Book Reviews

JEWELRY DESIGN

The Art of Jewelry Design; Rings and Earrings, by Maurice Galli et al. 1995. 224 pages. 104 color drawings. $59.95. (JCK Data Center CN-060) Call (610) 593-1777.

Do you like sumptuous drawings and color renderings of gemstones and fine jewelry? Interested in basic design principles for commercial jewelrymaking? Want to impress customers and colleagues with your jewelry rendering skills? This book could be right for you.

Serious goldsmiths who do counter drawings and want to improve their rendering skills (and possibly design skills) should add this to their book collection. It’s an excellent reference for jewelry drawing skills.

The book is arranged as a textbook for classroom and self-education. Major sections include “Basic Principles of Design and Documentary Studies,” “Metal and Stone Rendering Techniques” and “Jewelry Categories.”

Each of these large sections is made up of 20 to 30 subsections, which are usually one page about half full of text describing and commenting on the lesson with the facing full page showing drawn and rendered examples. For best results, read slowly and carefully, following the steps given.

Rendering is about speed and communication of ideas to the client, oneself or other goldsmiths. This book does a good job of showing how rendered surfaces and gems are built up in a minimum number of steps, with a reduced palette of colors and techniques for maximum effect rather rapidly. Many drawings show all the stages of a built-up rendered surface. This is the key to rendering, which is a reduced drawing system that anyone can learn. All it takes is practice.

The book also teaches design in a strict, old-fashioned (yet very sound) series of discussions and examples of formal design principles based on geometrics, documentary studies of nature, symmetry, asymmetry, and so on.

Gem-intensive Victorian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco approaches are copied scrupulously in the traditions of the late 19th and 20th century. Many of the designs seem old-hat, serving primarily as a vehicle for selling the most gems possible. This is a primary goal of the industry, but it would be nice to see these highly skilled methods applied to more contemporary work. North America needs to wake up in design terms, and this book does little to shake up the scene for new markets and new avenues for profit.

This book is an excellent resource and reference. I’m proud of my own copy and regularly share it with students and goldsmiths. ­ Charles Lewton/Brain, Lewton/Brain Fontana Center for Jewellery Studies, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; JCK Book Judge.

REVERE ON GOLDSMITHING

Reticulated Wedding Bands (JCK Data Center PA 002); Turquoise Pendant (JCK Data Center PA-003). $59.95 each. Videotapes. Call (800) 545-6566.

Outstanding! I was asked to review two of Alan Revere’s eight-part-series of videotapes on goldsmithing and found myself eager to try the projects and to buy the remaining six for my library.

Revere on Goldsmithing is an eight-part video series intended to teach the classical art of goldsmithing, focusing on basic and intermediate techniques. Revere, an international award-winning designer and goldsmith, begins with the fundamentals of sawing and filing, and progresses to setting stones in an intricate ring. This all is done at an easy-going pace, with Revere demonstrating and instructing throughout.

The two series I reviewed were Reticulated Wedding Bands (Project 2) and Turquoise Pendant (Project 3). Both were interesting and highly informative. The series starts with a basic project, Japanese Pattern Earrings, and gets progressively more challenging. While the first few videos in the series may be somewhat elementary for goldsmiths with several years’ experience, they still are worth watching, either to learn new techniques or as a review. I had two other goldsmiths, each with eight to ten years’ experience, view the videos; they also found them informative and interesting.

I most liked the way Revere explained everything in simple terms and showed each step in close-up detail. Each project concentrates on a specific skill. Project 2 focuses on the use of a torch, while Project 3 shows how to make a bezel and bail and how to set a cabochon stone in the precision bezel.

Each series is presented in two professionally produced videos, lasting from 21Ž4 hours to 3 hours. The videos cost $59.95 and certainly are worth it, I think. If you are unable to attend a seminar or workshop on goldsmithing, these videos would be perfect for you. While you may make a project only once, you may find yourself referring back to advice and suggestions offered in the videos. As far as I know, the only drawback is lack of a list of items needed for the project you are about to view. Either your shop must be equipped with a range of goldsmithing supplies and products or you’ll need to peruse the video before beginning a project to be sure you have everything needed.

These videos will help you build the skills needed to create professional quality work. While each is complete in itself, you’ll want to buy the whole set because they build upon each other, focusing on a range of goldsmithing skills. ­ Roma Strong Zanders, Timio 24K Custom Designs, Tempe, Ariz., JCK Book Judge.

SWISS WATCH GUIDE

The Complete Guide to Watch Distribution and Service 1995/1996; The Official Guide of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. 1995. 183 pages. $25 plus $3 postage. (JCK Data Center 02-001) Call (212) 757-7030.

