiration to anyone looking to make their own jewelry as is gives you a timeline and understanding of the history of jewelry over the last century.

The thing though that really surprised me about checking out this book was my realization about just how many vintage pieces I have (I understand mine are knock offs made during that time and not the mostly costly ones in the book). Still, I have a lot of brooches from my Grandmother and it was really cool to see multiple pieces in the book and realize I own a version of that too.

Here is a picture from the book with my own brooch from Linz next to it.
Not the same, but you can see the similar style.
The picture from page 91 is a 1940’s brooch

I also love how this book adds in artwork and pictures of the models wearing the pieces of the time. Giving even more context to the style being discussed.

I recommend checking out this book to anyone looking to gain a little bit more knowledge about all the vintage pieces they own and adore looking at. It is nice to look through the book, see what you like and understand your own style a little better. Cox also has a book called ‘Vintage Shoes‘ which I have not looked through, but imagine it would be a just as exciting for anyone interested in accessorizing their feet from the last century.  


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