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Holiday 2021: 4 New Books for the Jewelry Lover’s Library


An abundance of jewelry books made their debut this year, all perfect for holiday gifts, from oversized tomes celebrating natural diamonds, to a novel in which jewelry is central to the plot. (But my go-to read will always be this murder mystery set in the diamond district by JCK’s Rob Bates—until the next one comes out in February!)

I myself covered the Aldo Cipullo monograph (a must) and this ode to British jewelry design is a great holiday gift for the serious collector/connoisseur.

A few new releases have popped up just in time for holiday 2021, and all seem like essential new additions to the jewelry lover’s library—including your own.

Ahead, a quick overview of each debut, starting with the one up top. Bulgari Magnifica: The Power Women Hold, a new title from Rizzoli, is a lavish volume that intersperses the Italian house’s most entrancing high jewelry with texts written solely by women, from historical letters and contemporary essays and even emails and notebook entries straight from the mind of the house’s creative director, Lucia Silvestri. Fashion stylist and writer Tina Leung served as curator and author of the book, and contributors include Amanda Nguyen, Mia Moretti, and Noor Tagouri, among others.

Next, if there are September babies on your list, Joanna Hardy’s Sapphire (Thames & Hudson, $125) is an impressive gift that will surely make their hearts throb. It presents a scholarly history of the gem, from the early trading routes on the Silk Road to more recent creations (i.e., Belperron, Bulgari, and more). Showcasing 60 of the world’s most renowned jewels and artifacts, it’s a showstopper from the inside out and marks the third and final entry in Hardy’s series of books on colored gemstones, following Emerald (2014) and Ruby (2017). (Add these last two to make your gift the ultimate literary ménage à trois!)

Sapphire book Joanna Hardy
“Mighty Nature has indeed bestowed upon us a formidable gem: sapphire,” writes gemologist and jewelry historian Joanna Hardy in the introduction to Sapphire (photo: courtesy of Thames & Hudson).

OK, so you have to pre-order this one, out in January, and gift it a little bit late, but it’s worth waiting for: Buccellati: A Century of Timeless Beauty (Assouline, $125) is a nearly-300-page, in-depth examination of the celebrated Italian jeweler’s goldsmithing techniques across four generations. Each engraving method is defined and explored in the text, accompanied by dazzling examples of Buccellati’s singular stylistic identity. As famed author and jewelry historian Vivienne Becker writes in the introduction, “It is a story in which the goldsmith is the protagonist, at the very center of the Renaissance world of art and connoisseurship.… A story of Italian refinement and of the marriage of artistry and craftsmanship, reinvigorated by [founder] Mario Buccellati, kept alive by his descendants and encapsulated by every Buccellati creation.”

Buccellati book cover
Cover of Buccellati: A Century of Timeless Beauty (photo courtesy of Assouline)

And finally, we have The Soul of Jewellery (Flammarion, $75), published in collaboration with Maison Chaumet. Another big book, it offers unique insight into the world of jewelry featuring a broad range of artistic and intellectual perspectives. Covering every facet of the topic at hand, from anthro­pology to philosophy to art, contributors include: perfumer Frédéric Malle, botanist Marc Jeanson, mineralogist Erik Gonthier, auctioneer Benoit Repellin, composer and pianist Karol Beffa, novelist Carole Martinez, journalist Virginie Mouzat, philosopher Emanuele Coccia, and photographer Julia Hetta, among others. Meanwhile, Chaumet’s inimitable jewels themselves act as a kind of storytelling vehicle, punctuating the text with so many jeweled tiaras and jabots.

The Soul of Jewellery cover
Cover of The Soul of Jewellery (photo: © Flammarion, 2020)


Top: Cover of Bulgari Magnifica: The Power Women Hold (Rizzoli, $95). Photo: © Bulgari and courtesy of Rizzoli.


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Amy Elliott

By: Amy Elliott

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