In last week's Wednesday Blog, we brought you Part I of AAJ's recommended jewelry books. This week, without further ado, we will finish where we started with Part II of this page-turner. Focusing on books about collections and guides to understanding jewelry, this post will give you all the literature you need to choose your next jewelry research adventure.

Rings I and II: Alice and Louis Koch Collection by Ann Beatriz Chadour (1994)

Best for: All serious collectors and dealers; it's an encyclopedia of rare rings that everyone wishes they could own

This absolute AAJ fave is a bible for rings. With 1980 rings within the two volumes of this beautiful book, the Alice and Louis Koch collection is cataloged here with incredible detail. The Koch collection is perhaps the biggest collection of rings aside from that of the British Museum’s, with pieces spanning over 4000 years of jewelry making. As well as displaying the enormous collection in full color with multiple angled views, these pages are filled with context about history, religion, and social customs surrounding the rings. All the most unusual and beautiful rings are in this book, including micro ivories, gimmel rings, cameos, rings that squirt water, sundial rings, telescope rings, watch rings... the list is endless. This is a must-have for any serious collector and dealer. The set is very hard to find and very expensive, but if you find it anywhere, snap it up!

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★★★

The Beverley Collection of Gems At Alnwick Castle by Diana Scarisbrick, Claudia Wagner and John Boardman (2016)

Best for: Intaglio and cameo rings, beautifully photographed.

This impressive but little-known collection was begun in the early eighteenth century and grew to such renown that the Empress Catherine of Russia was said to be envious. This book details the widely varied collection, ranging from Greek to Roman to Etruscan, and even includes a notable jewel that inspired Michelangelo’s painting of Adam in the Sistine Chapel.

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★★

Understanding Jewellery by David Bennett and Daniela Mascetti (1989)

Best for: A great resource book for jewelry lovers and dealers alike, looking for a good understanding of jewelry from the late 18th century to the late 20th century.

This book is a wonderful introduction to the practicalities of understanding jewelry. A large portion of the book details gem identification techniques, however, the book also provides an overview of jewelry’s history as well as just being a feast for the eyes with its stunning images and presentation. The New York Journal of Books describes it as ‘a delightful and presentation worthy coffee table book’ as well as ‘an inviting educational tool with exhaustive encyclopedic explanations of jewelry.’

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★★★

Looking at Jewelry: A Guide to Terms, Styles and Techniques by Susanne Gänsicke and Yvonne J. Markowitz (2019)

Best for: Concise knowledge about makers’ terms and techniques.

Largely practical, this volume is geared toward jewelry makers, scholars, scientists, students, and fashionistas alike. It opens with a cultural history of jewelry and its production, before moving onto a detailed catalog of concise explanations of jewelry terms and techniques.

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★

The Art of Jewellery: Flora, Fauna, and Figures & Faces by Patrick Mauriès and Évelyne Possémé (2017-18)

Best for: A chance to see some of the collection from Musée des Arts Décoratifs: not much text but lots of images.

This three-volume set surveys the collection at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. After the Louvre, this museum has the largest collection of jewelry in France. The volumes are separated by genre, with Flora focusing on floral imagery in jewelry, Fauna focusing on the symbolism of animals, and Figures & Faces focusing of course on the human figure. These books are made up of small, digestible sections, each exploring the symbolism and themes of various figures in Jewelry.

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★

Le Grand Frisson: 500 Years of Jewels of Sentiment by Diana Scarisbrick (2008)

Best for: True Romance.

Published as a companion to the 2008 exhibition of the same name at Chaumet Paris, this edition is available in French and English. The notes were written by the esteemed Diana Scarisbrick (prior to translation by Isabelle Lucas for the French version). The book itself is stunning, with full-color illustrations. Beautifully organized and instructive, this book is another must-have for all sentimental jewelry lovers.

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★★★

Diamonds: The Collection of Benjamin Zucker by Diana Scarisbrick (2019)

Best for: A detailed look at Benjamin Zucker's magnificent diamond collection.

