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Looking at Jewelry: A Guide to Terms, Styles, and Techniques

Susanne Gänsicke and Yvonne J. Markowitz


The fascination with personal adornment is universal. It is a preoccupation that is primal, instinctive, and uniquely human. Jewelry encompasses a seemingly endless number of ornaments produced across time and in all cultures. The range of materials and techniques used in its construction is extraordinary, even revolutionary, with new substances and methods of fabrication added with every generation. In any given society, master artisans have devoted their time, energy, and talent to the fine art of jewelry making, creating some of the most spectacular objects known to humankind.

This volume, geared toward jewelry makers, scholars, scientists, students, and fashionistas alike, begins with a lively introduction that offers a cultural history of jewelry and its production. The main text provides information on the most common, iconic, and culturally significant forms of jewelry and also covers materials, techniques, and manufacturing processes. Containing more than eighty color illustrations, this guide will be invaluable to all those wishing to increase their understanding and enjoyment of the art of jewelry.

Susanne Gänsicke is senior conservator and head of antiquities conservation at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Yvonne J . Markowitz is the Rita J. Kaplan and Susan B. Kaplan Curator Emerita of Jewelry at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

“A useful, wide-ranging dictionary.”
The Journal of Gemmology

“The expertise of the authors ensures that all, even those who have been ‘in the business’ for a long period, could learn something and spend more time thinking about this cross-pollination of ideas, designs and techniques in what is a richly international field of study.”
Jewellery History Today

This lusciously illustrated dictionary is a must for anyone interested in jewelry—antiquarians, scholars, appraisers, and amateurs alike.” 

“A worthy addition to any jewelry library.”
The Adventurine

“If you are a jewelry historian, collector, appraiser, jeweler or anyone who loves jewelry you should own this extremely useful reference book.”
Adornment, The Magazine of Jewelry & Related Arts 

 “Looking at Jewelry: A Guide to Terms, Styles, and Techniques is a volume as useful as it is beautiful.  A compendium of jewelry terms and techniques covering prehistory to the present, this book is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the history of the decorative arts. It is filled with insightful discussions by its expert authors and lavishly illustrated with stunning color photographs throughout.  A treasure both to own and to give, this book is sure to have pride of place in any library.”
—Peter Lacovara, Director Ancient Egyptian Heritage and Archaeology Fund

“Jewelry of all periods, its origins, history and meaning, as well as its design and creation has been a lifelong interest. Looking at Jewelry: A Guide to Terms, Styles, and Techniques is the book I have always wanted and needed without even realizing it. The authors have gathered a storehouse of information about all aspects of jewelry and have presented it in a delightfully readable form, buoyed by beautiful illustrations. Don't be fooled into assuming that the small volume is just for the novice. Professionals will also find it a welcome addition to their library, as will those curious about the terms one occasionally stumbles over: asterism, gutta percha, box clasp, a fede ring—what is cuttlebone casting? Now I know.”
—Biri Fay, Independent scholar specializing in the art of ancient Egypt

132 pages
6 1/4 x 9 1/4 inches
93 color illustrations
ISBN 978-1-60606-599-0

Getty Publications
Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum
Series: Looking At


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