This small book starts with a historical look at the Swiss industry in the U.S., plus “Timely Tips on Fine Watches,” “Mechanical vs. Quartz Watches” and “Measurement of Time.”

The historical section starts in 1541, when Calvin forbade the wearing of jewelry, forcing artisans to turn to making timepieces. It follows the industry through the development of guilds in the 1600s, the exporting of more than 60,000 watches annually by the late 1700s, the creation of a pendant winding watch in the 1800s and the development of machinery to mass-produce watches this century.

The section on “Timely Tips” contains current statistics, an explanation of how modern watches work and a definition of trade terminology.

The book also contains a brand-name listing of distributors and service facilities in the U.S.; a directory of material supply houses with a subheading, including batteries, dial refinishers, tools, equipment, watch attachments and materials; and a section listing antique watch and clock resources, antique watch associations, auction houses, watch and clock museums, watchmaking schools, Swiss consulates, trade publications and industry associations.

The format has few illustrations. Two simplified drawings depict the mechanical movement and a schematic view of the quartz movement. The front cover shows a three-rotor quartz movement and a light view of a calendar dial. The rear cover illustrates an exploded view of the IWC’s tourbillon wristwatch escapement.

In all, this is a concise catalog of the Swiss industry and its services. There are some omissions (the list of watch and clock museums fails to include the American Watchmakers Institute Museum, in existence for almost 20 years). Still, it’s a handy guide for anyone in the watch and jewelry trade. It’s available from The Watchmakers of Switzerland Information Center at 608 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y. ­ Henry B. Fried, JCK Horological Editor, JCK Book Judge.

A TIFFANY JEWEL

The Jewelry and Enamels of Louis Comfort Tiffany, by Janet Zapata. 1993. 176 pages. 84 color, 66 black/ white illustrations. $39.95. (JCK Data Center AA-047) Call (212) 206-7715.

While the last thing the world needs is another book about Tiffany, this one is as magnificent as his work. It is oversized, slick and very detailed, printed on high gloss, coated paper, depicting Tiffany’s explorations into fine jewelry and stained glass.

The author worked for Tiffany & Co. archives for a number of years and had access to all appropriate materials. The book begins with Tiffany’s early life and how his aesthetic principles were developed. It also details his father’s life and influences beginning with his business ventures in the 1830s, when he established a radical one-price system so merchandise actually had one price instead of being subject to the normal haggling and negotiating.

Tiffany’s early artistic years were instrumental in his later work. He used subtle suggestive colors rather than bright, glaring ones, believing people like to see what they can’t. This philosophy was transferred to his jewelry, where he usually avoided pure-colored gemstones such as rubies, sapphires and emeralds, preferring instead opals, jades and moonstones. He seldom used white diamonds, which he considered too monochromatic.

Tiffany had great respect for research and had his people explore and create new enamels as well as use old Japanese alloys such as shakudo and shibuici.

According to the author, “Tiffany sought to unite the various divisions of his growing organization under one direction. His idea of a great workshop with himself as head resembles the famous Renaissance and Baroque ateliers in which artists like Titian and Rubens maintained a staff of apprentices and assistants who carried out their orders. But instead of focusing on only one area, painting, Tiffany wanted to combine all aspects of the decorative arts within one management.”

He accomplished most of this, and his work remains a successful monument to the philosophy of fusing a variety of media, including glass, metal, ceramic and stone. Tiffany had the vision to blend the right combinations of materials into unique designs and also the foresight to recognize and take advantage of the abilities of superior workers. He often placed women in high positions of authority, a rare occurence in those times.

All things considered, the book is first class in all respects. It’s sure to appeal to collectors, historians, museum personnel and all who appreciate fine jewelry, metalwork and enamels. ­ Mark S. Baldridge, Art Department, Longwood College, Farmville, Va.; JCK Book Judge.

ON THE CUFF

Cuff Jewelry: A Historical Account for Collectors and Antique Dealers, by Howard L. Bell Jr. 1995. 102 pages, 80 color illustrations. $35. (JCK Data Center OY-001) Call (816) 358-1412.

Howard Bell has collected and studied cuff links for more than two decades, undertaking research in more than 30 states along the way. When he was unable to find a publisher willing to create the full-color book he correctly felt the material needed, he undertook the task himself ­ good for him.

Physically, the book has all the quirks of a first-time project. If it were a house, the floors would tilt, the doors would be too low and the hot water would be on the right. I don’t care for the heavy borders that surround the text pages, and I find it regrettable that so many examples are forced to share space on each crowded page, though I understand the economic constraints that probably mandated this.

