20th Century Jewellery & the Icons of Style

  • By Antiques-Art-Design Sydney

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 9.01.25 AMThis beautiful book is not only a testament to the changes that occurred for women but also a reflection on the changing nature of jewellery after WWI. For centuries the collecting of jewellery was the exclusive prerogative of kings and queens, emperors, popes, and maharajahs. Yet from the time between the wars, an extraordinary group of women emerged who had the means to deck themselves in a glittering array of astonishing pieces.

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This book presents eleven profiles of the glamorous women who assembled these collections.

The fall of European monarchies meant royal jewels passed into the hands of a new social elite that included figures from show business and the worlds of industry and commerce. The women of the era cut their hair, wore looser-fitting clothes, and had greater freedom than before the war. The change in fashion led to a new style of jewellery—the historic gemstones were reset and new collections created.

These influential women included Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, the Duchess of Windsor, the film star Merle Oberon, and the great diva Maria Callas. There were also less well-known figures such as the mysterious and beautiful Nina Dyer, whose husbands were the Baron von Thyssen and Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan.

This book brings to life the worlds in which these women moved—elegant yachts, extravagant parties—and describes the details of the jewels and the artists who created them (Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Harry Winston). The publication features over 300 illustrations in color and black and white.

20th Century Jewelry & the Icons of Style is available from Glee Books – $65

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