2,100 Artist Biographies

by Gregory Schaaf, assisted by Yan Schaaf

Review by Marbeth Schon

This wonderful book, like it's counterpart (see below) is a compendium of American Indian jewelry artists, mostly contemporary, but many who are no longer working or are deceased.

There are biographies of two thousand one hundred individual Native American jewelers including photographs of their work, some of the artists, themselves, and their maker's marks. 

An easy-to-use easy reference to maker's marks is included at the end. Together with the first volume, American Indian Jewelry II: A-L, this is the most comprehensive book to date about Native American jewelers and their work.  It is MUST for anyone who collects and/or deals in American Indian jewelry.

CIAC Press, Santa Fe, New Mexico
415 pages, more than 2000 photographs, hardcover.

Available at

Masters of Contemporary Indian Jewelry

by Nancy N. Schiffer

Review by Marbeth Schon

Masters of Contemporary Jewelry is a beautiful, photographic compilation of pieces by sixty artist-jewelers of Native American heritage together with biographical information and artist statements from each. The jewelers in this book are from diverse locations and backgrounds but have commonality in their merging of established Native American styles, techniques, designs, and materials with those of other cultures. 

Each jeweler has interpreted his/her Native American tradition and background in unique ways that are both modern and traditional.  The beauty and range of the jewelry shown in this book is extraordinary.

Schiffer Publishing
256 pages, 550 photographs, hardcover with dust jacket.
$50.00  (item B025) 
click here to order this book

by David Stanley Epstein

Review by Marbeth Schon

Here is the "inside story" of how to be a successful gem merchant.  David Stanley Epstien has traveled the world trading gems and has lived in "the heart of the most intensive gem mining region of Brazil since 1983.  The book is interesting reading besides being one of the best "how to" books on buying and selling gems.  He shows both the novice and experienced gem buyer how to avoid the many pitfalls of dealing in gemstones. 

This book is a "must" for gem merchants, gemologists, appraisers, and any jeweler who deals in colored stones.

paper back, 192 pages

Order from

Margot Van Voorhies
The Art of Mexican Enamelwork

by Penny C. Morrill

Review by Marbeth Schon

For those of us who have collected and sold the jewelry marked "Margot de Taxco," Margot Van Voorhies, The Art of Mexican Enamelwork is a long-awaited treasure.  Written by Penny Morrill in her typically thorough fashion, the book takes the reader on a journey through the life of Margot Van Voorhiesthe traumas of her childhood, her adventures as a young woman, and her final refuge in Mexico, where, through her relationship with Antonio Castillo, and her own inimitable will and talent, she developed her own workshop , Margot de Taxco, where her unique designs in silver and enamels were created.

This is the most complete study of the life and work of Margot Van Voorhies; there are photographs, not previously published, of Margot, herself, and hundreds of photographs of her exquisite jewelry in enamels and silver.

As an added bonus, the chapter, "Contemporary Enamelists in Mexico" contains information about and photographs of the works of contemporary Mexican enamelists, Adrian Brun, Maggie Howe, Miguel Pineda, :Priscila Canles, and Siguifrido Pineda.

There is also an appendix showing Margot's original drawings for her jewelry designs.

Schiffer Publishing
192 pages, 485 photographs, hardcover with dust jacket.
$49.95  (item B010) 
click here to order this book

Love and Victory

by Bambi Deville Engeran

Review by Marbeth Schon

The Bakelite jewelry that was created during World War II has a sentimentality that is uniquethat is not shared by other types of jewelry of the time. Through photographs and text, WWII Bakelite Jewelry, Love and Victory explains how this jewelry and the history of that period are joined. 

There are close to two-hundred vivid color photographs of Bambi Deville Engeran's culturally significant, museum-quality collection of World War II Bakelite jewelry. Many are skillfully superimposed over vintage 1940s newspapers or magazines.  Some are rare pieces that you may not have seen, even if you have been collecting Bakelite for years.  

World War II Bakelite jewelry reflects the popular culture of its time. Even modernists like Andy Warhol collected itwith its hearts, ships, sailors, airplanes, anchors, loose lips, cherries, candy, cigarettes and more, Bakelite was some of the first Pop Art!

Schiffer Publishing
112 pages, 175 color photographs, hardcover with dust jacket.
$24.99  (item B011) 
click here to order this book

Hopi Bird and Sun Face in
Zuni Jewelry

by Toshio Sei

Review by Marbeth Schon

Hopi Bird and Sun Face in Zuni Jewelry is a delightful compilation of photographs and information about Zuni mosaic jewelry in a small easy-to-read format.

Author, Toshio Sei is a Japanese collector of many diverse objects, including kites, lacquer ware, and Western fine art prints. Since 1993, he has been collecting Zuni jewelry.  An avid researcher, he has delved into the origins of Zuni Sun Face and Thunderbird/Hopi Bird designs. The book has over one-hundred-ninety color photographs of Zuni mosaic jewelry that fall within these two categories.  Though the designs are traditional, each artist has interpreted the symbols differently and, through observing these differences, Sei has established the identities of thirty-three Zuni artists working from the 1940s through the 1960s and has included their biographies in his book. For collectors of Zuni mosaic jewelry, Sei's book is an invaluable tool for dating and attributing Zuni mosaic jewelry.

Schiffer Publishing
144 pages, 195 color photographs, hardcover with dust jacket.
$24.99  (item B012) 
click here to order this book

Indian Rings

by Paula A. Baxter

Review by Marbeth Schon

I was very impressed with Southwestern Indian Rings by Paula Baxter. Besides the incredibly clear and beautiful photographs by Barry Katzen, the text is well written and researchedthe history of American Indian rings from pre-contact times to the present day is covered in great detail.  This history covers the conventions of each period in regard to methods, materials, and design.

As well as photographs of the rings, there are many of individual artistssome dating back to the 1930s.

Stones are depicted so well that variations in turquoise, coral, petrified wood, lapis, etc., can be clearly seen.  Much of the turquoise, pictured in the rings, is identified as to it's origin and type.

If you are a collector of American Indian rings, this book is a must-have!

Schiffer Publishing
160 pages, 359 color photographs, hardcover with dust jacket.
$34.99  (item B013) 
click here to order this book

1,800 Artist Biographies

by Gregory Schaaf, assisted by Yan Schaaf

Review by Marbeth Schon

This amazing, all-encompassing work is a compendium of American Indian jewelry artists, mostly contemporary, but many who are no longer working or are deceased.

There are biographies of eighteen-hundred individual Indian jewelers including photographs of their work, some of the artists, themselves, and their maker's marks. 

An easy-to-use easy reference to maker's marks is included at the end and, in the front, is a "Natural Turquoise Directory" with excellent photographs of different varieties of turquoise.

I can't wait to get the second volume: "M-Z."  This is a book no collector of Native American jewelry should be without!

CIAC Press, Santa Fe, New Mexico
400 pages, 2000 photographs, hardcover.

Available at

The William Spratling Legacy
by Sandy Baum

Review by Marbeth Schon

When I first heard about this book, my reaction was, "Another book on Spratling?" This new book, however, has a slightly different perspective than prior biographies: the author, Sandy Baum came to this writing through an interest in Mexican folk art traditions and that background is obvious in his writing.

In the third chapter, "The Ranch," Baum includes many interesting, not previously seen, photographs of Spratling's ranch at Taxco-el-Viejo, where many of Spratling's pre-Columbian stone figures still line the driveway. 

Also unique to this biography is the inclusion of photographs of thirty never-before-seen Alaskan models that were lost for over fifty years, but are now preserved at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. These and original designs for the project, made in 1949, are presented here along with Spratling’s original 1945 report to the Arts and Crafts Board.

There many photographs of Spratling's original drawings for his designs as well as a timeline, tracing Spratling's life from his birth, in 1900, to his death, in 1967.  There is also a chapter regarding Alberto Ulrich & Sucessores with photographs of vintage as well as new designs by Violante Ulrich, and Jason Creagh.

The quality of the jewelry photographs was slightly disappointing but, overall, this book would be a fine addition to the library of any collector of Spratling silver.

Schiffer Publishing
168 pages, over 300 images, hardcover with dust jacket.
$49.99  (item B015) 
click here to order this book

Der Moderne Stil   The Modern Style
Jugendstil Art Nouveau 1899 - 1905

by Julius Hoffmann, Jr.

Review by Marbeth Schon

This amazing book, huge in size and span, is a "treasure trove" of authentic, mostly unpublished, period photographs of European and American decorative arts, including furniture, metal, glass, ceramics, and jewelry. The photographs are original illustrations taken from international journals of the Art Nouveau period.

Published between 1899 and 1905, the over eighty issues of Der Moderne Stil" (The Modern Style) magazine, with its several thousand illustrations and names of designers and makers, is an invaluable source of material on Art Nouveau objects.  Anoldsche combined all the issues into this one magnificent book.

The introduction, by Horst Makus, contains, within the text, over seven-hundred biographies of Art Nouveau artists.

This is an indispensible book for both collectors and historians of Art Nouveau decorative arts.

Text in German and English

Available at
496 pages, 24 x 34 cm, about 2000 illustrations. Hardcover.
USD $130.00 (approx.) , Euro $99.80

The Little Book of Marks on
Southwestern Silver
Silversmiths, Designers, Guilds and Traders

by Bille Hougart

Review by Marbeth Schon

Bille has done it again!  If you have his "Little Book of Mexican Silver Trade and Hallmarks" and know how great it is to have a small, concise reference book at your fingertips, then this new book on Southwestern silver will not disappoint you.  It's chocked full of information that previously was difficult, if not impossible, to find.  There are over 3200 entries, thousands of photographs and images of initials, names and symbols.  It covers all Southwestern tribes and many non-Native American artists who worked in the "Southwestern" style. 

As soon as I received my copy, I found a maker's mark that was on a cuff that I sold to one of my customers. He was very excited to know the maker of his bracelet.  This little book is invaluable to collectors and dealers of Native American silver!

459 pages, $40.00
Click here to order this book

Modern Hand-wrought Jewelry & Metalwork
4th Edition

Penny Chittim Morrill and Carole A. Berk

Review by Marbeth Schon

My 1st Edition copy of this book is ragged and dog-eared.  This excellently written and illustrated book continues to be the "bible" of Mexican silver collectors and dealers.  No one else has covered so many of the mid 20th century silversmiths of Mexico with such completeness.  Every time I pick up this book and actually read it,  I am amazed at how much I learn--the information continues to be fresh and  relevant into its 4th printing.

If you already have the 1st edition, you may also wish to get a copy of the 4th. There are additional photographs and text, a section of maker's marks, a listing of Mexican T-marks from 1993, and a revised value guide.

