Gem and Jewelry Books from Twelfth Street Booksellers
By Michael Stillman
We have received our first catalogue from Twelfth Street Booksellers, specialists in books about gems and jewelry. This is their Catalogue 28, an annual publication for those who collect or conduct research within the field, as well as for appraisers, auction houses, museums, libraries and others needing information on the topic. Naturally, this is a very specific field, but finding a concentration of works in it is a challenge. This Santa Monica bookseller offers a collection of resources not easy to find. If gems and jewelry, or at least books about them is what you seek, you should give Twelfth Street Booksellers a call. Here a few samples of the many books they offer.
Item 22 is the work Twelfth Street describes as "indispensable for every gemological and art history library." It is the first U.S. edition, published in 1953, of A History of Jewellery. 1100-1870, by Joan Evans. As the title suggests, it covers the art from the Medieval period to the mid 19th century. Priced at $150.
The eight centuries covered by the last title is a pittance compared to the range of this work by Anna Beatriz Chadour on rings: Rings. The Alicia and Louis Koch Collection. Forty Centuries Seen by Four Generations. This two-volume work published in 1994 is described as, "A stunning work with encyclopedic documentation of 1,980 finger rings from over 4,000 years of history…" It includes hundreds of photographs of rings, most with at least two views. If this isn't enough information, it concludes with 17 pages of bibliography to find even more data. Summaries are provided in English with the detailed descriptions in German. Item 15. $475.
Item 51 is not just for jewelry collectors, but for those who collect the works of fine presses as well. This book by G. F. Kunz and C. H. Stevenson is entitled The Book of Pearl. It was printed in 1908 by the legendary DeVinne Press. This exquisitely designed book is not only a work of art but a thorough resource as well. Twelfth Street notes, "Kunz's monumental work on pearls includes everything worth knowing about saltwater pearls and freshwater pearls from all over the world and in every age." $850.
From a monumental work on pearls we move to a similar tome on diamonds: The Genesis of the Diamond, by Alpheus Williams. Williams was General Manager of De Beers Consolidated Mines when this book was published in 1932. Item 85 is a first edition of this two-volume set. $400.
Here is a book for adventurers willing to risk untold dangers: The Gem Hunter. True Adventures of an American in Afghanistan. This is Gary Bowersox' true adventures seeking gems in a land not always hospitable to Americans. He has been involved in seeking gems in Afghanistan for three decades, and tells about the people of this land who have experienced such difficult times for many years. Item 7 is a signed presentation copy. $60.