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I’m writing a how-to book on jewelry making. I posted once before
and want to thank all the people who gave me their helpful
suggestions. I’m now in the last stages of my book proposal and
would like to call on you Orchidians again for your help. I have to
do marketing research in order to sell my agent on the (hopefully)
large audience for my book. You may not know this (I didn’t), but
publishers and bookstores do not make available their sales figures
to the public. Therefore, I come to you to ask about your book
buying habits. Do you buy jewelry making books for knowledge,
inspiration or some other reason? How many jewelry books do you own?
Do you look for new ones on the market? Any you folks
can give me is much needed and very much appreciated. I’ve always
considered myself a writer, but now I find that I’m becoming a
jewelry maker and loving it. I mostly lurk, since I’m a total
beginner and have little to offer in the way of helpful advice. I’ve
learned a lot from you all and think the Orchid site is a wonderful
avenue for and support. Thanks in advance.

Christine Ritchey

No offense but how does one who considers themselves a" total
beginner and have little to offer in the way of helpful advice" even
begin to write an informative and usefull book on Jewelry making. are
you consulting with someone who is a proffesional Jeweler? I would
hope so. Surely you haven’t gleaned all your from other
sources rather than your own personal experience. If i sound harsh its
because my own personal education that makes me the proffesional that
i am was hard earned through expense and trial and error. I myself
like to share to help others grow in this field. As a
potential buyer of your book i would only buy it if i respected your
abilities or the source from wich you recieved your well
i hope you can enlighten us as to the proccess you used to write
this book because at this point buying a Jewelry making book from a
"total beginner" is not my idea of a wise purchase . I hope im going
in the wrong direction here but i had to say something.

Jeff Alverson

Christine: I am also new in the jewelry making crafts. I purchased
McCreight’s book before I even started b/c I heard of the vast amount
of info to be gained in reading it ( Thanks, Tim!!). I have also
purchased 2 other books on chain making as this is my current
interest. Other technical books or general jewelry making books are
just borrowed from my local library, perused and sent back. Unless I
am looking for technical fabricating type of answers, most books just
give me ideas. Have heard that Professional Goldsmithing is also a
great purchase. Hope this helps your reasearch.

Heidi P in AZ

Hi Christine: I do buy jewelry books for both inspiration and to save
on perspiration (how-to books). I’ve been making jewelry for about
25 years and the one thing I must caution you about in the how-to
category is to have very clear photographs or very good drawings!
It is extremely frustrating and irritating when a book attempts to
instruct with lousy visual clues.

I have over 30 jewelry books in my library and add as I learn. Hope
this helps!

Nina Leto Mayleas

Hi Christine,

Do you buy jewelry making books for knowledge, inspiration or some
other reason?  How many jewelry books do you own? Do you look for
new ones on the market? 

I buy jewelry books for knowledge and inspiration but more, I think
for inspiration. Great color illustrations are a must. I own around
50 jewelry books at this point and I’m always on the lookout for new


Hi Christine: Glad to hear you are in the final stages. You have
advanced quite quickly, I think. Anyway to answer your question, I
usually buy books for knowledge and I probably own around 25 books at
this point. I love being able to see the book before buying and
having good illustrations is definitely a plus for me. I truly love
books on techniques but have on occasion bought “coffee table” type
books which are mostly picture books on the history of jewelry. I
don’t consider those part of my working library - they are just
inspiration sources when I hit a blank now and then. Hope this


My addiction to jewelry related books pales only in comparison to my
gemstone and tool addictions. I have a pretty extensive library…
with a few holes yet to fill. Of course, the new books Charles and
Tim announced moves immediately to the top of the list! I think
anyone who is serious about this field either grew up in it (learned
by watching), or has a library of which he or she can be proud.

I hate to be less than 100% enthusiastic about any creative
endeavor, but at the risk of sounding negative, let me give some
potentially valuable insight. There are quite a few jewelry making
books that could be described as introductory, beginning, “complete
book of”, encyclopedia, etc. Many of them are quite good, and others
seem to be redundant. Unless you have a unique perspective, a new
angle, or some other characteristic to differentiate your offering
from the already published volumes, you may be in for disappointment.

That’s not to say it can’t be done. One of my favorite new books
is The Complete Book of Jewelry Making by Carles (not
Charles)Codina. Lark Books; ISBN 1-57990-188-3. It was published in
Spain in 1999 and translated to English and published in 2000 in the
U.S. A truly beautiful book with tons of excellent color photographs.
A lot of the stuff in this book is already covered by one (or
several) other books in my library, but there was something
compelling about this book from the first time I saw it (at Mollie
Arnette’s house).

Best of luck if you decide to proceed!

All the best,
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Hi, I am the Head of a Jewellery school.We would be glad if you
could share your knowledge with us.We would be grateful if you
forward to us list of books,periodicals and magazines and the
addresses also. If you are interested we can send you a list of books
which we have. Thanks.

I note that the writer is proposing a how-to book, not that she is
currently writing the book. Any publisher accepting a proposal on
how to make jewelry from someone who is not an experienced jeweler
deserves the resulting manuscript.

I have worked with one of the best how-to people in the business,
Adolfo Mattiello, assisting in getting one of his manuscripts ready
for publication. He is the how-to expert, bringing to the project
extraordinary insights, detailed instruction, and even photographs
of the correct hand positions to carry out the task at hand. This
came from his extensive experience.

I have also written about contemporary jewelers in my book,
Contemporary American Jewelry Design, based on my many years of
reporting on the field. Although I have written about jewelry and
jewelers for more than 25 years, I would not dream of writing a
"how-to" book.

While it is certainly true that the author of a book must provide
strong marketing to a potential publisher in order to
show there is a proven audience for the book, the content of the
book must come out of the writer’s experience.

