Summer Reading List: 5 Jewelry Books for the Beach

The warm mellow of full-blown summer is upon us—in most parts of the United States, school is officially out this week. Which means it’s time to breeze by the local bookstore to pick up tasty reads for those quickie beach jaunts and hot afternoons loafing in the backyard—your feet tucked into a blow-up baby pool filled with ice (just an idea).

But I get it, your mind is always with your business—and if you can pick up a few tomes that read like novels but augment your industry knowledge, all the better.

Here are five new and soon-to-be-released books—all historical jewelry tomes—bound to enthrall and leave you with fresh ideas and knowledge.

Cartier Collection book
The Cartier Collection (photo courtesy of Rizzoli)

The Cartier Collection: Jewelry
By Francois Chaille, Michael Spink, Christophe Vachaudez, Thierry Coudert, and Violette Petit 

Get lost in more than 3,000 Cartier jewelry pieces dating from the 1860s to the present displayed in this two-volume collection that traces the history of the collection’s high jewelry holdings. The books showcase pieces owned by Cartier collectors Queen Elizabeth, the Duchess of Windsor, Daisy Fellowes, Barbara Hutton, and Sir Bhupinder Singh, the Maharaja of Patiala, along with famous bestiary pieces and rare brooches, necklaces, and bracelets from the 1960s and 1970s. There have been Cartier books published in the past, but this one’s the mack daddy of Cartier chronicles.

Corbella Milano book
Corbella Milano (photo courtesy of Artbook)

Corbella Milano: The First Italian Manufacturer of Jewellery and Weapons for the Theatre 
By Bianca Cappello, edited by Angelica Corbella 

The Corbella Co. was a Milanese manufacturer of jewelry and weapons for the theater in the 1800s and had a long and, well, dramatic history. This book traces its history, according to the publisher, “from the boom in industry in Milan after Italian unification through to the convulsions of 21st-century globalization―and documents some of the company’s most extraordinary objects, reconstructing a fascinating chapter in the history of Italian craft and manufacturing, and theater history and design.”

Diamond Jewelry book
Diamond Jewelry (photo courtesy of Thames & Hudson)

Diamond Jewelry: 700 Years of Glory and Glamour
By Diana Scarisbrick

This richly illustrated social history of diamond jewelry—out in late summer—is “told through the stories of the European rulers and socialites who commissioned and wore them,” according to its prerelease statement. Diamonds owned and worn by Louis XIV of France, Queen Elizabeth I, Elizabeth Taylor, and others are spotlighted in more than 300 photographs and illustrations.

Understanding Northwest Coast Indigenous Jewelry
Understanding Northwest Coast Indigenous Jewelry (photo courtesy of Greystone Books)

Understanding Northwest Coast Indigenous Jewelry: The Art, the Artists, the History
By Alexander Dawkins with a foreword by Corrine Hunt 

In this new book, Alexander Dawkins delves into why hand-engraved jewelry from the Pacific Northwest coast is “among the most distinctive, innovative, and highly sought-after art being produced in North America today.” He explores the backstories and histories of every jewelry technique and provides a step-by-step overview of various techniques. Additionally, the book delves into the history of the art form, “from the earliest horn and copper cuff bracelets to cutting-edge contemporary works and everything in between.”

Nubian Gold book
Top and above: Nubian Gold (photo courtesy of the American University in Cairo Press)

Nubian Gold: Ancient Jewelry from Sudan and Egypt
By Peter Lacovara and Yvonne J. Markowitz

This book dives into the work and legacy of the jewelry-makers of the fabled land of Nubia—a name that actually means “gold” and was famous in ancient times “for its supplies of precious metal, exotic material, and intricate craftsmanship,” according to the book’s literature, which further details, “Many of the adornments made in Nubia are masterpieces of the jeweler’s art―marvels of design and construction rivaling, and often surpassing, adornments made in Egypt and the rest of the ancient Mediterranean world.” Can’t wait to discover them.

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