We’ve asked some of our authors, contributors, and favorite people in the jewelry community to recommend the best jewelry books, and we’re putting them all together right here for you. The books might be ones they especially treasure and love, that affected their own work or development, or simply books they’d recommend as excellent, helpful, and instructive.
Our newest list is from Alison Lee of CraftCast, joining the lists of Thomas Mann, Barbara Becker Simon, Stacie Hooder, Pauline Warg, and Ingeborg Vandamme. Also, you’re welcome to see our lists of best books for beaders.
Please enjoy, share the link widely, and leave a comment on this post with the jewelry books you’d recommend to jewelers and crafters. Join the Lark Jewelry & Beading community on Facebook, too.
List No. 6: Alison Lee
Alison Lee is the founder and host of CRAFTCAST, a website and community for live online crafting classes and video downloads from the top teachers in a range of crafts, including jewelry and beading.
Metal Clay Beads by Barbara
This is one of my absolute favorite books! Endless inspiration and techniques inside. I go back to this book often.
21st Century Jewelry by Marthe Le Van
This book is pure inspiration! I love having this kind of eye candy available when I need it.
30-Minute Earrings by Marthe Le Van
Another great book edited by Marthe Le Van. Lots of great ideas that you can copy or use as a jumping off point to get yourself creatively moving.
Chains Chains Chains by Joanna Gollberg and Nathalie Mornu
I love making chains, so I really appreciated Joanna and Nathalie’s book, which takes a fresh look at some classic patterns. Lots of current new looks to get inspired by.
List No. 5: Barbara Becker Simon
Barbara Becker Simon is an artist, teacher, and author who makes jewelry with metal, metal clay, and glass. She is the author of Metal Clay Beads. Her website is www.bbsimon.com and you can also visit her Facebook page.
Design! A Lively Guide to Design Basics for Artists & Craftspeople by Steven Aimone
This is a straightforward, well-illustrated, modern approach to studying basic design.
Exploring Visual Design: The Elements and Principles, edited by Joseph A. Gatto, Albert W. Porter, and Jack Selleck
This is a thorough, well-illustrated textbook on visual design that has great exercises to enhance your learning.
Sources of Inspiration by Carolyn Genders
I love this absolutely beautiful book by a ceramic artist showing her inspiration behind individual pieces. It’s a look into the thought process of an artist.
Making Glass Beads by Cindy Jenkins
This is a nostalgic choice for me, as I used this book to learn the basic techniques of lampworked beads. Cindy is a pioneer in the lampwork bead world. Thanks, Cindy!
The Art of Enameling by Linda Darty
By far the best and most comprehensive book about enameling with the most gorgeous examples of this art form. Linda is a consummate artist and teacher.
The Workbench Guide to Jewelry Techniques by Anastasia Young
This book is a massive undertaking covering every aspect for the modern metalsmith-jeweler. Great step-by-step directions and photos and wonderful examples of jewelry throughout the book. I don’t do much traditional metalsmithing anymore, but I bought this book anyway. I knew I had to have it.
Complete Metalsmith by Tim McCreight
The “bible.” I refer to it often. Simply one of the best references for the metalsmith, ever.
Jewels of the Pharaohs by Cyril Aldred
This book may be out of print (I did buy this secondhand), but it is my favorite out of all my Egyptian jewelry books. Great photos and text about the work of one of my favorite periods of jewelry-making ever!
Calder Jewelry, edited by Alexander S.C. Rower and Holton Rower
This book makes my knees weak. I have been a fan of Alexander Calder’s jewelry since the 1960s. If you were unlucky enough to miss the amazing exhibit, this fantastic catalog is the next best thing. The number and intensity of inspirations that I derive from this book are impossible to enumerate. (You should see all the “stickies” I put on my favorite pages!) I’m in heaven.
List No. 4: Stacie Hooder
Stacie Hooder lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her love of jewelry making began long ago when creating gifts for her mom. She hoards beads of all varieties and is developing a real love affair with precious metal clay. She is the editor of the jewelry making page for Craft Gossip: http://jewelrymaking.craftgossip.com.
Here’s a list of five of my favorites:
These books are filled with inspiration and create the desire to master new techniques. Seeing what other jewelry artists are trying, creating, and learning pushes my inner artist.
4. Vintage Jewelry Design by Caroline Cox
This visual history presented by Caroline Cox is both captivating and insightful.
3. Metal Clay Origami Jewelry by Sara Jayne Cole
I love metal clay and I also love paper crafts, so the jewelry in Sara Jayne Cole’s book really fascinates me.
2. Steel Wire Jewelry by Brenda Schweder
Steel is a great material in lean times. It has a very contemporary look, and I really love the mixed-media pieces included in Brenda Schweder’s book.
1. Color, Texture & Casting for Jewelers by Carles Codina
Carles Codina’s book is rich with fascinating techniques for jewelers to explore.
