Search By:
Welcome About_Us


As your collection of vintage jewelry grows, you will probably find yourself wanting to know more about these lovely pieces of wearable art. There are many resources available to help you learn.

Reference Books - We have prepared a brief guide to some of our favorite jewelry reference books.

Costume Jewelry Collectors International (CJCI) is a new organization which intends to bring together, support, and unite the existing regional vintage jewelry conventions and groups. CJCI continues the tradition of the quarterly full-color magazine-style newsletter and biennial national conventions begun by the Vintage Fashion & Costume Jewelry (VFCJ) Newsletter and Club. This exciting new club is using the power of the internet to bring collectors together via online chats, discussion forums, and other new technologies.

Vintage Fashion & Costume Jewelry (VFCJ) Newsletter and Club is sadly no longer an active entity, and the vision and leadership of Lucille Tempesta (editor of the quarterly newsletter) is greatly missed by all of us who love her. It was a privilege to write the following articles for that newsletter, and we continue to be grateful for Ms. Tempesta's generosity in allowing us to share with you these copyrighted articles which we wrote for the newsletter.

Online Discussion Groups - Lovers of costume jewelry get together in online forums to discuss their favorite topic. Here are some groups you can join:

Educational Websites:

We will be adding to these resources as we discover more useful books, sites, and groups. If you have discovered a useful educational resource that you would like to see listed here, please e-mail us and let us know.

Favorite Reference Books

Although this list is by no means exhaustive, these are the books we use on a daily basis to research the jewelry we bring to you on our website. There is no one book that will provide all the information you will want to have, so every collector will want to build a library that addresses their own areas of interest. We hope the brief reviews below will be of assistance as you make your own book selections. To shop for these or other costume jewelry reference books, simply click on the link at the bottom of this page. If you would like to purchase a book which can not be found on Amazon, please let us know and we will try to help you locate a copy.

Baker, Lillian. Fifty Years of Collectible Fashion Jewelry 1925-1975. Collector Books, 1986. 191 pages.
Beautifully photographed costume jewelry in a variety of styles from many of the top makers. Includes monographs on the following companies: Ciner, Eisenberg, Emmons, Sarah Coventry, Haskell, Hobe, and Kenneth Jay Lane. Also includes a value guide for all jewelry shown and a glossary of jewelry terms.

Ball, Joanne Dubbs. Jewelry of the Stars: Creations from Joseff of Hollywood. Schiffer, 1991. 192 pages.
A lavishly illustrated history of the life and work of Eugene Joseff, creator of much of the jewelry used in the great costume epic films of the 1930s and 1940s. Discusses both the library of jewelry rented to the studios for movie production and the retail line featured in fine department stores and boutiques.

Bell, C. Jeanenne. Answers to Questions About Old Jewelry 1840-1950, 5th edition. Krause, 1999. 444 pages.
This is a very useful guide to the trends, styles, and materials of both costume and fine jewelry during the 90 year period discussed. It is illustrated with many, many photos of fascinating old jewels, but most of these are in black and white. The price guide gives some clues to values. There are 4 excellent Appendices covering dating clues, metals identification, tests for stones, and makers' marks. The glossary defines many jewelry terms.

Brunialti, Carla Ginelli & Brunialti, Roberto. American Costume Jewelry 1935-1950. Mazzotta, 1997. 297 pages.
These authors are the most careful and comprehensive researchers working in the field of costume jewelry today. They have confined their work to what is often considered the "Golden Age" of American costume jewelry design. This book is visually stunning, displaying all the jewelry at actual size, with excellent attention to color and detail. Information gleaned from U.S. patents and fashion and trade magazines of the era give a very high level of credibility to the wealth of information in this book. Unfortunately, the availability of this information is limited to those who speak Italian, as this book has not been translated from the Italian original. The pictures alone make this a must-have volume, however, and much of the information can be puzzled out with an online language translator.

Brunialti, Carla Ginelli & Brunialti, Roberto. A Tribute to America: Costume Jewelry 1935-1950. Milan, 2002. 229 pages.
In the wake of 9/11, the Brunialtis published this second book. Once again, the time period covered is 1935-1950, the "Golden Age" of American costume jewelry, and once again they provide meticulously researched information based on original sources. But this time, blessedly, the book is in English! Much of the jewelry has a patriotic theme, inspired by World War II. The information about the great costume jewelry manufacturers and designers which was included in the first book is covered again in this one, but in a more easily accessible form.

Burkholz, Matthew L. & Kaplan, Linda Lichtenberg. Copper Art Jewelry: A Different Lustre. Schiffer, 1992. 160 pages.
This book focuses on the beautiful designs worked in copper and enamel by Rebajes and Renoir/Matisse. It also discusses some of the lesser-known copper jewelry makers and the home copper jewelry kit industry of the 1950s and 1960s. Particularly helpful are the facsimiles of Renoir catalog pages which provide names of many of the designs produced by this company. Beautifully photographed in color. A general guide to pricing is included at the back.

Dittell, Charles. Overview of Siam Sterling Nielloware. Newark, DE, 2002. 158 pages.
This self-published guide to the nielloware of the country that is now known as Thailand is invaluable for anyone who enjoys this beautiful ethnic jewelry. Although it is printed in black and white, this is less of a distraction than with many other areas of jewelry collecting, as nielloware is a black and white medium. The mythological figures commonly seen in this jewelry are discussed. The organizational scheme is logical and the book is packed with useful information about quality, rarity, and pricing.

Dolan, Maryanne. Collecting Rhinestone & Colored Jewelry. Krause Publications, 1998. 399 pages.
The first 30 pages of this book is a discussion of rhinestone jewelry, its manufacturers, and its care. Then follow 149 pages of marks seen on vintage costume jewelry. This is a very useful feature, since many of these are not seen in any other books. The jewelry is photographed in black and white and is not well organized. There is a guide to pricing. Although there is no index to this book, ambitious collectors have created an index which can be obtained through some online discussion groups.

Dubin, Lois Sherr. North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment: From Prehistory to the Present. Harry N. Abrams, 1999. 607 pages.
This is a huge and wonderful book, packed with historical and cultural information. The photographs are beautiful and include many which show the people wearing or using the objects being described. Nine separate regional groups are discussed, showing their profound differences as well as their similarities. This book does a superb job of blending excellent research with readability, excellent visuals, and human interest.

Ettinger, Roseann. Popular Jewelry 1840-1940, 2nd edition. Schiffer, 1997 (1990). 183 pages.
Organized by era, this book covers Victorian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian, Transitional, and Art Deco jewelry. Very nicely photographed in color, with many original ads and period graphics.

Gordon, Cathy & Pamfiloff, Sheila. Miriam Haskell Jewelry. Schiffer, 2004. 256 pages.
It's hard to say enough about this book. Printed on high quality paper, it is beautifully photographed, painstakingly researched, well organized, and extremely thorough. Key points for dating Haskell jewelry from all eras are highlighted, and clues to identifying the unsigned jewelry from Haskell's early years are clearly illustrated and discussed. A highlight of the book is the exquisite collection of 44 period watercolor paintings from the author's collection which depict Haskell jewelry being worn by elegant women. One of these watercolors is used on the cover, as well. The only shortcoming of this exquisite book is the lack of an index, which would have made it much easier to look up specific facts. This is a book so beautiful even non-jewelry collectors would love to own it.

Hougart, Bille. The Little Book of Mexican Silver Trade and Hallmarks: Hecho en Mexico. Arlington, VA, 2001. 148 pages.
Indispensable to lovers of vintage Mexican silver, this book includes more than 1,200 maker, designer, or trade names. Fascinating details about the history of the silver industry in Mexico.

Moro, Ginger. European Designer Jewelry. Schiffer, 1995. 302 pages.
This is a big, gorgeous coffee-table book, bursting with color photographs. It is organized by country. The text is well-researched and informative, if a bit breathless in style. It is a must-have book for anyone interested in European costume and studio jewelry.

Miller, Harrice Simons. Costume Jewelry: Identification and Price Guide, 2nd edition. Confident Collector, 1994. 376 pages.
An overview of costume jewelry styles and pricing, arranged by decade, from the 1920s through the 1990s. Since the time period covered is broad, the depth of detail is necessarily scant. Many pieces of jewelry are simply described, with no pictures shown. Most of the pictures are in black and white, with just a few pages of color. Price information is included for all items described or shown.

Miller, Harrice Simons. Official Price Guide to Costume Jewelry, 3rd edition. House of Collectibles, 2002. 354 pages.
This book is very similar to the 2nd edition described above, but with an expanded chapter on Fakes, Forgeries, and Reproductions and another addressing Care and Repair. Updated pricing information.

Miller, Judith. Costume Jewelry: The Complete Visual Reference and Price Guide. DK Publishing, 2003. 256 pages.
Excellent color photographs are abundant in this glossy general reference book. Many designers and areas of collecting are included. One of the most useful features is the comparison of "Good, Better, Best" pieces by individual designers, showing the range of complexity and desirability that can exist within a single maker's product line. It is well organized and fairly easy to use, though some factual errors have been found in the text and the price guidelines are not altogether accurate.