This book accompanied an exhibition at Les Enluminures, New York. Cataloging the collection of Benjamin Zucker, ‘the king of gems’, and a famous historical jewel dealer, this survey has an impressive collection of diamonds and precious stones, with stunning photography. A chance to lust after rare diamond pieces that mere mortals would never be able to afford!

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★

Kunstgewerbemuseum der Stadt Köln: Schmuck I & II by Anna Beatriz Chadour Sampson and Rüdiger Joppien (1985)

Best for: Serious dealers and collectors.

These two volumes, written in German, survey the collection of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Cologne. Mostly in black and white, these books are a meticulously detailed catalog of the museum’s various jewelry pieces, and Volume II is even entirely dedicated to rings alone. These volumes are invaluable for jewelry research.

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★★

Rings by Rachel Church (2014)

Best for: Fabulous photographs of the V&A's ring collection, at an affordable price.

This book tells the story of rings via the V&A’s extensive collection. The pieces and eras covered span medieval to art deco gems, as well as including a section on contemporary design.

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★★

An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry by Harold Newman (1987)

Best for: A great encyclopedia of Jewellery terms; a useful reference book.

This dictionary focuses on terms related to jewelry making processes, gemstone descriptions and classifications, and some brief biographies of key historical jewelry designers. It is illustrated with black and white photographs and some line drawings.

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★

Schmuck 1780-1850 by Brigitte Marquardt (1983)

Best for: Brilliant researching, especially regarding romantic 18th-century German jewellery.

Unless you are a German speaker, you will need to translate this book. However, it's totally worth the effort. This hardback features 578 images in chronological order, lots of side by side comparisons and beautiful original jewellery drawings and sketches. There are extensive sections on Berlin Iron Jewellery, German Biedermeier jewellery, micro ivory rings and pendants, ouroboros earrings and other wondrous pieces from the late 18th to early 19th century. A great reference book!

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★★★

See Antique Animal Jewelry's beautiful antique jewelry collection for sale here.

#antiquejewelry #dianascarisbrick #collectorsbooks #jewelryhistory #jewelryresearch #referencebooksforjewelrylovers


Whether you’re a jewelry collector, wearer, buyer, or simply an admirer, a good way to expand your knowledge is by diving into some of the best books in the field. But where to start?

Antique Animal Jewelry has compiled a list of the very best jewelry history books to either begin your jewelry journey or to further boost your knowledge of the field. This blog will come in two parts, so look out for the next post coming soon, which will focus on reference books and specific collections. For now, read on to find out some of AAJ’s recommendations, and exactly what they’re useful for.

Diamond Jewelry: 700 Years of Glory and Glamour by Diana Scarisbrick (2019)

Best for: fabulous photography of the most exquisite diamond jewelry ever made, with a focus on who commissioned and wore these glorious pieces.

This luxurious, glossy hardback centers itself on the people behind the jewelry. Arranged chronologically, Diamond Jewelry follows the contextual histories, ownership biographies, and aesthetics of diamond jewelry from the mid-14th century up until the opening of mines in South Africa in 1867.

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★★★

Rings: Symbols of Wealth, Power and Affection by Diana Scarisbrick (1993)

Best for: a chronological look at the history of rings with particularly good detail on the medieval era.

This book showcases over 480 examples of rings from the medieval to the modern. With a particularly impressive roster of medieval and renaissance rings as well as portrait-ring pairings, this book is organized chronologically, offering a good overview of the history of rings.

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★★★

Rings: Jewelry of Power, Love and Loyalty by Diana Scarisbrick and James Fenton (2007)

Best for: an overview of some of the most beautiful rings throughout history, with gorgeous detailed photographs and more 18th and 19th-century rings than the first book.

This well-loved book, not to be confused with Rings: Symbols of Wealth, Power and Affection (above), is organized thematically rather than chronologically. Its focus is primarily on the 18th and 19th centuries. Each piece is explored in terms of symbolism within history, alongside quotations, illustrations, and photographs.

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★★★

Earrings From Antiquity to the Present by Daniela Mascetti and Amanda Triossi (1999)

Best for: a detailed look at earrings throughout history.

