Saturday, 23 July 2011

Costume Jewellery by Judith Miller - a book review

Okay I have gone to to write a review on this book Costume Jewellery by Judith Miller several times, but I am really having difficulty because its one of the worst books on vintage jewellery I have read ever and overall was very disappointing.


The content is available readily on the Internet about the individual designer and so there was nothing new or refreshing to read. Many vintage costume jewelers and historians have very comprehensive and correct factual information available that is free to view. There were also some glaring errors.  

Red aurora borealis vintage brooch signed Exquisite

AURORA BOREALIS rhinestones were first made in about 1955. So any jewellery with this is not 1930s/1940s but would be dated from the late 1950s onwards........


With the title "Costume Jewellery" I expected at least some relevant information on UK's vintage costume jewellery. and especially as its been written by someone from the UK. But no the book is also published with the "Costume Jewelry" title aimed at the US market. There is very little written about UK costume jewellery apart from the newer Butler and Wilson and Vivienne Westwood.  Most of the vintage jewellery shown is only obtainable from the US and most is now quite rare and expensive. You also need to be wary of fakes when buying this type of designer pieces.



This is a lily flower brooch in marcasite and enamel. This vintage brooch is available in a wide range of coloured enamel. They were made from the early part of the twentieth century until the 1970s. One size does not fit all. The earlier ones are of pot metal, not rhodium plated and the clasp is very different C shaped not the roll over clasp. So by just showing the front can be very misleading for dating.


Unbelievably the "Unsigned Gems" chapter contained signed vintage jewellery- not sure what that was all about?? It would have been extremely helpful to show the backs of the jewellery and clasps.


Vintage clip on earrings by Ciro Pearls

The only thing I can say without being terribly rude - is that if you like to look at pretty pictures of jewellery only - then buy this book. But if you are a complete novice and want to actually learn about costume jewellery -  then there are many other good quality books and informative books available.,Ones that are well researched and contain excellent information that is correct - the Warman's Series is an excellent place to start.  



 Purple vintage long necklaces

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Part owner of Jewels and Finery UK website. We sell vintage jewellery right up to new designer jewellery and accessories. Love being different and unique as well as unusual. Learn about the history of jewellery as well as looking at beautiful jewels