Schiffer Publishing
272 pages, 445 photographs, hardcover with dust jacket.
 (item B002) 
click here to order this book


Christianne Weber-Sober, Peter Schmitt, Heinz Spielmann, Barbara Grotkamp-Schepers, and Rudiger Joppien

Review by Shirley Byrne

In ARNOLDSCHE Art Publisher’s book, MOLL, Silver + Gold, Wilfried Moll’s silver work is masterfully presented alongside the jewelry of Gerda Moll. Both artists reveal the timeless beauty of their artwork with finely-wrought individual pieces.

Harmony paired with individuality epitomizes the relationship between life-partners Wilfried Moll and Gerda Moll.  As masters of their craft, they each stand on their own, but the camaraderie that enables them to discuss design concepts adds breadth to their artistic decisions. They celebrate a unique union between vision, design, and their skills as gold and silversmiths. Inspiration comes from their garden in Hamburg and the expansive sea in Travemünde. 

Travel through this beautifully designed book, and discover Wilfried and Gerda Moll’s individual journey as artists, both destined to return to share a workshop in Hamburg, forging a remarkable life together as artists and craftsmen.

Their mutual convictions of geometry and form are evident. Wilfried Moll is concerned with keeping tradition in the art of silversmithing, and yet he incorporates some contemporary design adaptations in his silver hollowware, trays and cutlery. Gerda Moll is devoted to creating jewelry as well making miniature sculptures. Color is a primary focus in her geometric designs, used subtly and expressed with exceptional stones.

Wilfried and Gerda Moll’s fascinating and successful careers are described in much detail with full-page photographs of their masterful work.

ARNOLDSCHE Art Publishers
184 pages, 24 x 28.5 cm, 114 colour illustrations. Hardcover with dust jacket. Text in English and German.
ISBN: 978-3-89790-347-0

available at

Maya Mexico Jewelry, an Informational Guide

by Sandy Hargrove

Review by Marbeth Schon

Maya, Mexico Jewelry is the story of one woman's search for information about the artist(s) who created a colorful bracelet acquired by her mother in Mexico in the 1950s. The woman is Sandy Hargrove and her book represents a thorough and intelligent research of the Mexican jewelry marked "Maya." 

Sandy traces the "company" from its early roots in Taxco ("Taxco Maya") to Mexico City ("Mayo Mexico" ). She compares Maya designs to those of Hubert Harmon, William Spratling, and Enrique and Leopoldo Betancourt, sometimes asking "who copied who?"

Maya jewelry was made in silver, copper, and brass or combinations of the same with stones, enamels, and paints. I was amazed to see the many variations of Maya designs shown in the photographs in this book. Sandy also includes all the different marks used in Maya jewelry and an added bonus is her detailed study of the historical meaning behind the symbols used in Maya jewelry as well as in Mexican jewelry designs in general.

The book does not claim to be the "last word" on Maya jewelry, but, through the text and photographs in this book, one is enticed to not only look for examples of Maya jewelry, but to find out more about the makers.

Paperback, 121 pages
Published by Lulu Press

$48.70, available at

16th worldwide competition

Christianne Weber-St

Review by Marbeth Schon

The Silver Triennial International, which takes place every three years, showcases some of the most outstanding new silver work in the world.  This lovely book illustrates the work of eighty-three selected participants.  The first section is devoted to the five award winners, Astrid Keller (Germany), Nilton Cunha (Belgium), Ja-Kung Shin (South Korea/Nuremberg), Dong-Hyun Kim (South Korea) and Stefan Strube (Germany).   Hiroshi Suzuki (Japan/Great Britain) is probably the star of the exhibit, however, with his large, raised and chased vessels. See also

The book devotes a double-page spread to each silversmith. Their individual, cutting-edge designs in silver run the gamut. There are tankards, bowls, candlesticks, vases, cutlery, jewelry, and much more.

The books published by Arnoldsche Art Publishers are, in themselves, works of art. This one is no exception.  It's a book to enjoy whenever you need serious "eye candy."  The photographs are some of the best I've seen and are well placed within a beautifully designed layout.

Arnoldsche Art Publishers
208 pages, 128 color photographs
Text in German and English
$45.00 US 

available at

Treasures from the Bir Collection

by Wolf-Dieter Seiwert

Review by Marbeth Schon

If you have an interest in jewelry from the "Orient," this book could easily become your "bible" on the subject.  It is astonishingly complete, covering ancient to modern jewelry from the Balkans and Asia Minor, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Afghanistan and the Caucasus.

The pieces photographed (over four hundred) were all collected by one man, Dr. Umit Bir. His collection, numbering  over three-thousand pieces, is one of the largest in the world.  If you would like to view this collection in person, the Leipzig Museum für Vökerkunde (Grassi Museum) in Leipzig, Germany has many of them on permanent display.

The text is in English, easily readable, and interesting to historians and jewelry collectors alike. There are essays on each of the regions along with its history, placing each piece of jewelry within its historical and cultural context.

Jewellery from the Orient is a large book in both size and content; it is a book to enjoy reading at your leisure over a long period of time and to go back to again and again, each time learning more about this fascinating subject.

Arnoldsche Art Publishers
320 pages, 23.5 x 30 cm, approx. 700 colour illustrations. Hardcover with dust jacket.
USD 85.00 | GBP 45.00

available at

Desert Silver
Nomadic and traditional silver jewelry from the Middle East and North Africa

Sigrid van Roode

Review by Maja Houtman

Sigrid van Roode studied Egyptology in Leiden. She visits Egypt regularly and became a collector of Eastern traditional jewelry after a visit to a tiny silver shop (the size of a telephone booth) in the south of Cairo. She was allowed to go through a bag of old, broken, traditional jewellery and became fascinated by the pieces.

