Thursday, February 22, 2024


Is jewelry storytelling entering an age of authenticity?

From social media to reality TV, polished and aesthetically pleasing images have been giving way to real, more widely relatable looks.

The trend has been reflected in publishing, too, as four books introduced this year rely on personal description and historical records, offering insights into the work, dedication, and challenges that have shaped their subjects.

“Cartier: The Impossible Collection”

By Hervé Dewintre, Assouline, $1,200

In this addition to Assouline’s “Impossible Collection” series, the evolution of Cartier’s style is explored through 100 pieces that the house produced in the 20th century, including the 1948 emerald panther brooch, the first time its signature animal was presented in a realistic manner.

“The story of how Cartier built its style tracks how modern luxury was born,” said Hervé Dewintre, a journalist and jewelry consultant in Paris who wrote the book. “Cartier started the trend of producing entire collections. My task was to establish a connection between its past and its present.”

The book’s publication in October coincided with the 40th anniversary of the Cartier Collection, a selection of its creations that the house has been compiling since the 1980s. “It is a great archive of the style of Cartier,” Mr. Dewintre said.

The book explores in detail why certain shapes, materials, and motifs entered the house’s repertoire.

“The Spirit of Chaumet”

By Gabrielle de Montmorin, Thames & Hudson, $85

Chaumet opened an archives room in its Place Vendôme flagship in Paris in 2022, allowing it to take a deep dive into its own history and tell a richer, more accurate story of how the jeweler came to prominence serving clients like Marie Antoinette and Empress Joséphine.

“‘Esprit de Chaumet’ had to be fresh and sexy so people would read it,” said the author, Gabrielle de Montmorin, a jewelry specialist in Paris. “Opening this book is like peeking inside a jewelry box.”

“Van Cleef & Arpels: A Dictionary of Wonders”

By Fabienne Reybaud, Flammarion, $85

This alphabetical exercise explores the history of Van Cleef & Arpels, the Richemont-owned jeweler, and the renaissance it orchestrated in the 21st century.

“Cora Sheibani Jewels”

By William Grant, ACC Art Books, $55

This volume marks the 20th anniversary of the eponymous jewelry brand that the designer founded in 2003. Cora Sheibani’s career is interwoven with her personal and family life, and the story begins with a description of her heimat, a German word that is the title of the book’s first chapter.


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