9 New Jewelry Books That Really Shine

Thanks to these new titles celebrating style, history and natural diamonds, 2023 is off to a bright start.

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In the afterglow of the holiday season, we’re looking to find a bit of sparkle anywhere we can. Luckily, our favorite publishers are here to jazz things up with their latest offerings. In addition to the newest jewelry designer monographs — those on Boghossian, Dickson Yewn, and Patania top our list — there are plenty of titles worth pouring over, including a newly reprinted tome dedicated solely to the existence of tiaras. Cartier’s latest nature-inspired collection is also celebrated in a new volume, as is Louis Vuitton’s Tambour watch, which turns 20 this year. Other standouts include an exploration of adornment in Chinese culture, an in-depth analysis of hip hop style (nameplates and oversized hoop earrings, included) — and a historical examination of the red carpet that yields tons of photos of Hollywood stars dripping in diamonds; need we say more? Below, 9 new jewelry books for 2023 that you won’t want to miss.

Tiaras: A History of Splendor 1800-2000

2023 jewelry books

This new edition of Geoffrey Munn’s fun yet informative book features pages upon pages of — you guessed it — tiaras. Over 400 photographs of royal headpieces from around the world, to be more precise, designed by famed jewelers like Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, Boucheron, and Fabergé. Standouts include the floral diamond Spencer tiara worn by Princess Diana, Queen Mary’s Cambridge Lovers’ Knot tiara, which featured rose-cut diamonds and pearls, and an emerald and diamond diadem that Prince Albert had designed for Queen Victoria in 1845, one of four such commissions. The photos here are undeniably spectacular — but the exploration of the costume ball’s history is worth sticking around for, too.

($75, ACC Art Books)

Yewn: Contemporary Jewels and the Silk Road

2023 jewelry books

With a focus on bringing traditional Han Chinese motifs into his work, fine jewelry designer Dickson Yewn creates unique contemporary pieces that truly stand out — and it’s easy to see why he counts Michelle Obama among his fans. In this monograph, jewelry historian Juliet Weir-de La Rochefoucauld explores the symbolism in Yewn’s work, from bracelets inspired by the Ming dynasty’s dishware to earrings that recall the porcelain vases of the Song dynasty. She also details Yewn’s incorporation of wood — a key element in Chinese philosophy — and gold geometric latticework in his pieces, which playfully contrast the diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and garnets as they tie the present to the past through craftsmanship. 
($95, ACC Art Books; Feb. 27)

Red Carpet Oscars

2023 jewelry books

Fashion and Hollywood have always gone hand-in-hand — and the Academy Awards are, undeniably, the biggest night of the year on both fronts. Following a foreword by Oscar winner Cate Blanchett and a letter from designer Giorgio Armani, author Dijanna Mulhearn looks back at 90-plus years of the glamorous event, detailing the most unforgettable outfits and accessories all the way back to 1929. She explores the evolution of the red carpet (and formal dressing, overall) from a setting where homemade or secondhand looks were commonplace to a full-on commercialized machine, fueled by stylists and brand contracts. Presented in chronological order, this walk down memory lane has it all: stylish stars, haute couture, and the most dazzling, camera-worthy jewels.

($70, Thames & Hudson; Feb. 21)

Boghossian: Expertise, Craftsmanship, Innovation 

2023 jewelry books

Journalist and historian Vivienne Becker delves into the rich 150-year history of the family-run jewelry dynasty Boghassian, dating back to when founder Ovaness Boghossian began creating pieces for aristocrats in the ancient city of Mardin in 1868. The family then traveled from East to West, setting up shop in the world’s diamond hub, Antwerp, before ultimately settling in Geneva, where they continue to rely on a medley of cross-cultural techniques — like the Art of Inlay, an ancient craft in which gemstones are carved to fit together seamlessly — to produce stunning pieces with rare gemstones. As Becker looks back at the artisanal roots of the storied brand, whose unique designs have set world-record sales at auction, she also looks towards its bright future — and with over 200 dazzling images here, there’s plenty to see.

($195, Assouline; Feb. 2023)

Fresh Fly Fabulous: 50 Years of Hip Hop Style

2023 jewelry books

From the nameplates that took the world by storm following a pivotal arc in Biz Markie’s 1989 “Just A Friend” music video to the oversized hoops worn by Salt N Pepa, this book is a treasure trove for fans of music and fashion alike (one chapter even explores how diamond-encrusted manicures reference the height of hip hop’s “bling era”). Published to accompany an exhibition of the same name at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, it features a foreword by rapper Slick Rick as well as compelling interviews with designers Dapper Dan and April Walker to celebrate the industry’s biggest style moments — past, present, and future. Dapper Dan puts it best: “Our superpower is knowing how to make diamonds and gold out of dirt and dust. And, fifty years on, this is what we do. All day, every day.”

($55, Rizzoli)

Cartier: Beautés du Monde: High Jewelry and Precious Objects

2023 jewelry books

Cartier has always celebrated the beauty of nature — after all, the Maison’s iconic panther, serpent, and crocodile pieces are among its most iconic. For its newest high jewelry collection, the brand turned its attention to even more of the creatures that live among us, and this captivating book by author François Chaille shows how something as simple as the glittering scales of an iguana, the subtle coil of a seashell, or the texture of a coral reef can inspire a stunning wearable treasure. Chaille also highlights the cultural notes, from traditional Indian sculpting to Chinese iconography, that appear throughout the stunning collection.

($115, Flammarion)

Louis Vuitton: Tambour

2023 jewelry books

In 2002, Louis Vuitton entered the luxury timepiece world with the introduction of the Tambour watch. To celebrate its twentieth anniversary, this new volume — which features essays by journalist and watch expert Fabienne Reybaud — recaps the Tambour’s origin story, highlighting stylistic elements like its drum-shaped case as well as its more technical aspects, engineered by Geneva watchmakers at La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton. Models shown range from the classic to the glamorous, with jeweled styles like 2009’s Tambour Spin Time Lady — set with a whopping 588 diamonds — and a limited-edition 2012 style finished with a diamond-encrusted bracelet, created in collaboration with artist Yayoi Kusama (who has teamed up with the label once again for its 2023 collection).

($150, Thames & Hudson)

Legendary Patania Jewels in the Tradition of the Southwest

2023 jewelry books

Since first setting down roots in Santa Fe and opening their legendary Thunderbird Shop in 1927, the Patania family has been producing bold jewelry that blends their Italian heritage with traditional southwestern style. In the first authorized publication about the history of their designs, authors Kim and Pat Messier explore the Patanias’ legacy and celebrate the noted silversmiths who have apprenticed for them over time. Now based in Tucson, the brand continues to offer striking handcrafted pieces — most of them comprised of turquoise or Mediterranean coral set in sterling silver — as depicted in this colorful book.

($60, Schiffer Publishing)

China Adorned: Ritual and Custom of Ancient Cultures

2023 jewelry books

After studying the fashion habits of Chinese ethnic minority groups for over thirty years, cultural anthropologist Deng Qiyao shares his findings alongside photos of the clothing and jewelry that have remained crucial elements of their respective customs for centuries. From the embellished headdresses that are placed on infants — in the hopes of attracting good fortune — to the decadent gold, silver, and beaded necklaces worn by Tibetan brides, this book explores the connection between Chinese culture and the treasures that are worn to symbolize all of life’s major events. And there’s much insight to be gleaned.

($70, Thames & Hudson)