From prehistory to modern times, this book covers a definitive history of earrings, beginning with the spread of the fashion of wearing earrings from Ancient Egypt to Mycenae, to Greece and Rome. The book has a brilliant selection of illustrations covering every period and style mentioned.

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★

Jewels & Jewellery by Clare Phillips (2000)

Best for: A glimpse into the collection at the V&A.

This A-Z guide to Western jewelry featuring the V&A collection takes a three-pronged approach, considering the history of western jewelry regarding materials used by jewelers, the development of styles from the Middle Ages up to contemporary designs, as well as the distribution, ownership and hallmarking of jewelry over recent centuries. The result is a wide survey of all kinds of historical jewelry, spanning medieval to renaissance, art nouveau, and 21st-century jewelry.

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★

Jewellery in Britain: 1066-1837 by Diana Scarisbrick (2000)

Best for: A detailed look at the history of British Jewelry, illustrated with pieces from private collections, not otherwise easily accessible.

From the Norman Conquest to the accession of Queen Victoria, this wide-reaching book is a must-have for British jewelry enthusiasts. Diana Scarisbrick is a leading jewelry historian, and by detailing not only the history of beautiful jewels but also showing them in their social and societal contexts, this book is beautifully illustrated with pieces that enhance Scarisbrick’s extensive research.

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★

The Power of Love: Jewels, Romance and Eternity by Beatriz Chadour-Sampson (2019)

Best for: drooling over rare sentimental jewelry.

A relatively short book at only 135 pages, this exploration of sentimental jewelry is as concise as it is informative. With a particular focus on wedding and courtship rings, this fully color-illustrated book is ideal for the romantic among us. There are some extremely rare and exquisite rings to be found in this one's pages!

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★★★

French Jewelry of the Nineteenth Century by Henri Vever (2001 edition)

Best for: Contemporary knowledge of a historical era; weightlifting (this book is a hefty 1312 pages!)

It's expensive, but useful for the advanced collector.

This enormous, encyclopedic book was first published as three separate volumes in 1906-08. Henry Vever was a prominent jeweler in Paris throughout his life (1854-1942) and the benefit of his knowledge is that it is totally contemporary; this book was not written by a historian but by a working jeweler of the time. The volume is certainly meaty, with over 1400 illustrations and 136 color photographs to dig your teeth into.

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★

Jewellery in the Age of Queen Victoria by Charlotte Gere and Judy Rudoe (2010)

Best for: a fantastic reference book for dating pieces of Victorian jewelry, and getting a sense of that era.

The ‘age of Victoria’ covered in this book not only explores Victorian Britain but Europe and America too, from the perspective of foreign trade. Oriented toward the social aspects of jewelry, links with other disciplines provide a full picture of what jewelry meant in Victorian society. Whether it was the jewelry written into stories by novelists to denote hidden meaning in certain characters, or the jewelry of luxurious oil paintings, this book is filled with analysis, commentary, and images.

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★★★

Traditional Jewellery in Nineteenth-Century Europe by Jane Perry (2013)

Best for: gaining an insight into Folk jewelry from the V&A collection.

Traditional jewelry here means to say jewelry historically worn with national and traditional costumes. Wearing this kind of national jewelry from European countries was in fact very popular during 19th century Britain, so this book curates a wide selection of pieces from various countries to demonstrate the wide varieties and intricacies of the category. Highlights include gilded Norwegian wedding crowns and filigree clasps from the Balkans.

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★

Georgian Jewellery 1714-1830 by Ginny Redington Dawes with Olivia Collings (2007)

Best for: a must-have for Georgian jewelry fans.

This AAJ fave is a light, refreshing counter to some of the heavy academic books sometimes written around this period. With the goal to ‘encourage people to realize this lovely jewelry is as beautiful an adornment today as it was over two hundred years ago,’ this volume may tickle and delight you as you look over portraits, caricatures, and even gossip nuggets about famous Georgians of the time.

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★★★

Jewellery 1789-1910: The International Era by Shirley Bury (1991)

Best for: a great reference book for the Georgian and Victorian jewelry collector.

