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20th Century Jewelry & the Icons of Style
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20th Century Jewelry & the Icons of Style

by Stefano Papi, Alexandra Rhodes
 

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Profiles the extraordinary group of women who influenced styles in jewelry design after World War I

For centuries the collecting of precious gems and the jewelry fashioned from them was the exclusive prerogative of kings and queens, emperors, popes, and maharajahs. In the aftermath of World War I an extraordinary group of women emerged who had the means to

Overview

Profiles the extraordinary group of women who influenced styles in jewelry design after World War I

For centuries the collecting of precious gems and the jewelry fashioned from them was the exclusive prerogative of kings and queens, emperors, popes, and maharajahs. In the aftermath of World War I an extraordinary group of women emerged who had the means to deck themselves in glittering bracelets, rings, necklaces, earrings, tiaras, and brooches.

This book presents eleven profiles of glamorous women who assembled these astonishing collections in the mid-twentieth century. 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 jewelry—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. The book brings to life the worlds in which these women moved—elegant yachts, extravagant parties—and describes the details of the jewels and the jewelers (Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Harry Winston) that created the exquisite settings.

Editorial Reviews

Woman Around Town
“Weaves [a] tale of extravagant homes, travel, and parties.”
All Things Good and More
“This gorgeous volume not only treats us to 398 photographs of these collections but also gives us a bird’s eye view of the way these women lived.”
Windy City Times
“Analyzes how the worlds of fashion and art have brilliantly collided.”
Society of Jewelry Historians
“Worthwhile, both for the sumptuous jewelry and for the stunning lifestyle photographs.”
JCK
“Stefano Papi and Alexandra Rhodes examine 11 illustrious women who influenced and advanced jewelry design after World War I.”
National Jeweler
“Atome profiling the jewelry collections of 13 stylish women of the last century….uses incredible pieces of jewelry as entry points into the lives of some of history’s most exciting and notorious females”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780500516874
Publisher:
Thames & Hudson
Publication date:
10/22/2013
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
9.80(w) x 12.80(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Based in London, Stefano Papi has worked as Senior European Specialist in the jewelry departments of both Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses.

Alexandra Rhodes is Senior Specialist for the international jewelry division of Sotheby’s in London.

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