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  • Writer's pictureValerieBound

My favorite jewelry books

Gem gals, I don’t have to tell you how much I love jewelry. But did you know I love books just as much? Because I do! And of course, with jewelry books combining two of my favorite passions, I’m bound to have quite the collection! My family often jokes our home is like a library! Why thank you, I’ll take that as a compliment.

As a gemologist (GG, GIA), writer and blogger, my reputation is important to me. I want everyone who visits this blog to feel like they’re getting quality information from a professional. I mean, of course, I share my opinions, but I want you to feel like the gemstone and jewelry information is solid.

So people, I’m here to tell you I READ A LOT! Both print and online. I also attend different conferences and trainings and visit museums who are having exhibitions on jewelry! But that’s all for another blog post. Today I want to share some of my favorite jewelry books, and tell you how I use them.

So let’s get started.

Favorite Jewelry Books – Short

I think the world of Fred Ward, he was a world-renowned photographer, author, gemologist, and world traveler. (Sadly, he just passed away in July.) I will happily buy any book he puts out. These little paperbacks are packed full of great info. In less than 70 pages, he covers the history of the gemstone, where you can find it, different types, and buying and caring for it. All of these and more are in my library:

Favorite Jewelry Books – Longer

These books are not ones to read cover to cover. They’re reference materials. Like the one below. It looks at gemstones and how they’re used in jewelry. The best way to cut them, how easy they are to get, etc. I use this book to help me identify fake jewelry.

This book’s author, Richard Wise, travels the world to get great gems. How cool is that! He’s a great storyteller, and the book is pretty fun for having lots of technical information about specific gemstones. Being a gem trader and traveling all over the world is my fantasy job, and Richard is my idol. So I use this book for inspiration.

This excellent book just came out recently, and I am ALWAYS referring to it! It’s got historical context for gems and jewelry, and highlights really cool stories that I hadn’t heard of. Plus, the photography in the book is stunning!

This book is a who’s who of royalty, Hollywood, and the wealthy. And of of course, the beautiful jewelry they owned. I use this book to see specific pieces, and connect the dots between time periods, fashion, and artists. It’s a bit dated, I will say. The most recent entires are people who were living their best lives in the 1950’s. Still, though, a book I refer to often.

This book has tons of Hollywood stories about jewelry from movies. It’s definitely more modern, showcasing series like Sex and the City, and actresses like Debra Messing and Halle Berry, and First Lady Michelle Obama. This book gives me all sorts of ideas for future blog posts. As an example, the cover of the book has a Verdura heart, which I had never seen or heard about before. So hello, future blog post about hearts in jewelry!

Favorite Jewelry Books – Fun

This next book is about some guys who robbed a vault in Antwerp and made off with millions in diamonds! It’s a great book, and helped me understand how diamonds are bought and sold and stored all over the world. I’m pretty far from having any criminal aspirations, but all the commentary on how bad guys do things was certainly entertaining.

This next book, by Aja Raden, is hilarious! She basically covers the history of the world using gems and jewelry. If you think about it, she says, history is a great bug treasure hunt. She has an irreverent style that I found really engaging. This book is a New York times bestseller for a reason!  Plus, she talks about my icon, Faberge.

Favorite Online Resources

Of course, there are plenty of places I go to online, too! I’m a blogger, after all, the internet is my life!

Lang Antiques, based in San Francisco, is an impressive place to get yourself some awesome antique jewelry. One of the best on the West Coast. And one of the co-owners, Suzanne Martinez, is absolutely fabulous. I’ve heard her speak before. But they also offer a wealth of great information through Antique Jewelry University (AJU), which they refer to as a “dynamic online encyclopedia.” It has tons of info on jewelry terms, gemstones, and famous jewelry makers.

Then there’s Ganoskin, an online community of jewelry makers. I like to go there to learn about new techniques.

And finally, JCK magazine is focused on retail jewelers. They’re my main source for keeping up with the industry. I get their every-other-month paper magazine, but their online site has good stuff too (like All That Glitters). And they feature new designers all the time.

What are your favorites?

Obviously, I have MANY more books in my personal library! Sometimes I talk about them on instagram, so be sure to follow me if you’re someone who uses that platform. And seriously, email me at if you ever need good jewelry book recommendations. I am always happy to talk to fellow readers!

But tell me, do you have any jewelry books in your house? If so, what are they?


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