Jewellery 1789-1910 is packed with information about development in jewelry design within Europe, but also within a worldwide context. Shirley Bury, a leading jewelry historian, covers all manner of accessories, from royal jewelry to mass-produced wares. This is actually a two-volume set that splits at 1862, for full coverage and analysis of the years presented.

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★★★★

7000 Years of Jewelry edited by Hugh Tait (2007)

Best for: a general overview of jewelry history, organized by country.

This impressive sweep of history does what it says in the title: it covers a hugely varied timespan of jewelry, beginning with pieces made as early as 5000 BC. Covering worldwide techniques, materials, and symbolism, 400 well-selected photographs make up this ‘mind-boggling feat’ of a book, according to the New York Times Book Review.

AAJ's Must-Have-o-Meter: ★★

See Antique Animal Jewelry's beautiful antique jewelry collection for sale here.

#jewelrybook #dianascarisbrick #vandajewellery #antiquejewelryreference


Queen Charlotte (1744-1818), consort of George III, was said to have been a good-humored, faithful and lively queen whose legacy stretches far and wide even now.

Charlotte, North Carolina is named in her honor, and statues of her still stand there to this day. Historian Mario de Valdes y Cocom claims that the Queen was the first biracial or black royal, which is now a fairly popular theory. Queen Charlotte was also a close friend of Marie Antoinette’s. She birthed 15 children, including two future monarchs, George IV and William IV. She was said to have had an impact on a young Mozart’s career, as well as being avidly interested in botany and taking a great interest in Kew Gardens. The South African flower, bird of paradise, is even named in her honor, as strelitzia reginae.

So who was this remarkable woman, and more importantly, what was her jewelry like?

Queen Charlotte was born Sophia Charlotte of the duchy Mecklenburg-Strelitz in North Germany, in the Holy Roman Empire, in 1744. She was chosen to marry George III in 1761 at just 17 years old, whilst George III was 22 at the time. In 1762, she gave birth to her first of 15 children with George III. She remained her husband "Mad King George’s" guardian from the onset of his permanent madness in 1811 until her death in 1818.

State portrait of Queen Charlotte by Allan Ramsay, 1761-2.

Writing in the early 19th century, Allan Cunningham recounted that the Crown Jewels and regalia were sent to painter Allan Ramsay's studio in Harley Street for him to paint from life, and that "sentinels were accordingly posted day and night in front and rear of his house."

(Via Diana Scarisbrick's Diamond Jewelry: 700 Years of Glory and Glamour)

Photo: © National Portrait Gallery, London. Studio of Allan Ramsay, c.1762.

Queen Charlotte in state robes, wearing a jewelled sprig in her hair, a diamond necklace, her great diamond stomacher (made in three sections for flexibility) and pearls on her wrists. These were all part of her marriage jewelry of 1761, presented to her by George III. Charlotte's left hand touches her crown, which was also included in her wedding jewelry.

(Via Clare Phillips' Jewels and Jewellery)

Surveyor of the Queen’s pictures Desmond Shaw-Taylor is quoted as saying "she was famously ugly," whilst Dickens described her as "a queen with a plain face" in A Tale of Two Cities. Personal beauty (or lack thereof) aside, however, throughout her life she wore and owned a number of beautiful and rare jewels.

These three portraits of Charlotte, all by Thomas Frye, are like a jewelry-lover's game of spot the difference.

Left: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Portrait of Queen Charlotte by Thomas Frye. (Via Ginny Redington Dawes' Georgian Jewellery)

Middle: © National Portrait Gallery, Portrait of Queen Charlotte by Thomas Frye, 1762.

Right: © National Portrait Gallery, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Queen of George III, wearing part of her marriage jewelry of 1761, including the 'family pearls'. Drawn from life and engraved by Frye; published on 24 May 1762. (Via Shirley Bury's Jewellery 1789-1910: The Industrial Era)

Both George III and his uncle, the Duke of York, gifted Charlotte a number of fine pearls. In 1765, Shah Alam, the Mogul Emperor, also gave George III a selection of jewelry including "an exceedingly fine string of pearls, with an awbray (a breast ornament in the form of a cluster of jewels) studded with diamonds" as well as a number of other diamond and gold articles (Michael L. Nash in Royal Wills).

