5 Must-Read Jewelry History Websites

I’m currently in the thick of writing a JCK feature that asks industry experts and historians to share their favorite jewelry books. (See their recommendations in the June issue!) 

In researching the story, I’ve also stumbled upon a number of great online resources for jewelry history and design—some familiar to me and some brand new. See below for a few of my favorites. Looking back at the movements and masters in this industry is always engrossing—and often inspiring!

Courtesy the Victoria & Albert Museum

Bracelet, ca. 1875, probably made by Charles Riffault for Frederic Boucheron

Victoria & Albert Museum. Though the London-based museum certainly showcases much more than jewelry within its walls, it has hosted scads of seminal exhibitions on its luminaries. Its website is an impeccably researched treasure trove of information on jewelry’s artistic movements.

History of Jewelry. This site is encyclopedic in its breadth of info on jewelry’s beginnings—think ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. It also hosts links to a number of articles on historical jewelry that include jewelry tales from ancient Egypt.

All About Gemstones. Cycle through links that track the timeline of jewelrymaking worldwide—from “Origins of Jewelry Design: The Dawn of Man” to “Contemporary Jewelry: 1970s to Present” on this cleanly designed site, which specailizes in gemstone education. There’s even a detailed history of gem-cutting. 

Courtesy Jewellery History

A contemporary gold Indian piece from Jewellery History

Jewellery History. This site isn’t beautiful (and it’s a mess to navigate, actually). But the information contained within its scattered interfaces is golden. Pour yourself a cup of tea and soak in the history of parures, cameos, paste gems, and more.

Antique Jewelry University. This educational site is for jewelers and jewelry lovers of all stripes. It includes an alphabetized list of famous jewelers, from Georges Fouquet to Oscar Heyman—with each name linking to a decent-size bio with examples of their work. 

JCK Magazine Editor