While furthering her study of this type of jewelry, she discovered that items created for men, such as money pouches and daggers, are not as much status symbols as those created for women: the jewelry of the women actually upholds the status of the family. Women receive their jewelry (which is often regarded as their economic means) as wedding gifts.  You can also identify the various tribes of the women by their jewelry.

In text and pictures, Desert Silver covers jewelry for the head and neck, waist and shoulders, arms and hands, and feet and legs. It also speaks about jewelry from the past, influenced by trade and pilgrimage; jewelry influenced by Islam, Judaism, and Christianity; and jewelry worn for protection and/or magic.

Sigrid describes many techniques and materials including silver and gold; beads and inlays; hammering; embossing; repoussé and chasing; soldering and fusing; engraving; granulation; enamels; wire and chains; leather and rope.

She wonders about the future of traditional jewellery from this area: will it continue as a local identity or will it only live on because of tourism?

Desert Silver is a small book that covers many aspects of jewelry from the Middle East and Northern Africa. After reading the book, I realized that jewelry is not Sigrid van Roode's profession, but if you are not familiar with this subject, it is a good place to start.

ISBN 978 94 6022 0470

 written in English

Emmy + Gijs + Aldo

by Jan Boelen

Published by 010 Publishers, Rotterdam

Review by  Maja Houtman

Along with an exhibition in the Zuiderzeemuseum in Enkhuizen a small but interesting book has been published on this Dutch designers family.

Emmy van Leersum (1930-1984) and Gijs Bakker (1942) were educated at the Instituut voor Kunstnijverheid in Amsterdam between 1958 and 1964. After that, they both went to the Kontfack Skolan in Stockholm. When they returned from the Netherlands they started designing both for companies and for themselves.

They were pioneers in jewelry made from non-precious metals, such as stainless steel and aluminum, or from new materials as PVC. In the 1960s they caused a stir with their enormous aluminum collars and head ornaments and, together with Henk de Leeuw den Bouter, Francoise van den Bosch, Jan Scherjon, Marion Herbst and some others, they forever changed the way we look at jewelry.

Emmy designed a series of bracelets by experimenting with how they would bend by cutting lines in strips of steel. She made many drawings and made test bracelets from paper. Her theme was "broken lines" and her motto was “how to reach maximum results with a minimum of means."


Gijs is not only a jewelry designer--he also designs coffee machines, wine glasses, lamps, tables, etc. The collar ornaments he designs are playful: big collars are made from PVC with pictures of traditional jewelry, flowers or an embracing man. In the nineties he began using gold and even diamonds in these collars. In his latest series called “Real?” he redefines costume jewelry with stereolithographic models, painted as if they are the real thing.

Their son, Aldo Bakker (b. 1971), grew up designing. He creates all sorts of containers in glass, ceramics, metal and synthetic materials such as wonderfully different looking porcelain vinegar flasks, a silver oil can, a synthetic side table and a series of copper containers for the kitchen.

This book focuses on the relationship between designer and object and gathers together the three designers' sources of inspiration, writings, sketches, interviews and quotes. It also features an independent picture essay showing previously unpublished visual material from the designers’ archive and studio.

010 publishers, Rotterdam
Text is written in both Dutch and English.

ISBN 978-90-6450-744-1

Jugendstil-Schmuck aus Pforzheim/ Art Nouveau Jewellery from Pforzheim

by Fritz Falk

Werner Wild Stiftung

Published by Arnoldsche

Review by Martha Trachtenberg

I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but oh, what a lovely cover this one has.  How can you not open it immediately, in search of more beauty?  That search is swiftly and thoroughly rewarded.  Jugendstil-Schmuck aus Pforzheim/ Art Nouveau Jewellery from Pforzheim, written by Fritz Falk,  is truly a feast for the eyes, richly filled with 700 marvelous photographs of breathtakingly beautiful Art Nouveau jewelry.  Almost all of the images are in color and the publisher chose to limit the number of pictures per page, so that you can really see each piece clearly.  And you’ll be grateful.

 It’s tempting to simply leaf through the book, marvel at the artistry therein, and call it a day (and assume that you will indeed lose most of a day; there’s so much to look at).  However, if you wish to learn more about the jewelry, its history and its makers, that, too, is within.  The first half of the book covers the establishment and development of Pforzheim as the center of the German jewelry industry.  The information is meticulously footnoted and quite detailed; it’s basically a master class for any student of this art form.  The text is provided in German and in English, in alternating paragraphs.  I found it easy to negotiate, but some of the translation is mediocre.  It certainly doesn’t interfere with understanding the information being provided.

 The second half is devoted to individual makers and samples of their work.  As I looked through the pictures, I was struck by how many of the pieces were “attributed” to various artists, and was reminded of a striking piece of information from the opening chapter:  Many of the manufacturers in Pforzheim simply didn’t bother to put their maker’s marks on much of the jewelry they sold.  Collectors are doubtless all too aware of this, but it’s an important point for any novice.  There is a single page of makers’ marks in the back; it’s a surprise to see so few, as there were literally hundreds of makers in Pforzheim at its height.  There is also a brief selection of literature at the end, virtually all of which is in German. 

 This is one of those rare books that should satisfy both the casual reader and the serious student.  Enjoy!

