Jeweler: Masters, Mavericks, and Visionaries of Modern Design

Image of Jeweler: Masters, Mavericks, and Visionaries of Modern Design
Release Date: 
September 5, 2016
Reviewed by: 

From the unassuming cover the reader cannot possibly imagine or be prepared for what is to come once they begin to read this inconceivably and jaw-droppingly magnificent book. The content and quality of this paean to the art and craft of fine jewelry is positively beyond one’s expectations, not to mention the rarefied nature of what you see on its pages.

Between the cloth bound covers is a tsunami of spectacular images that represent each of the masters, but if the reader only indulges in the visual aspect, they will indeed lose quite a bit of what Ms. Volandes has assembled here. If the reader can allow themselves to give this book their undivided attention, they might fall hopelessly in love to the point of not wanting it to end or even putting it down. This reviewer fell madly in love and read 80% of the book in one sitting and was rapt from page one forward. It should also be pointed out that the layout and graphic qualities of this book are intensely visually potent.

“Masters” seems to be the most appropriate appellation for these personalities because using “jewelry designer” or “jeweler” would be a gross understatement in the same vein as calling Michelangelo a ceiling painter. Each of the masters is equal parts designer, curator, gemologist, collector, merchandiser, visionary, historian, storyteller, and most of all creator.

Without question the prospective reader should possess more than just a passing attraction to pretty things or even just basic jewelry knowledge as there is absolutely nothing ordinary, basic, or generic about any of the featured jewelry or any of these 21st century masters. The ideal reader would be familiar and conversant on the subject of haute joaillerie to really appreciate what these masters do as routine.

It is very difficult to say what all of these designers share in common, but what is more the case than not is that they and their brands are sold privately only or via rather exclusive retail channels. In others words these pieces, for the most part, are one of kind and not available at your local jeweler or at some department store. These works of art are sold via an eponymous store/showroom or an annual showing by invitation only in maybe one or two cities worldwide.

The luxury brands we have become acquainted with in the past century such as Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, and Bulgari etc. have expanded their reach by opening new “doors” and extensively advertising, but the 21st century masters featured here and their brands are all about exclusivity and best kept secrets rather than about advertising budgets and locations.

Rather than gush on any further, this reviewer can unequivocally state that Jeweler is a book that must find its way into your library as it will be rabbit eared from being a constant source of visual delight as well as being rather visionary in its written and visual content.