From the simple shell beads worn by Palaeolithic hunters to the splendor of Renaissance gold work and the sumptuousness of Art Nouveau enamels, here is a fascinating and informative guide to the development of Western jewelry—concluding with the radical and experimental developments in the last three decades. Offering a concise survey of the entire field, this book analyzes jewelry's changing fashions, explores its social context, and examines how it has been worn by both men and women. It shows how jewellers have responded to new sources of gems, whether emeralds from the New World or diamonds from South Africa, and to the discovery of metals such as platinum and aluminum. Masterworks by unknown craftsmen and pieces designed by individual artists as diverse as Holbein, Pugin and Calder are illustrated alongside the glittering products of the major jewelry houses.
Clare Phillips is a curator in the Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics & Glass Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Her publications include Jewelry: From Antiquity to the Present (1996) and contributions to Art Nouveau 1890–1914 (V&A, 2002), and Silver (V&A, 2003).