’Tis the season for all things that sparkle. From decadent department store windows and festive party dresses to tinsel and twinkling lights, the holidays are a time to embrace all things merry and bright. Of course, nothing—and we mean nothing—shines bright quite like a diamond. And while any jewelry lover’s wishlist is almost guaranteed to include a few wearable treasures, might we suggest gifting a book on their favorite fashion subject, too?
Our go-to publishers have delivered an assortment of richly illustrated guides (gemstones! watches!), striking designer monographs, and style-centric biographies just in time for the holidays. Here, our favorite new fashion and jewelry books that are sure to charm every jewelry aficionado on your shopping list.
Bulgari Eden: Garden of Wonders by Simone Marchetti and Lucia Silvestri
A luxe addition to any home library, this jewelry book offers an escape into a world of pure fantasy. Written by Simone Marchetti and Lucia Silvestri, it features poetry about nature alongside Korean photographer Cho Gi-Seok’s stunning images of Bulgari’s latest high jewelry collection. Diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies, and more are set against vibrant flowers and lush plants in three themed chapters—Blossoming Colors, Magnificent Nature, and Joyful Wonders—that capture the magical myth of Eden in all of its unspoiled, dreamlike glory.
Rizzoli, $100; rizzolibookstore.com
Inspired by India by Phyllida Jay
With a cover featuring Cartier’s colorful “Tutti Fruiti” necklace, this jewelry book is a visual treat before you even open it. Anthropologist Phyllida Jay explores how Indian culture has inspired the West for over six centuries, from textiles and fragrance to fashion and, of course, jewelry. The latter is covered in a supersized chapter devoted to India’s most fabled jewels, including the 105.6-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond, as well as the influence of traditional pieces like the bazubandh arm bracelet and gulu choker-style wedding ornament on luxury international fashion houses. It’s a fascinating journey, and with pages featuring brilliant images of rubies, emeralds, and Jaipur enamel work, it’s a true feast for the eyes.
Roli Books, $65; accartbooks.com
Qeelin: A Modern Chinese Cultural Journey by Yoko Choy
Though Chinese jewelry label Qeelin has largely remained under the radar, the company, founded by Dennis Chan, has recently entered the spotlight after it was acquired by French luxury group Kering. Here, journalist Yoko Choy documents the rich cultural foundation of the brand alongside images of its whimsical but tradition-inspired pieces, including dragon-shaped bangles, panda-inspired collections, and the ever-present gourd-shaped Wu Lou symbol that represents luck and happiness. When looking at these playful pieces, it’s hard to do anything but smile.
Assouline, $195; available in December at assouline.com
I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise: A Life of Bunny Mellon by Mac Griswold
In this intimate biography, author Mac Griswold celebrates the legacy of his friend, legendary garden and landscape designer Bunny Mellon. With unprecedented access to her private archives, Griswold reflects on the tragedies and scandals that plagued Mellon’s life, as well as her philanthropic spirit, impressive art collection, and unmatched sense of style. Some of the most delightful anecdotes focus on her treasure trove of jewels, including the origin stories of one-of-a-kind pieces from her close relationship with French jewelry designer Jean Schlumberger and the time she and Jackie Kennedy Onassis played dress-up in Cape Cod, trying on each other’s diamonds and laughing so hard, they cried.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $40; bookshop.com
Shocking! The Surreal World of Elsa Schiaparelli by Marie-Sophie Carron de la Carrière
Accessories played a huge role in the designs of late couturière Elsa Schiaparelli. Even today, the house is known for its sculptural, ornamental works, creating a sense of grandeur by pairing unexpected materials with irreverent themes (who could forget the trompe l’oeil brass lung necklace, designed by Daniel Roseberry, that Bella Hadid wore at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival?). In this volume, Marie-Sophie Carron de la Carrière takes readers through all 120 garments and accessories from Schiaparelli’s official archive, as well as the history of the costume jewelry that notoriously took her designs to new heights, insect brooches and tambourin-shaped buttons, included.
Thames & Hudson, $75; thamesandhudson.com
Our Fair Lady: Audrey Hepburn’s Life in Pictures by Chiara Pasqualetti Johnson
70 years after her Oscar-winning Hollywood debut in Roman Holiday, Audrey Hepburn remains one of the most channeled style icons of our time. In this volume, journalist Chiara Pasqualetti Johnson reflects on Hepburn’s life both onscreen and off, from the beginning of her career as a dancer to her cinematic success and humanitarian work. She recalls the star’s time as Hubert de Givenchy’s muse among other standout fashion moments, such as wearing one of the largest yellow diamonds in the world in promotional photos for Breakfast at Tiffany’s (in the film’s opening scene, she wore a costume version of the same “Ribbon Rosette” necklace from the titular jeweler). While there’s no shortage of incredibly chic photos from Hepburn’s time in the spotlight here, original sketches of Holly Golightly’s costumes and jewels truly can’t be missed.
ACC Art Books, $45; accartbooks.com
Esther Brinkmann by Ward Schrijver, Philippe Solms, Fabienne X. Sturm, and Elizabeth Fischer
For the past three decades, Swiss jewelry artist Esther Brinkmann has been creating minimalist rings with a signature flair. Pieces that look heavy are actually impressively light thanks to a unique mix of materials, and each object is designed with the wearer’s body language in mind (above all, Brinkmann values the relationship of the ring to the hand and, subsequently, movement itself). This monograph covers her work in depth, from years spent learning the crafts of indigenous artisans in China and India to producing lacquer for her unique works of art.
Arnoldsche, $65; available November 23 at accartbooks.com
Art x Fashion: Fashion Inspired by Art by Nancy Hall-Duncan
Art historian Nancy Hall-Duncan presents 75 stylish pieces and the artwork that inspired each one in this insightful look at the longstanding collaboration between fashion designers and artists. From the legendary Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli working with Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, to Martin Margiela being influenced by Gaugin, and, more recently, Raf Simons and Louis Vuitton collaborating with street artists like Sterling Ruby and Yayoi Kusama, the connections explored here are as strong as they are surprising. The accessories chapter is especially eye-popping, with stunning brooches, earrings, and rings shown alongside the paintings and sculptures that served as their inspiration.
Rizzoli Electa, $45; rizzolibookstore.com
The Queen: 70 Years of Majestic Style by Bethan Holt
Author Bethan Holt presents a new edition of her guide to Queen Elizabeth II’s style, taking readers on a comprehensive journey through the late monarch’s wardrobe following her death. As Holt explores her fashion strategy (the royal’s outfits were carefully selected to signal diplomacy as much as they were elegance), she devotes a full chapter to the queen’s extensive jewelry collection. The most important baubles of her seven-decade reign are documented here, from the tiaras of her teenage years and her bevy of dazzling brooches to the pearl necklace worn in what became her final public appearance.
Ryland Peters & Small, $28; bookshop.org
The Style of Time: The Evolution of Wristwatch Design by Mara Cappelletti
Each decade dating back to the early 1900s is linked to an iconic watch style in this jewelry book, which explores technical innovations as well as the evolution of design trends, from Art Deco details to varying face shapes. Alongside photos of watches both classic and elaborate—Cartier’s jewel-encrusted brooches and Patek Philippe’s diamond-set bracelets are notable stunners—author Mara Cappelletti delves into the art of watchmaking and recalls historically significant timepieces, including the one worn by Charles Lindbergh during the first transatlantic solo flight.
ACC Art Books, $65, accartbooks.com