The book begins with an introduction to the history of cuff links and the pins, fibulas and toggles that preceded them. Then it offers concise descriptions of historical styles, manufacturing techniques and materials that a collector of cuff links will encounter. The value of these sections is in their brevity, which even the most reluctant reader can handle with ease.

The purpose of this book is to document the 1,200 cuff links it shows and to share the author’s zeal for the topic. There can be no question it succeeds. Everyone interested in cuff links is invited to treat themselves to a special book that defies the conventional mold. ­ Tim McCreight, Head, Department of Metalsmithing and Jewelry, Maine College of Arts; JCK Book Judge.

ANTIQUE WATCH GUIDE

The Camerer Cuss Book of Antique Watches. 1994. 336 pages. 380 black/ white, eight color illustrations. $69.50. (JCK Data Center JJ-063) Call (800) 252-5231.

This is one of the best books on the history of watches available. It’s a revised and expanded version of the 1967 edition, which was a revision of the 1952 The Story of Watches.

It begins with growing evidence that watches appeared in the 1480s, diminishing the myth that Peter Henlein invented the mainspring in the 1500s. Unlike Cuss’s earlier editions, all the illustrations are in a separate section called “Illustrated Chronology of Watches.” Larger and clearer, they present a pictorial history of the watch’s development.

A section devoted to the chronological advancement of watch technology features photos and detailed descriptions of watches of those periods. The earliest is a Nuremberg stackfreed dated 1548. Later, drum and globe timepieces made their appearance, some with alarm and calendric services.

By the early 17th century, fusees with gut were introduced in Dutch, French and English watches. Examples are shown with six finely filagreed dial divisions, champlevé dials, repousée cases and, with the advent of the late 17th century hairspring, hour and minute hands.

Eighteenth century timepieces with typical examples of technological improvements include some repeating watches and escapement variations.

Another era in the development of “keyless” winding includes under-the-dial illustrations. Others illustrate peculiar dial and hand arrangements, as well as self-winding pocket watches of the early 19th century. Also explained are many variations in watch escapements, including tourbillon and other attempts to correct inherent errors.

American watches are not neglected. Rare 1855 Dennison, Howard and Davis, Appleton & Tracy Co., E. Howard, Tremont, Fasoldt and Potter’s watches are included.

The formal section of this book ends with a 15-page exposition of the history and products of Usher and Cole, the English company that began business in 1861. This section could be considered an appendix, having little bearing on the direct development of the watch. The book’s final 26 pages are devoted to a “Glossary of Terms” encountered by horologists.

This book is one of the best in explanation of textual information and illustrative material. ­ Henry B. Fried, JCK horological editor; JCK Book Judge.

DOCUMENTING THE CLASSICS

Classical Gems: Ancient and Modern Intaglios and Cameos in the Fitzwilliam Museum, by Martin Henig. 1995. 538 pages. 1,073 illustrations. $275. (JCK Data Center HC-002) Call (212) 924-3900.

This book demands instant respect. It’s beautiful, superb and stately with pages printed on the thickest, most expensive coated paper available.

Actually, it’s a serious documentation of the Fitzwilliam Museum’s collection of Greek and Roman seal-stones, cameos and engraved rings and of its holding of much later gems in the same tradition.

Gems cut intaglio, the book says, “were mainly used as signets for sealing documents and were valued from remote antiquity for their artistry.”

All types of seals, scarabs, ringstones and impressions of their stampings are pictured, often depicting heroic and mythological scenes full of energy, such as charging bears. A study of these objects is an education into their creators’ histories, cultures, values and activities. The book discusses the various collections, how they were assembled through generous gifts and purchases, and how it became fashionable to collect them. The book is extremely thorough in its detail.

High-contrast black-and-white photographs document more than 1,000 objects with an average of 2 1/2 photos per page.

This book is scholarly, thorough and a necessity for all museums, university libraries and anyone else interested in the documentation of amulets and this topic. ­ Mark Baldridge, Art Department, Longwood College, Farmville, Va.; JCK Book Judge.

TIME & MUSIC

The Musical Clock: Musical and Automaton Clocks and Watches, by Arthur W.G. Ord-Hume. 1995. 350 pages. 49 color, 318 black/white illustrations. $79.95 plus $3 postage. (JCK Data Center OL-001)

This beautifully illustrated book contains much information on many famous and varied types of musical timepieces. Among the 13 chapters are those on chiming clocks and those using strings instead of bells, gongs or tubes. Of course, the book also covers timepieces with bells, as well as dulcimer clocks and organ pipe clocks, some with automatons.

