Book Reviews


Collecting Antique Stickpins, by Jack and Elynore Kerins. 1995. 128 pages. $16.95. (JCK Data Center CP-025) To order call (813) 796-9663.

Jack and Elynore Kerins have one of the largest stickpin collections in the country. In their book, they divide their 2,500 pins into several useful categories, reflecting popular motifs such as horseshoe, hearts, bows, dragons, crescents and wishbones, as well as by colored stones.

Within each category, the authors describe each pin, including its value and time period. Any jeweler serious about estate jewelry will find the book helpful for putting into context the many stickpins still available on the market. – Penn Fix, George R. Dodson Inc., Spokane, Wash; JCK Book Judge.


Pearls, by Fred Ward. 1995. 64 pages. 120 color illustrations. $14.95. (JCK Data Center IC-003) To order call (301) 983-1990.

This is the fourth volume in a promised series of booklets on gemstones with, as we have come to expect, beautiful illustrations. Ward is famed for such photographs, most of which were first published in National Geographic. Ward’s interest in gemstones led him to study them, finally becoming a GIA Graduate Gemologist with what now amounts to be a professional interest in the field.

The book offers a detailed review of the pearl market, including the wares, the sources and the outlook. The latter is in turmoil at the moment, with the South Seas and China rapidly becoming important players, threatening Japan’s historical domination. The author knowledgably examines this new stage in a continuing saga.

It is, however, amusing to find a tyro boasting first-time divulgence of “original” discoveries. Ward claims it is now a great secret that all Japanese pearls are bleached and dyed, yet the fact was openly discussed and common knowledge in my day. Indeed, it was written about years ago by others, including this reviewer. Sun on a rooftop was then the primary bleach; the process likely is more accelerated and sophisticated today.

Good though the book is, this reviewer feels in general that Ward skipped some of the stops he should have made. – Frederick H. Pough, Ph.D., Reno, Nev.; JCK Book Judge.