Saturday, May 3, 2008

Surand & Co. cufflinks.Durand & Co. platinum and gold cufflinks, circa 1910
Durand was one of the many jewelry makers
based in Newark, New Jersey

Three Books and a Museum

As the temperature climbed above 80 degrees last week, my thoughts turned to summer. Two of my favorite summertime activities are reading by the lake and visiting the air conditioned confines of museums. So here is a list of several of my favorite cufflink-related books and one of my favorite museums.

The Glitter & The Gold: Fashioning America's Jewelry by Ulysses Grant Dietz, et al

During the decades from 1850 to 1950, Newark, New Jersey was the center of fine jewelry manufacture in the United States. The majority of the cufflinks featured in the Antique Cufflinks gallery and this blog were designed and manufactured by Newark jewelry makers. In 1997 an exhibition at the Newark Museum explored the history and evolution of the Newark jewelry trade and the stunning jewels created. The Glitter & the Gold documents the exhibition and offers many wonderful pictures and informative essays. If you are interested in American cufflinks and jewelry this book is indispensable.

Cufflinks by Susan Jonas and Marilyn Nissenson

This is a fun book. It tells the story of gorgeous cufflinks and the fabulous people, le beau monde, who wore them. The book presents a sampling of fine links from the early 1700s through 1990 with an emphasis on early 20th century and Art Deco examples. The book is beautifully illustrated with wonderful photographs. This is a great read for an afternoon at the beach.

Cuff Jewelry: A Historical Account for Collectors and Antiques Dealers by Howard L. Bell

While the Jonas book samples the history of fine cufflinks, this book goes into greater depth on a narrower range. Howard Bell illustrates cufflinks from the Victorian era to the 1960s with over 1000 images. He covers diverse topics such as historical periods, materials, methods of manufacture, gemstones and makers' makers. His Chronology of Linkages is particulary interesting. Published in 1994, the book's price estimates provide a useful benchmark for how antique cufflinks have appreciated over the past 15 years. This book is a useful resource for the aspiring cufflink collector.

The Newark Museum Newark, New Jersey

An opportunity to visit The Newark Museum should never be passed up. The museum has a wonderful collection of American jewelry and decorative arts from the 19th and 20th centuries. The Museum's Curator of Decorative Arts, Ulysses Grant Dietz, has organized a number exemplary exhibitions on jewelry and related arts. Mr. Dietz is also the lead author of the first book listed above. You should visit the museum's web site to learn of current exhibitions and special events ( ).

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