Friday, June 5, 2009

Jeweled Garden

Jeweled Garden: A Colorful History of Gems, Jewelry, and Nature --- Authors Tennenbaum and Zapata (The Jeweled Menagerie: The World of Animals in Gems) leave no stone unturned in their gorgeous, comprehensive history of botanical motifs in jewelry from the Victorian period to the present. The relatively narrow focus of the book allows the authors room to treat their topic in depth, spotlighting every aspect of the oeuvre in a manner rarely seen in books for laypersons. Chapters cover different time periods and movements (naturalism, exoticism, Art Deco), relying on a conventional structure: a few paragraphs of background information give way to detailed descriptions of the pieces. The text complements the jewelry in precision, if not in whimsy or beauty. Aimed at cognoscenti of the gem and jewelry world, the text slows down only slightly when introducing more rarified vocabulary: "Enameling ... not only added color to a piece of jewelry but, with the further development of plique-à-jour, its see-through appearance replaced large sections of metal, creating a gossamer look." With photographs this captivating, readers will not be disappointed.

No comments: