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Jewelry from Nature

Amber Coral Horn Ivory Pearls Shell Tortoiseshell Wood Exotica

Ruth Pelaston

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Features 200 years of fine jewelry made from natural materials, worn by style icons including the Duchess of Windsor, Coco Chanel and Diana Vreeland


The vast range of materials is impressive: coral, amber, horn, ivory, shells, pearls, wood, tortoiseshell, and such exotica as feathers, shagreen and bog oak – with origins from all over Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa and the Far East. Their beauty often belies their age – amber (65 million years old) and mammoth ivory (10,000 years old).

Here, lavishly displayed, are superb works made by the world’s finest jewelers of the past two hundred years. Every major jeweler has created pieces of exceptional beauty, importance and style: Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari, JAR, Cartier (their Art Deco coral bangles are icons of the period), Tiffany, Boivin, Verdura (whose seashell brooches studded with fine stones have long been collectors’ items), David Webb, Schlumberger, Lalique (whose name enbodies the best in Art Nouveau), Suzanne Belperron and Hermès.

Scores of modern designers are also featured (Andrew Grima, John Donald, Noma Copley) as well as artists today such as Patricia Von Musulin, Ted Muehling and Liv Blåvarp, whose exquisite objects show great respect for natural materials.

Including masses of information, each chapter explores the inspiration of a different material, with special profiles on designers, themes, or style icons such as Princess Grace of Monaco, Chanel and the Duchess of Windsor.

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'Proves that important jewelry does not necessarily have to showcase the usual gemstone giants'

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 25.0 x 22.0 cm

Extent: 224 pp

Publication date: 11 October 2010

ISBN: 9780500515334

Contents List

Introduction: The Woman with the Well-Dressed Mind • 1. Coral: The Red Gold of the Sea • 2. Pearls: The Leading Ladies of Jewelry • 3. Amber: History Preserved • 4. Ivory: The Cream of the Jeweler’s Canvas • 5. Shell: Underwater Civilizations • 6. Horn: The Queen of Art Nouveau • 7. Wood: Nature’s Canopy • 8. Tortoiseshell: Amphibious Marbling • 9. Exotica: Exuberance of Esoterica

About the Author

Ruth Peltason worked with ElizabethTaylor on the bestseller My Love Affair with Jewelry.A widely experienced writer, editor and designer of books on the visual arts, she now runs Bespoke Books in New York.