Books of Antique & Estate Jewelry

Begin or continue learning about this rich subject through books. Knowledge is key to understanding all aspects of collecting, browsing and fully appreciating early and antique jewelry.

General Guides to Identifying Jewelry

  • Warman's Jewelry Identification and Price Guide by Christie Romero. An excellent reference guide for jewelry dating from the late 18th through the 20th century. Thoroughly researched, well organized in a factual, easy to use presentation.
  • How to be a Jewelry Detective by C. Jeanenne Bell – good simple "facts" and reference about the basics of jewelry.
  • Answers to Questions About Old Jewelry by C. Jeanenne Bell – many photographs and examples of jewelry often found today. 2009 Edition utilizes over 30 photographs of our own, The Three Graces jewelry.
  • An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry by Harold Newman. Very informative with many illustrations and small photos. Highly recommended.
  • Antique Jewellery: Its Manufacture, Materials & Design by Duncan James. A more general reference book on the mechanics of jewelry.

Surveys of the History of Antique Jewelry

  • Understanding Jewelry by David Bennett and Daniela Mascetti – a wonderful overview.
  • Jewellery – Reference and Price Guide by Michael Poynder – although the pricing estimates are out of date, still very valuable and great photos of all types of antique jewelry. Covers quite a few Georgian pieces and is highly recommended - a great array of photos, dates and information in concise form. Great for a beginner or for anyone.*
  • Earrings from Antiquity to the Present by Daniela Mascetti & Amanda Triossi. A wonderful retrospective with very clear and fact filled text.*
  • The History of the Necklace: From Antiquity to the Present by Daniela Mascetti & Amanda Triossi.*
  • Jewels and Jewelry by Clare Phillips.

Victorian Antique Jewelry

  • Victorian Jewellery by Margaret Flower. Expert in the field and now in reprint so very affordable.
  • Victorian Jewelry: Unexplored Treasures by Ginny R. Dawes and Corinne Davidov. Coming out with a paperback so it will be quite affordable.
  • Sentimental Jewellery: Antique Jewels of Love and Sorrow by Ann Louise Luthi. Very inexpensive thin paperback but excellent reference and pictures.*

General Reference on Gemstones, Diamonds, and Precious Metals.

Gold, Platinum, Palladium, Silver & Other Jewery Metals by Reneé Newman. Excellent author of numerous books. This book features a number of Three Graces jewelry photographs.

Georgian & Earlier Jewelry

  • Georgian Jewellery 1714-1830 by Ginny Redington & Olivia Collings. A fantastic essential book on the subject with wonderful and prolific photographs.
  • A History of Jewellery 1100-1870 by Joan Evans. Dame Joan Evans is considered one of the great historians of jewelry. This is a scholarly text with photos and drawings but is highly interesting. First published in 1953 and again in 1970.*
  • Jewellery in Britain 1066-1837: A Documentary, Social, Literary and Artistic Survey by Diana Scarisbrick – very informative with photos and has quite a bit on Georgian jewelry. An excellent author.*
  • Five Centuries of Jewellery National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon. An 18th Century stroll through items to lust after! Very good picture references as well for Spanish and Portuguese paste.* Difficult to obtain and expensive but a great visual collection.
  • Cut Steel & Berlin Iron Jewellery by Anne Clifford. - Hard to find and expensive but one of the few in-depth resources on this type of jewellery.

Antique Paste & Costume Jewelry

  • Fabulous Costume Jewelry by Vivienne Becker – out of print but can be found – Invaluable reference on paste, cut steel, pinchbeck and more. First chapters solely on 18th and 19th centuries. Later chapters go into modern costume jewelry.*
  • Antique Paste Jewellery by M.D.S. Lewis – out of print but can be found – a must for the paste collector!*


  • Rings Symbols of Wealth, Power and Affection by Diana Scarisbrick – Excellent author; superb reference book on rings from the Middle Ages to modern examples.
  • Finger Rings by Diana Scarisbrick - Excellent small resource with many photos from ancient to 19th century rings.*
  • British Rings 800-1914 by Charles Oman - Scholarly but many examples; good for earlier rings; well respected author who was part of the Victoria and Albert Museum.*


  • American Jewelry Manufacturers by Dorothy T. Rainwater- Essential guide to American jewelers mostly working from the mid 19th century to the 20th century.
  • Jackson's Silver & Gold Marks of England, Scotland & Ireland edited by Ian Pickford - Considered the reference book on the subject, large and a bit pricey.
  • Bradbury's Book of Hallmarks by Frederick Bradbury - Small, inexpensive pocket concise guide for Britain, Scotland and Ireland.
  • Poincons d'Or et de Platine by Tardy - Essential reference for French hallmarks as well as most European and foreign countries, written in French.
  • Poincons d'Argent by Tardy. Essential reference for French hallmarks as well as most European and foreign countries, written in French.


  • Nineteenth Century Cameos by Michele Rowan - A superb resource.
  • Cameos Old and New by Anna M. Miller - A survey of the history of cameos. Very helpful.

For the True Collector

  • Jewellery Volume I and II by Shirley Bury - A great in-depth look at the history of Jewellery from 1789-1910 in two large hardback volumes.

Book Sources

  • Better World Books. Not only do they offer used, vintage, and new books, but have a caring, charitable mission.
  • Abe Books offers a wide variety of hard-to-source books.

Top of Page