Lavishly illustrated and extensively researched, this fascinating book chronicles the widening accessibility of jewelry between 1860 and 1960. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, only the affluent could afford many pieces of jewelry. In the mid-nineteenth century, however, industrialization led jewelry to become more affordable and the rising middle class created a larger market. Increasingly, jewelry was made not only from traditional precious metals and stones, but also of materials such as gold-plated base metals, vulcanite, hair, plastics, aluminum, and much more.
Beginning with a visual timeline, this comprehensive volume couples an informative text with outstanding photographs of over 1,000 pieces of fine and costume jewelry made in America, Europe, and Asia. The jewelry reflects the changing styles of each decade, ranging from romantic to humorous to sumptuous. Pieces are organized by type of material or in delightful themes, such as heart-shaped items, insects, Egyptian influenced, and more. A helpful glossary, extensive bibliography, tips for collectors, and current values are all included. This book is certain to inspire and delight beginning and advanced jewelry collectors, historians, and designers.