The author, founder and long-time president of the Music Box Society of Great Britain and editor of its journal, has written 14 other books on mechanical music and horology. Among the 315 illustrations in this book are many attractive and highly complicated clocks with musical devices. In the chapter on “Chiming Clocks and Their Chimes,” Ord-Hume annotates 56 musical melodies, 27 of which are found in church towers or famous buildings.

In the following chapter, the author says chiming clocks are not the same as musical clocks. Chiming clocks have certain restrictions since “one octave of eight natural notes offers a scale of C and, frankly, too small a compass,” he says. While in a strict sense this is true, Beethoven’s melody in his Ninth Symphony and its “Ode to Joy” uses only six notes for the full melody.

A chart of musical clock types has four main categories: organ, string, glockenspiel and combwork. These are broken into 31 subdivisions.

The book describes and pictures many longcase clocks, some with many bells and multiple hammers. Drawings show the many types of bells, gongs, tubes and hammer linkages.

In the chapter “Organ Playing Clocks,” the author credits Frederick the Great for bringing “some of the best Swiss clockmakers” to set up an industry in Germany. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Franz Joseph Haydn and the Wolfgang Mozart are credited with special melodies for use in clocks, some of which are shown in color with separate views of their mechanisms.

Musical animation in watches, discussed in a 14-page chapter, is said to go back as far as 1720. In fact, an 82-page section is devoted to “Makers of Musical & Automaton Clocks and Watches.”

This book is highly recommended to every serious clockmaker and collector of clocks. ­ Henry B. Fried, JCK horological editor; JCK Book Judge.

EMERALDS & TANZANITES

Emerald and Tanzanite Buying Guide, by Renee Newman. 1996. 154 pages. 88 color, three black/white illustrations. $19.95. (JCK Data Center AV-022 Call (513) 381-3881.

This is a handsome, oversized paperback oriented as a sales tool for the buying public. “You don’t need to know how to mine a gem to buy one,” says the author. “It is better to spend $20 and the time to read this book, than several hundreds or thousands and look at an inferior stone for the rest of your life while regretting your bad purchase” ­ all of which is true.

The book is devoted to ensuring that consumers know about emeralds and tanzanites by providing general information on weights, cutting styles, terms, shapes, color grading, treatments and synthetics. It also discusses historical elements, technical details on faceting, pricing guidelines, clarity tests, hints for cleaning and caring for stones, proper lighting for evaluation and suggestions on selecting gems and jewelry. Many high-quality color photos on crisp coated paper are sprinkled throughout.

The author is a certified gemologist with extensive knowledge of all aspects of gems, pricing structures and gem centers, including South America, Asia and the South Pacific.

Anyone considering the purchase of an emerald or tanzanite should read this book. Mark Baldridge, Art Department, Longwood College, Farmville, Va.; JCK Book Judge.

SILVER CHECKLIST

Miller’s Silver and Plate Antique Checklist, by John Wilson. 1994. 192 pages. $14.95. (JCK Data Center JJ-053) Call (800) 252-5231.

This fully illustrated guide offers a fast and accurate way to identify, date and evaluate antique silver. The handy size (33 1/4-by-71 1/2 in.) makes it easy to carry for the collector or appraiser to use on the spot.

The guide is organized by item (such as candlesticks, drinking vessels, jugs). Each category is illustrated with a representative item that can usually be found in antique stores or auction houses. Captions give the date and dimensions of the piece shown and a code for the price range. A checklist of questions gives you the key to recognizing, dating and authenticating antique pieces of the type shown. Useful background information is provided about the craftsman, factory or type of ware.

The facing page illustrates what details to look for in the piece.

This is an excellent introductory course for the beginner and also serves as a reference for those with some collecting experience. I recommend it. Robert M. Johnston, R.M. Johnston & Associates, Baltimore, Md.; JCK Book Judge.

ADDING THE POLISH

The Techniques of Master Gem Polishing, by Gerald L. Wykoff. 311 pages. 1994. 182 black/white illustrations. $24.50. (JCK Data Center JR-007) Call (717) 741-2469.

This book is a comprehensive overview of the techniques, tools and knowledge needed to apply a fine polish to all types of gemstones. The major sections include gem polishing theory, techniques, self-made equipment, special polishing procedures, and equipment and tools. The topics of each section are thoroughly discussed in an easy-to-read, conversational manner. The book also is packed full of tables, lists, charts and appendices containing valuable information.

The book is specifically for lapidaries (faceters and cabochon cutters), beginners as well as experts. It has a few drawbacks, including several poor illustrations, typographical errors and lack of organization. But it’s definitely a book you can use when you have a question or need an idea for tackling a tough polishing problem. You’ll get your money’s worth of suggestions and advice. ­ Roma Strong Zanders, Timio 24K Custom Designs, Tempe, Ariz.; JCK Book Judge.