Available at
328 pages, 22 cm x 28.5 cm, 700 color illustrations. Hardcover.
USD $85.00 | Euro $45.00



Volume I
Europe, 19th to 21st Centuries

by William B. Whetstone, Danusia V. Niklewicz, Lindy L. Matula

This is a book that was worth waiting for.  It is an absolutely indispensible reference for anyone interested in European jewelry and hollowware. Years of extensive research went into this extremely well organized book.  Collaboration with European assay offices and government officials, including members of the  International Association of Assay Offices and the Hallmarking Convention have resulted in an absolutely concise and accurate compilation of hallmarks from over thirty countries.  There are over forty chapters and thousands of drawings and colored photographs of hallmarks.
From what I hear, this book has already sold out its first printing, so you may wish to get in line to not miss out on the second printing.

Available at
371 pages$228.00


art déco
Jewellery and Accessories
A New Style for a New World

Edited by Cornelie Holzach

Review by Marbeth Schon

This book is written and illustrated in the typically sophisticated and beautiful style of all the Arnoldsche published books in my collection.  It's a concise history of mostly European Art Deco jewelry and accessories with colored photographs of exceptional pieces by Cartier, Jean Despr
és, Boucheron, Joseph Chaumet, Chanel, Lacloche Frères, Tiffany, Constantin Vacheron, Jean Fouquet, Naum Slutzky, Fritz Schwardt, Wiwen Nilsson, Theodore Wende, Gustave Braendle, Theodore Fahrner, Heinrich Grosse, August Bonaz, Jakob Bengel, and many more.

I recommend this book for any collector interested in Art Deco jewelry, its history, and its designers.

Text is in both English and German.

Available at
160 pages, 11-1/2" x 9-1/4", about 200 color illustrations. Hardcover.
USD $60.00 | Euro $39.80


Edited by W. Lindemann

Review by Marbeth Schon

In the 1980s, at a London antiques fair, a German couple, Margarethe and Heribert Händel, became captivated by an Art Deco-style piece of jewelry   Because of its Bauhaus nature, they thought it might be German and began searching for more pieces and information regarding the maker. They later came upon an antiques dealer who had more of the jewelry and also sample drawings. It wasn't until 1993, however, when they found mention of Jakob Bengel, Oberstein in a sample book, that they began to piece together the story of the Jakob Bengel workshop and the uniquely beautiful costume jewelry it created during the 1930s. This sample book has given the couple the ability to authenticate their collection of Bengel jewelry that has grown to well over 400 pieces! 

This extensive collection has been now been exhibited in Idar-Oberstein, Hanau, Solingen, Munich, Vienna, and Turnov, allowing Jakob Bengel a place in the annals of art history and adding to the popularity and collectability of the jewelry itself.

This lovely book, published by Arnoldsche, tells the story of the Händel's quest and is full of large, exceptional color photographs of Jakob Bengel jewelry from the 1930s.  Along with the photographs there is fascinating text about the history of the Jakob Bengel factory in Idar-Oberstein with vintage photographs from Bengel catalogs. The book is an interesting read and has both German and English texts.  I highly recommend this beautiful book for both jewelry collectors and historians.

Available at
216 pages, 24 x 30 cm, 245 illustrations. Hardcover. Text in English and German.
USD 85.00 | GBP 45.00

American Modernist Jewelry, 1940 - 1970

by Marbeth Schon

Review by Martha Trachtenberg

I have to begin this review with a disclosure:  I’m biased.  I’m writing this as the newly-minted assistant editor of the author’s brainchild,  More than that, I like her.  I’m a fan.  The potential downside here is that it would have been very difficult to write a negative or even lukewarm review.  Fortunately for me (and you), that proved to be a nonissue.  Onward. 


It is impossible to simply pick up Marbeth Schon’s Form & Function:  American Modernist Jewelry, 1940-1970, leaf through it, and put it down.  If that were doable, I’d have finished this review hours ago.  Once you start turning the pages, you may as well give up gracefully, find a comfortable chair, and settle down.  The writing is marvelous, the depth of knowledge and expertise extraordinary, and the bountiful selection of photographs is captivating.  What holds it all together, though, is Schon’s obvious passion for her subject, her appreciation of the artists and their work. 

The book is actually an extended catalogue for two major exhibits of modernist jewelry, which both took place in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 2007.  Schon divides the contents into five parts:  American Crafts Revival in Metalwork; What Is Jewelry?; Artists’ Biographies; Macchiarini; and Makers’ Marks.  There are also Notes and Sources Cited sections in the back, for the convenience of readers who wish to do further research.  This format makes the book very user-friendly – if you want to read about a particular topic or artist, you can go there directly, rather than playing hide-and-seek with a lengthy essay or flipping back and forth from Index to sundry pages.  I do, however, strongly recommend finding the time to read the entire book; there are so many fascinating stories about the artists, behind-the-scenes tales that bring them to life for the reader while shedding light on the development of modernism.  Schon’s background in art serves her well as she puts the modern jewelry movement in its historical and artistic context, but she never falls into the dreaded academic jargon – the arcane language that functions best as a non-habit-forming sedative.  It’s really like taking a master class with a knowledgeable professor who clearly loves her subject; can’t beat that. 

Last but not least – I admit I found the cover design to be off-putting; it’s a random group of photographs slapped over a very busy background, itself a composite of more pictures, and the copy is set in a handful of fonts.  Given the outstanding quality of many of the pieces shown in the book, the cover could – and should – have been nothing short of riveting.  Those who judge a book by its cover will be inclined to pass this one by as an amateur effort, and that would be a shame.  It will be a valuable addition to the archives of anyone with an interest in modernist jewelry.

Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2008, $69.99
Subject:  American modernist jewelry and its creators
Content:  Historical context; biographical information on 103 artists; makers’ marks
Photographs: 471 color photographs
Length:  256 pages

Backmatter:  Bibliographical notes for further research; Index.
(item #M003)  Click here to order this book

Mexican Silver Jewelry Details

Leslie Piña

Review by Martha Trachtenberg

Author Leslie Piña chose an unusual approach in Mexican Silver Jewelry Details.  Rather than go over territory that has been thoroughly covered in several other volumes – that of the work of Mexico’s finest artisans – she decided to feature what she terms “popular” Mexican jewelry.  These are the pieces made by good, and sometimes excellent, artisans whose names are not well known, jewelry often made for the tourist trade, and in considerable quantity. 

 The book opens with a brief essay regarding the history of Mexican design and the influence of ancient artwork on contemporary silversmiths.  Piña does not go into much detail regarding the renaissance of the silver trade in Taxco and I found it surprising.  Spratling is absent, as are Davis, Piñeda, and many others.  Her focus is really on presenting the many, many pieces she assembled for the book, rather than on educating the reader.  Fair enough – again, there are plenty of other sources for people who wish to know the full story. 

 Five chapters of photographs follow the essay.  The jewelry has been broken up by category (brooches and pendants, earrings and cufflinks, et cetera) rather than by materials, makers, or style.  Each picture is accompanied by a brief description, including size, marks, and estimated value – we’ll get back to that.  The pictures are excellent, as clear and close as you could wish, hence the inclusion of “details” in the title.  There is an illustrated glossary of terms in the back, which would come in handy for a beginner.  A brief Marks section is included, as is a Selected Bibliography.  Again, the emphasis in this volume is on the 240+ pages of pictures, but even so, I wish more attention and space had been given to the makers’ marks; that part looks tacked on and suffers from sins of omission.

 It was fun to leaf through the book – I’ve become a fan of Mexican silver over the past few years and was delighted to recognize quite a few of the items shown.  I do take issue with the estimated values, though.  These days, price guides are almost out-of-date before they go to press – the market simply changes so quickly, in great part due to the Internet.  There are folks who take the printed word as gospel, and I could see them being surprised, to say the least, by the discrepancy between the suggested prices in this volume and what they would find on a site such as eBay. 

The question is, who will benefit the most from this book?  It isn’t aimed at advanced collectors, nor does it do much to educate beginners who want to really learn this field.  It’s a great coffee-table book for the casual collector, who will doubtless enjoy many “Aha!” moments as they look through it. 

 Subject:  Mexican silver jewelry, with an emphasis on commonly found pieces

Content:  Brief essay regarding development of Mexican silver jewelry, five chapters of photographs of jewelry separated into categories and assigned estimated values; 1154 color photographs

Backmatter:  Glossary; Marks; Selected Bibliography; Index.
Length:  303 pages
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. $89.99 

(item B007)
click here to order this book



by Rayner W. Hesse, Jr.


This well-researched book is an excellent resource for anyone who wishes to learn everything and anything about jewelry from its beginnings through the present time. It is well organized, easy to use and interesting reading if you wish to sit down and read it through, but it is also a handy reference tool for times when you need to know that one special thing. I know that I will use it over and over again for just that.

220 pages, limited photographs
Greenwood Press, $55.00


new revised edition

by Bille Hougart 

review by Marbeth Schon


Click on the link below this review to order the best little book to date on Mexican hallmarks because you should not be without it! This edition is absolutely invaluable to the Mexican silver collector. It is chocked full of photographs of hallmarks, many that you won't find anywhere else. When I received my copy, I was astounded by the amount of research that Bille has done to come up with this new edition of his already successful and popular book.

Thank you Bille!

287 Pages
$24.95  Click to order this book

All About

Antique Silver
with International Hallmarks

by Diana Sanders Cinamon

review by Marbeth Schon


This little book would be a great addition to anyone's archives who collects or deals in silver jewelry and objects.  The first five chapters talk about the different methods of examining silver, various types of silver and silver plating, ways silver items are made,  and how to identify and date pieces by style and period. The rest of the book is dedicated to international silver hallmarks and though not as extensive in this area as "Tardy" it is definitely a good companion to that book and has fresh information and up to date hallmarks. I am very pleased to own a copy of "All About Antique Silver!"

270 pages
146 Pictures in addition to hallmark photographs.

Available at

Bejewelled by TIFFANY
 1837 - 1987
by Clare Phillips

with contributions by Vivienne Becker, Ulysses Grant Dietz, Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, John Loring, and

Katherine Purcell

review by Marbeth Schon


If you are already a Tiffany jewelry aficionado, this is a must-have book.  If not, you will nonetheless be astounded by the gorgeous photographs of jewelry contained in Bejewelled by Tiffany, 1837-1987 and will certainly be impressed by the story of Tiffany & Co.'s  extraordinary one hundred and fifty years of success.

 Click here to read the entire review

ISBN:      0-300-11651-9
PRICE:     $65.00
PAGES:     320 pp., 9-3/4 x 12
ILLUSTRATIONS:     170 b/w + 300 color
PUBLICATION DATE:     September 1, 2006

Published by Yale University Press
available at:



Art & Techniques
by Lilyan Bachrach

review by Marbeth Schon

This beautiful, new book from Schiffer Publishing by Lilyan Bachrach is an enlarged and expanded edition of her very successful book, Enameling with Professionals.  This new edition has nine new sections and over 300 additional photographs!