List No. 3: Thomas Mann
Originally from Pennsylvania and from New Orleans since 1977, Thomas Mann has in recent years moved away from his signature Techno-Romantic design vocabulary toward jewelry concepts that are, in many cases, models for large-scale sculpture. He continues to show his work at nationally juried craft and art events and in gallery and museum exhibitions, and he oversees a jewelry studio, sculpture studio, and a retail gallery space, Gallery I/O. He now teaches a series of hands-on jewelry-making workshops as well as his 20-year-old workshop Design for Survival – Entrepreneurial Thinking and Tactics, for artists in all mediums. Visit his website at www.thomasmann.com.
List No. 2: Pauline Warg
Pauline Warg is a teacher of jewelry making, metalsmithing, enameling, and silversmithing. She is the author of Making Metal Beads and a contributor to Jewelry Design Challenge. She owns and operates WARG Enamel and Tools Center; visit her website at www.wargetc.com.
1. The Art of Enameling by Linda Darty: The most comprehensive and current book on enameling on metal. Linda is a master. I both use this book and recommend it all the time.
2. The Jewelry of Nepal by Hannelore Gabriel: I never tire of this book. It is visually rich and full of historical and geological information. I have had it on my coffee-table for years!
3. Chasing and Repoussé by Nancy Megan Corwin: At last, a thorough, accurate, and gorgeous book on some of my favorite techniques. A true pleasure to take in.
4. Jeweler’s Resource by Bruce G. Knuth: This book has all the charts, measurements, conversions, facts, and technical data on a myriad of jewelry making and related materials. I use it constantly for my classes and as a personal reference guide.
5. Contemporary Jewelry by Philip Morton: Philip was my teacher and mentor, so I “grew up” with this book. Over the years, the broad range of valued information has never grown old or out of date. I have read my two copies to shreds!
List No. 1: Ingeborg Vandamme
Ingeborg Vandamme is a jeweler in the Netherlands whose work and designs have been included in a range of Lark books — at least 19 of them, including Chains Chains Chains, 30-Minute Rings, 500 Judaica, and 21st Century Jewelry — and shown in museums and galleries around the world. Learn more about her work at http://www.ingeborgvandamme.nl/.
1. Ethnic Jewellery from Africa, Asia and Pacific Islands by Rene van der Star: In this book you find masterpieces from Africa, the Arab world, India, Central and Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands, all collected by Rene van der Star. Each of these areas has its own styles of design and its own specific uses and symbolism attached to the jewelry. Besides the uses of gold, silver, and gemstones, I like the uses of materials such as leather, coral, beads, bone teeth, and shells. Besides the pictures of the jewelry, there are beautiful old pictures of portraits of native people wearing the jewelry. I’m inspired a lot by the designs and materials, as well as the stories behind the jewelry.
2. The Jewelry of Nepal by Hannelore Gabriel: Nepalese jewelry, and Asian jewelry in general, is heavily symbolic. Every aspect of a jewelry piece signifies something. The form, the shape of the parts, the materials, the abstract and non-representational patterns, and the representational imagery all convey specific meanings drawn from a vast pool of historical concepts, cultural beliefs, and current notions. Besides the nice pictures, I like the interesting text. This book reminds me of a wonderful trip I took to Nepal and inspires me when making jewelry.
3. 500 Series jewelry books from Lark Jewelry & Beading: I like all the 500 Series jewelry books from Lark a lot. They are full of beautiful pictures of contemporary jewelry in a large range of different styles and concepts. I like to browse from time to time in these wonderful books, which are filled with unexpected and wide-ranging designs. Every time you browse through these books, you see new things and get new inspiration.
4. Lark Studio Series: Books about earrings and pendants have been published so far. Beautiful little books to carry around and inspire you everywhere.
5. The Compendium Finale of Contemporary Jewellers by Andy Lim: Two very voluminous books about the work of 1,000 contemporary jewelry designers around the world. Every jeweler designed a two-page presentation about their work. Published by Darling Publications, hand bound, weighs 13.5 kg, with 2,400 pages. The compendium shows on a never-done-before scale and manner what is happening in the worldwide contemporary jewelry scene.
6. Chains Chains Chains by Joanna Gollberg and Nathalie Mornu: Easy step-by-step instructions to create 25 beautiful, non-traditional metal chains. You learn various techniques to apply and practice in each project. Besides the fabulous designs of the chains from different designers, I love the layout and design of the book itself, and especially the soft and tactile cover.
7. 30-Minute Series by Marthe Le Van: 30-Minute earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets. I love this little series of Lark books filled with projects of beautiful designs by different designers.
8. The Art of Jewelry: Paper Jewelry by Marthe Le Van: In this book you find 35 creative projects for making jewelry with paper. I also like another Art of Jewelry Series book: Wood Jewelry. I especially like these books because they are based on the material, and so you find a lot of instructions about how to use paper and wood for jewelry.
9. The Complete Jewelry Making Course by Jinks McGrath: Clear steps and good pictures and instructions for most jewelry-making techniques. From time to time I consult this book searching for techniques for using in my work or explaining to my students.
10. Art Jewelry Today 3 by Jeffery B. Snyder: This book shows what’s happening in art jewelry now, like the title says. Besides the pictures of recent work by the different designers I especially like the information about the jewelry makers and their inspirations.