Morrill, Penny Chittim & Berk, Carole A. Mexican Silver: 20th Century Handwrought Jewelry & Metalwork, Revised 2nd edition. Schiffer, 1998 (1994). 272 pages.
For lovers of the classic silver jewelry made by great Mexican artists of the 1930s through the 1950s, this is the book to have. It is beautifully photographed in full color, and impeccably researched. Packed full of fascinating history and cultural detail, it makes for great reading, as well as providing sheer viewing pleasure.

Rainwater, Dorothy T. American Jewelry Manufacturers. Schiffer, 1988. 296 pages.
An encyclopedic listing of jewelry manufacturers in the United States, beginning in the 1840s. This is a useful resource when trying to determine the maker of a piece with an unfamiliar mark.

Rezazadeh, Fred. Costume Jewelry: A Practical Handbook & Value Guide. Collector Books, 1998. 253 pages.
This is a very popular book among beginning collectors. It is organized by maker, with many examples of the work of each of the best-known companies. Also included is a section of unmarked jewelry. Particularly interesting is the section in which he ranks the best-known companies by quality and collectible value. This is, of course, a controversial area of discussion, but his work provides a framework for evaluating your newest finds. Values are included for all jewelry shown.

Rezazadeh, Fred. Collectible Silver Jewelry: Identification and Value Guide. Collector Books, 2001. 237 pages.
Organized by country, this is a very good book to use when researching your vintage silver pieces. Many marks are shown, with good photographs providing an overview of the jewelry of each nation discussed. Values are included.

Romero, Christie. Warman's Jewelry, 2nd edition. Krause, 1998. 293 pages.
Romero, Christie. Warman's Jewelry, 3rd edition. Krause, 2002. 272 pages.
The newer edition of this book is the one you'll want to own. It is packed with color and beautifully organized, covering costume and fine jewelry of the Late Eighteenth through Twentieth Centuries. The jewelry of many nations is included. The 7 appendices cover marks and designers. An excellent glossary helps to define jewelry terms which may be new to you. Includes price information for all jewelry shown. This is another of those must-have books for every collector's library.

Schiffer, Nancy N. Costume Jewelry: The Fun of Collecting. Schiffer, 1992. 176 pages.
This is a celebration of costume jewelry, rather than an attempt to place the pieces in any kind of historical context. It features good color photographs of jewelry organized by type: Bracelets, Belts, Buckles, Buttons, Earrings, Head Ornaments, Necklaces, Pins, Rings, and Matching Sets. Price guide is included at the back of the book.

Schiffer, Nancy N. Fun Jewelry, Revised 3rd edition. Schiffer, 2001 (1996). 160 pages.
Another celebration of costume jewelry, this time concentrating on figurals. It is organized by Swimmers, Blossoms, Crawlers and Low Flyers, Beasts, People, and High Flyers. Includes pricing information.

Schiffer, Nancy N. Fun Jewelry, Revised 3rd edition. Schiffer, 2001 (1996). 160 pages.
Another celebration of costume jewelry, this time concentrating on figurals. It is organized by Swimmers, Blossoms, Crawlers and Low Flyers, Beasts, People, and High Flyers. Includes pricing information.

Schwartz, Joanne. Charms and Charm Bracelets: The Complete Guide. Schiffer, 2005. 192 pages.
This truly is a complete guide to charms. The material is well organized, by material and era, with fascinating insights into the social history associated with this type of jewelry. The pictures are clear and attractive, illustrating the text well. A guide to prices is included.

Simonds, Cherri. Costume Jewelry: Identification and Values. Collector Books, 2000 (1997). 247 pages.
Popular with beginning collectors, this book gives a good overview of costume jewelry styles, makers, and designs. Good color photograph illustrations. The Designer/Manufacturer Identification Chart is a useful quick reference giving a brief history of each company. Includes price guide.

Tolkien, Tracy & Wilkinson, Henrietta. A Collector's Guide to Costume Jewelry: Key Styles and How to Recognize Them. Firefly Books, 1997. 144 pages.
This is a beautifully stylish book discussing style. Social and historical trends influencing the world of art and fashion from the 18th century through the 1990s is discussed. Also included is information about historical and archeological influences upon popular design.

e-Mail Rocky
e-Mail Cheri

Milky Way Jewels Home - Vintage Costume & Fine Jewelry Home Page
© Copyright 2006 - 2010 Milky Way Jewels