Lilyan is a veteran enamelist of over fifty years who has studied with the "greats" such as Kenneth Bates and Doris Hall.

The book discusses the techniques and materials for using vitreous enamels and has "how I work" chapters by over 30 enamel artists who share their secrets of working with the techniques of cloisonné, plique--a- jour, champlevé, etc. There are photographs of the work of over 55 individual contemporary enamelists.

I highly recommend this book for jewelers, artists, and collectors.

For more information about Lilyan Bachrach see Lilyan Bachrach, Enamelist Author

Hardcover with dust jacket; 9" x 11"; 192 pages including index and charts.

$39.95 (item #B009)   click here to order this book

Collector's Timeline
by Christie Romero

review by Marbeth Schon


For jewelry collectors who want to put things in  perspective historically, this is a wonderful ,concise, easy to take along, little book.

Have you ever wondered if a particular finding was the right period for a piece of jewelry, or whether or not the materials in the piece you just found can help to date it?  This "tough" little book has answers for those types of questions and it fits easily into your purse or bag so you can have it along when you are making buying decisions.

Thank you Christie!

about 18 pages including covers, color coded

available at



The Wearable Art Movement

by Marbeth Schon

review by Jill and Byron Crawford

What a fabulous and comprehensive book ! Brilliantly written with an enormous range of wonderful photographs. Marbeth Schon has demonstrated  that she is a thorough and thoughtful jewelry historian. She has given us a book that puts mid-twentieth century modernist jewelry on the map, linking the expression of this wonderful art form to historical and philosophical movements. 


The provocative and masterful work of  the "titans" of this period, Sam Kramer, Margaret de Patta, Art Smith and Peter Macchiarinni is explored in depth, along with that of lesser-known jewelry designers who deserve recognition. I highly recommend this wonderful book to anyone who appreciates  jewelry as an artistic form.

Biographies of 175 jewelers are included together with 540 color and 35 black and white photographs, value references,  images of 74 makers' marks, index, and table of contents.

Hardcover with dust jacket;  9" x 11-1/4"; 272 pages.

$69.95 (itme #M002) Click here to order this book

Secrets of the Gem Trade

The Connoisseur's Guide To Precious Gemstones

by Richard W. Wise

review by Marbeth Schon  

Secrets or the Gem Trade by Richard W. Wise is a comprehensive guide to understanding gemstones. Wise enthusiastically shares his vast knowledge of the history of gemology, the science and art of gem cutting, the characteristics of over 16 basic varieties of gems from diamonds to tanzanite to pearls, and reveals some of the  "secrets" of the savvy gem trader. Wise's connoisseurship has come from many years of study and field work. His very beautiful and  well written book is an invaluable guide for anyone interested in gemstones and the gem trade, whether novice or expert.


292 pages, hard cover, $79.95
Available at

See MODERN SILVER magazine article: Secrets of the Gem Trade:
Margaret De Patta and the American Lapidary Renaissance
by Richard W. Wise

Spratling Silver: A Field Guide
Recognizing a William Spratling Treasure

by Phyllis M. Goddard

review by Marbeth Schon   

I am very pleased to announce Spratling Silver: A Field Guide, Recognizing a William Spratling Treasure by Phyllis Goddard!

The book is beautiful, concise, and informative.  Because it's a field guide,
the book is small and light enough to go along on any shopping expedition. 
There are hundreds of colored photos of Spratling jewelry and objects together with clear photos of each Spratling hallmark with timelines explaining when the marks were used and with what materials.


"Spratling Silver: A Field Guide," is the succinct answer to queries about William Spratling hallmarks and when and how they were used.  

Soft cover, 152 pages, over 500 photographs.

Available for $39.95 at

J E W E L R Y 

Identification and Price Guide



review by Marbeth Schon  


This is the book we've all been waiting for--The 3rd Edition of Warman's Jewelry by Christie Romero with colored photos on every page!

Warman's is an indispensable field guide; a book that can and should go with you whenever you plan to shop for jewelry.  

This essential book for jewelry collectors and dealers covers every period and type of jewelry from Late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century to Twentieth Century and Special Collectible Jewelry--from fine to costume to designer.

You will find historical information, current market trends, marks information, references, as well as a very helpful glossary of jewelry terms.  Warman's Jewelry by Christie Romero is the "Webster's Dictionary" of the jewelry world. Don't be caught without this important resource. 

A signed copy is now available at a 15% discount at

T H E   W O R L D   O F   

by Nancy Schiffer & Val O. Bertoia

review by Marbeth Schon   


The World of Bertoia is stunning pictorially and freshly revealing in it's intense new look at the "design innovations, original and beautiful forms, and tonal experiences" of 20th Century designer, Harry Bertoia. 

This is an incredibly comprehensive monograph about one man whose contributions to 20th Century art and design were innovative, seminal, and are now, indelibly part of American culture. The book walks you through Bertoia's life with a timeline from his birth in 1915 to his death in 1978.  Every aspect of his career including jewelry making, sculpture, furniture, sound sculpture, screens, prints and drawings is explored.

 Hardcover, 270 pages, 500 color and 200 black and white photographs

The price from Schiffer Books is $89.95 
(item B005)  
click here to order this book

by Dona Z. Meilach

review by Marbeth Schon   

Art Jewelry Today is a comprehensive guide to the techniques and designs of contemporary art jewelers

The book has hundreds of exquisite colored photographs of the work of  today's top designers  together with discussions about how each approaches his/her craft and the materials and procedures used to create jewelry.


