Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Beautiful Book, A Lovely Hobby

Collecting Costume Jewelry 101, by Julia C. Carroll, is a great beginner book for costume jewelry collectors. It clearly explains how to start, build, and upgrade a costume jewelry collection. It is thorough, including chapters on how to repair and clean pieces, catalog a collection, and store and insure a collection. Packed with luscious color photos, all taken by the author's husband, the book is a real treat to look through, even if you never read a word.

I found the original advertisements which are sprinkled throughout the book very interesting as they clearly placed the jewelry within the wider culture of the time. One stood out especially. It is done primarily in shades of blue and features a touching mother-daughter scene. The text says, "Mothers of every age love Jewels by Trifari". The capital "T" in Trifari is done in gold and is a stylized cross. The rest of the Trifari letters are black.

Reading about the designers and the history of the jewelry companies provided a glimpse into a fascinating world I never even considered before. Many of the the companies did not survive the 1980s, when casual clothes became the rule for most Americans. Some, like Eisenberg, shifted their focus to take advantage of the Christmas jewelry market, where rhinestones are still popular.

Overall this is a great book. Anyone who has any interest in fashion ought to enjoy it, whether they want to collect costume jewelry or not.

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