Queen Charlotte probably by Johann Zoffany, 1771.

Here she wears a miniature of her husband, George III, as the centrepiece of her bracelet, which was a betrothal present.

(Via Diana Scarisbrick's Portrait Jewels: Opulence and Intimacy from the Medici to the Romanovs)

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020

This ring was given to Queen Charlotte by the King on their wedding day, 8 September 1761. Charlotte Papendiek records that part of the King’s "particular present" to his bride was "a diamond hoop ring of a size not to stand higher than the wedding ring, to which it was to serve as a guard." She added, "On that finger the Queen never allowed herself to wear any other in addition, although fashion at times almost demanded it." (Via RCT)

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020

Gold and Diamond ring belonging to Queen Charlotte, c. 1810.

(Via RCT)

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020

Gold and Opal ring belonging to Queen Charlotte, c. 1810.

(Via RCT)

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020

1734 Jewel Casket with tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl, gold, ivory, diamonds, ruby and enamel. This was bought by Queen Charlotte in 1763.

(Via RCT)

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020

Clasp containing the hair of King George III and Queen Charlotte, decorated with gold, enamel, hair, rubies and diamonds. The ouroboros surrounding the hair symbolizes eternity.

(Via RCT)

Despite her wide and rich collection of jewelry, Charlotte’s most famous jewels were undoubtedly the renowned Arcot diamonds. The two 33.7 and 23.65 carat pear-shaped diamonds were gifted to her by the Nawab of Arcot alongside 3 other smaller diamonds, as a declaration of his love and respect for the British monarchy.

As they were a gift given to her by another monarch, the diamonds were classified within her personal collection, meaning that she was free to do what she liked with them within her will. Indeed, they were given special attention in her will, as she detailed that she would like them to be sold to Rundell & Bridge, jewelers to the Crown, with their earnings divided between her four surviving daughters:

"Those (jewels) presented to me by the Nawab of Arcot, to my four remaining daughters, or to the survivors or survivor in case they or any of them should die before me, and I direct that these jewels should be sold and that the produce...shall be divided among them, my said remaining daughters or their survivors, share and share alike." Queen Charlotte quoted in Michael L. Nash's Royal Wills.

Photo: Keith Corrigan/Alamy Stock Photo

Portrait of Queen Charlotte, probably wearing the Arcot diamonds, by Esther Dennier, 1761.

(Via Christie's)

Queen Charlotte’s son, the Prince of Wales, later to become George IV, however, went against Charlotte’s will and appropriated the diamonds himself. He had them set into his coronation crown in 1821, as an attempt to create a new crown of England. The crown was dismantled two years later, however, after George IV failed to persuade parliament of the necessity of buying the hired jewels that constituted the rest of the crown. After George IV’s death, the diamonds were set on a coronation crown of Queen Adelaide in 1831, but again were dismounted soon after. At last in 1834, Queen Charlotte’s wishes were carried out and the Arcots were sold to Rundell & Bridge.

From there, the diamonds were bought by Robert Grosvenor, the first Marquess of Westminster, as a gift for his wife in 1837. They were used as drop earrings as a family heirloom in the Grosvenor family for almost a century before being set into the Westminster Tiara in 1930. The tiara featured the Arcot diamonds alongside 1,421 others in a halo shape.

Loelia, Duchess of Westminster in the Westminster tiara. Cecil Beaton, 1931.

Image: Royal Jewels of the World (Via Barneby's)

The diamonds have since been dismounted from the tiara. They have passed from owner to owner and have been recut more than once. Most recently, the Arcot II was sold by Christie's to a private buyer in 2019, fetching an astounding USD 3,375,000.

Arcot II, the smaller of the two diamonds, as photographed by Christie's.

So, Queen Charlotte: botany lover, possible black royal, mother to 15. But most importantly? A clear jewelry icon.

See Antique Animal Jewelry's beautiful Georgian and Victorian pieces here.

#WednesdayBlog #GeorgianJewelry #Diamonds #QueenCharlotte #HerStoryInJewels #WomanCrushWednesday #JewelryIcon

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