This is a valuable resource for collectors, jewelers, and sellers of contemporary jewelry.

Hardcover, 550 color photos,  256 pages

The price from Schiffer Books is $50.00

 (item B004)
 click here to order this book



Published by Henry Abrams, Inc.
 in association with the San Antonio Museum of Art

Penny C. Morrill guest curator

Essays by Penny C. Morrill, John W. Scott, Helen Delpar, Adriana Williams, Gobi Stromberg, Jaime Castrejon Diez, Christie Romero, Patrick Kapty, Phyllis Goddard, and Jill Crawford.


William Spratling and the Mexican Silver Rennaissance, Maestros de Plata  is the catalog for the traveling exhibit of modern Mexican silver which opened at the San Antonio Museum of Art last October (see our preview of the exhibit Maestros de Plata).  It is the most beautiful, historically interesting, and comprehensive book about  William Spratling, his life, and his jewelry published to date. There are magnificent photos of the work of Spratling and other Mexican silversmiths along with information on Mexican metalsmithing techniques and materials, and hallmarks.

If you are a collector of Mexican silver, this book is will be an outstanding addition to your archives.

Hardcover, 279 pages, 470 illustrations, 340 color plates

Available at


a personal touch
the seawolf collection
late 19th- and 20th-century silver

This very new publication is an exquisitely illustrated catalog of Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and 20th Century modern European and American silver hollowware and some jewelry for the exhibition of the Seawolf Collection which is currently on display at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam (through the 20th of April 2003).

a personal touch is one of the most expertly designed and researched books on modern silver I've had the opportunity to own. There are also essays by experts on English silver, American 20th Century silver, and continental silver as well as detailed photographs of maker's marks. 

256 pages with at least 500 photographs. 
available at  email:

Twentieth Century Costume Jewelry
by Angie Gordon

Published in 1990, this gorgeous compilation of photographs and fascinating information, is a must for a serious collector of 20th Century costume jewelry. There are only a limited  number of copies now available in hardback.

Angie Gordon writes about her passion for costume jewelry which started with early paste jewelry and continued to include bold gilt and geometric jewelry from the 1930s and 1940s.


The book lists all of the major 20th Century Costume jewelry manufactures with pictures of marks and historical information.

100s of color photographs, over 250 pages, hardback.
email Angie to order this book:


Linda MacNeil

United in Beauty: The Jewelry and Collectors of Linda MacNeil

review by Marbeth Schon 

This beautiful book by Schiffer features the art of contemporary jeweler Linda MacNeil. The uniqueness of this publication, compared to other monographs of this type, is that the jewelry is photographed worn by it's owner/collector so that the "connection between the wearer and the work" can be analyzed.


Linda MacNeil is an internationally recognized jeweler who's work has been featured in American Craft, Craft Horizons, Neues Glas, Metalsmith, and many other magazines and craft publications.  Her works are in numerous museums including the American Craft Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

You will be enchanted by the magnificent photographs of MacNeil's masterful designs.

The price in hardcover from Schiffer Books is $59.95   click here to order this book

(item B003)



Preface by Janet Drucker and William Drucker

reviewed by Marbeth Schon


Georg Jensen, 20th Century Designs, a beautiful new book on Jensen silver by Janet Drucker, author of Georg Jensen: A Tradition of Splendid Silver, and her son William Drucker, takes the reader on a nostalgic and fascinating journey through Georg Jensen jewelry and hollowware catalogs from the 1940s-1960s. The jewelry section includes gold and silver designs for men and woman from the 1940s and the huge section on hollowware covers designs from the 1950s-60s. There are hundreds of black and white photographs as well as indexes with product numbers, original retail prices, measurements, and designers.

This compilation of Jensen catalogs, which were previously very difficult to obtain, will become a standard reference tool for collectors, dealers, and individuals who appreciate and treasure Georg Jensen designs.

 The price in hardback from Schiffer Books  is $69.95

(item B002)    click here to order this book

Aluminum by design: Jewelry to Jets

Curated by Sarah Nichols
Published by Abrams

 Reviewed by Patrick Kapty

"Aluminum by Design”, the glossy coffee table sized book that accompanies the exhibition of the same name is a real eye-opener for those not familiar with the spectacular rise of aluminum over the last century and a half. From an extremely rare and novel material used in conjunction with precious metals and stones, to one of the most pervasive materials in our present day culture, the story of aluminum makes for fascinating reading. 

A series of short essays by several noteworthy experts in the field lays out the history of aluminum, and the volume is splendidly illustrated with the many interesting and unique objects to be seen at the exhibition. “Aluminum by design” is well worth the $50 or so price tag, and if the exhibition is yet to make it to your area, don’t miss it!


Navajo Spoons
Indian Artistry and the Souvenir Trade, 1880s-1940s

by Cindra Kline

review by Marbeth Schon


Navajo Spoons, Indian Artistry and the Souvenir Trade 1880s-1940s is a well-researched, unique chronology of  the Navajo silver spoon trade.

Navajo spoons have been continually sought after by collectors since the Victorians began railroad travel to the Southwestern U.S. and discovered the beautifully designed hand-wrought spoons which the Navajo silversmiths formed from silver dollars and silver quarters and decorated with impressed Thunderbirds, arrows, whirling logs, headdresses, eagles, stars, feathers, and hundreds of  motifs, each individual and one-of-a-kind. 

If you've never thought about collecting Navajo spoons, this book with it's numerous color photographs of these charming mementos will certainly whet your appetite for the hunt.  Good luck!

(item B001)   click here to order this book


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