Ettagale Blauer

Any one looking for old jewelry books, try : they
might have whatyour looking for, or you can ask them to search for a
special book. Passing By

No offense but how does one who considers themselves a" total
beginner and have little to offer in the way of helpful advice"
even begin to write an informative and usefull book on Jewelry

This was my first reaction as well when I read Christine’s post. I
own a number of Jewelry making books, and am always looking for more,
but have passed many by in the bookstore after browsing through what
often appears to be very basic info that has been presented much
more thoroughly in books by many who have much more than “little to
offer in the way of helpful advice”.

If you want to know what kinds of jewelry making books I like, look
at the some of the ones’ I have actually purchased because they have
a LOT to offer, (and I still want more!).

"The Design and Creation of Jewelry" by Von Neumann;
"Form Emphasis for Metalsmiths" by Heikki Seppa;
"Cloisonne Enameling and Jewelry Making" by Felicia Liban and Louise 

“The Art of Jewelry Making” and “Professional Goldsmithing”, both by Alan
“Cheap Thrills in the Toolshop”, and “Hinges and Hinge-Based Catches”, both
by Charles
“Jewelry Concepts and Technology”, “Traditional Jewelry of India”, and
"Metal Techniques for
Craftsmen" all by Oppi Untracht;
“Metals Technic”, and “The Complete Metalsmith”, both by Tim McCreight;

Other authors’ books I own: Jinks McGrath, Sylvia Wicks, Jean Stark,
Murray & Peter Bovin, and many more I cannot recall as I am in the
process of relocating my workroom within my house and don’t have
ready access to all of my books.

My next purchase will most likely be the just published “The Theory
and Practice of Goldsmithing” (Theorie und Praxis des Goldschmieds) by
Prof. Dr. Erhard Brepohl translated by Charles Lewton-Brain edited by
Tim McCreight

I am also waiting for an in the works book on chasing and repousse
by a MASTER of the art; hope that someone might translate “Die
Granulation” by Wolters in my lifetime while I can still do this
stuff, and would like to see another book by Ms. Stark, or maybe
even Cecelia Bauer, about granulation.

Gail Middleton
Brooklyn, New York

Hi Christine, My professional career was in marketing and publishing,
I have sisters that are writer,editors recipie developers and

I find that if you look at the cookbook market you may find you come
up with some ideas on writing how to books, plus you can never have
too many cookbooks.

I have been doing silverwork since my teenage years as a hobby and
now I am trying to turn it into a business. I have just started
buying jewelry making books. Starting out the cost for setting up a
studio are expensive and every dollar counts. So I find spending
money on non essential books is not a good use of funds.

With all due respect, What could I possibly learn from you that I
could not learn from Tim McCreight’s book which is an excellent
value at $15.00, on the other hand why not write a different type of
book, you know the one like cookbooks where they are great reading
books, even if you do not play to make the item.

I must say that also of the older books around are really dry and
boring to read. Maybe you calling is being able to rewrite some of
these books so they are acutally entertaining to read as well as
being informative.

One of my most favorite cookbook is the Splendid Table, it mixes
history travel and cooking.

Find your own niche.

Why not look at the market books and see where the market is lacking
As far as being a beginner yourself, I would not spend
my money on that kind of book. Image buying a cookbook from someone
who is just learning how to cook. Cook books have recipie testers
to ensure that the methods work.

I would also wonder if you leave yourself open to litigation if you
put together a book as an expert, what if someone follows your
procedures and has a disaster, are you libel.

Perhaps you should hook up with other experts that are in the field
and are looking to get some recongnition and want to be consultants.

If you interested, lets talk further, I can be hired as a research
and marketing consultant, or perhaps you want a partner in this

good luck

So, glad some others voiced my thoughts, some of my friends are
major authors in the industry and serious books are not easy to
publish. Much less, there is not a large profit to be made either.
Since, this is a small market area. In the “craft” area however,
there are a lot of basic how to books, and I am sure many more in the
works. This area is much larger, since the target market has a
larger reach.

Christine, you have to set a more formal research plan than just
your basic questions, that is just exploratory research. If you are
going to present this to a publisher, it has to have all the proper
elements in it that can be justified and are not just opinion based.
Get some experts, which you will have to pay to contribute and this
will add creditability. Also, the book idea will show it was
thoroughly researched in the right direction both in the marketing
arena and in content.

I am an instructor(15 years) in gemology and teach the Master Valuer
Program at a major university. Currently, less than one year from
entering the doctorial program in business. 30 years in the trade.


Hi Jeff,

Thanks so much for bringing my little blooper to my attention. For
some reason, I just forgot that not everyone is going to know what
the heck I’m talking about! I posted a reply to the list, but I’ll
give you a little more I first met my co-author when I
went to her web site. It was dreadfully misspelled. As a
professional editor and proofreader, I just couldn’t stand to see
all that beautiful jewelry and that terrible spelling in the same
place. I emailed her and asked her if I could please proofread her
site. (I’m a little obsessive about this.) We’ve been great
friends since then. She’s extremely generous and started teaching me
to make jewelry. At some point we said, “Hey, we ought to write a

Jeff, you won’t believe her work. She’s had such a hard life and
out of all this darkness comes this beautiful, totally original
jewelry. After 25 years of doing shows, her hands get so swollen.
She’s been teaching, but it doesn’t pay the bills like her jewelry
does. I hope that the book provides her with enough income so that
she won’t have to do so many shows and can take more time creating
new designs and doing less production. We’re a good team, I think.
She is severely dyslexic. Almost totally right-brained, she comes up
with new ideas faster than I can write them down. I’m just the
writer. We go back and forth until I understand what she’s trying to
teach me and we both agree on the way the project’s written. Thanks
again for bringing my little omission to my attention! Sincerely,