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Learning about the History of Jewelry

I am interested in learning more about the history of jewelry. I have
read many books on the subject but would like to attend a class or
workshop that would give me a broad background on the Jewelry of
other eras. Can you recommend a workshop or class for me?


Hello Mary,

My College is going to be offering History of adornment ( jewelery
history ) this fall because our studio is going to be moved to a new
and better location. Its College of DuPage in Glenn Ellyn,IL. The
teacher is amazing, i have taken her Intro Fabrication course a few
years back and am currently in her lost wax casting class. Might be
something your interested in if you are of course in the DuPage
county or Chicago land area.


Where are you located? Here at the University of South Florida in
Tampa they have a wonderful two month class on jewelry history. The
instructor is very knowledgeable and history is one of her major


Hi Mary, I am from India and the school where I teach has very
recently started the course on History of Jewelry. It is short
course basically designed to give an overview on how the culture,
social, political, economic and other such aspects influence jewelry
as well. I am sure you would like the course.

Since you have already read, I wish I could help you in some way.
The one possibility that I can think of is that I send you the basic
format of how are course is structured. On that basis if you then do
the reading it might give you a direction.

Let me know. take care.

Hi –

A friend forwarded to me your inquiry about a course in the history
of jewelry – because I teach just such a course. I don’t know
where you live but I’m in the Greater Washington, D.C., area. If
you’re anywhere near here and if you’re interested, send word and
I’ll send more details.

Cheers, Brenda Forman

The Revere Academy in San Francisco, California, is offering a two
day class on April 16 and 17. The History of Jewelry will be taught
by Christie Romero, a prominent jewelry historian who wrote Warmans
Jewelry, a fully illustrated guide to 18th, 19th, and 20th century
fine and costume jewelry. The first day covers the history of
goldsmithing and jewelry making from ancient times to the present.
The second day is an overview of jewelry styles for the past 250
years. Both days are filled with images. For more info:

Alan Revere - Director
Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, Inc.
760 Market Street
Suite 900
San Francisco, California 94102
tel: 415-391-4179
fax: 415-391-7570

Hi Brenda,

I am in the D.C. area and I would love to learn more about the class
you offer. You can contact me off line if you prefer:

Jan Baum

Jewelry History Education - (European Dark Ages)

I’ve seen a few posts on this subject lately, and especially since
Mike O’toole introduced himself yesterday and mentioned that
“Ancient/medieval/early rennaissance pieces from Northern Europe get
“my motor running” so to speak.” I thought I for a change might have
something to offer the group. As you know, the “Dark Ages”
(roughly 6th to 9th centuries) was a rather bleak time for most of
Europe. The exception to much of the plummeting art world at the
time was Ireland and certain other Celtic/Viking strongholds where
monks pretty much isolated themselves in pretty, very hard to reach
round towers. Here, the decorative arts flourished.

I got to tour the National Museum of Ireland “Collin’s Barracks”
display of dark age celtic goldsmithing this last summer, and it was
incredible. For those of you who are interested in seeing the items
but can’t quite justify the cost of traveling over there, there is an
incredible book on the subject called “Work of Angels: Masterpieces
of Celtic Metalwork, 6th to 9th Centuries” by Susan Youngs. It’s
out of print, but you can still find used copies. I got one for about
$45.00 (a steal) after diligently searching Ebay, amazon, alibris,
and I sold it to a friend who was a little more ecstatic
about it then I was, since she didn’t get to see the stuff in person.

Work of Angels: Masterpieces of Celtic Metalwork, 6th to 9th Centuries
By Susan Youngs

Media: Paperback
Manufacturer : British Museum Press
Release data : 1989

Tina McDonald

The Merovingians had a some good metalwork going as well.
Check out “From Attila to Charlemagne”

From Attila to Charlemagne: Arts of the Early Medieval Period in The
Metropolitan Museum of Art

By Katharine Brown , Dafydd Kidd , Charles Little

Price: $50.00

Media: Hardcover
Manufacturer : Metropolitan Museum of Art
Release data : 01 February, 2001

Elizabeth Schechter
RFX Studios


oh, what fun…what great stuff…unfortunately I looked up the book
that you recommended on AMAZON…(since it sounded right up my
alley) and tear fell down my cheeks when I found out the cheapest
this book is is…$120.00. (though reading your post gave me some
faith if I searched, I can find it cheaper…maybe?) Why are the best
books so much money???

though I am a huge fan of celtic and viking work…the scythian
goldwork is so SO phenomenal. There is a great and cheap book called
“from the lands of the scythians: ancient treasures from the museums
of the u.s.s.r. 3,000BC- 100BC” It is a special bulletin
publication by the metropolitan museum of art. If you enjoy ancient
jewelry and haven’t seen the scythian work yet…it is amazing.

the museum (and all of ireland) must have been great. I am jealous
:slight_smile: I would really like to learn more about the techniques used for
ancient goldwork…I always wonder how they did these things with
such limited technology (certainly without our propane and oxygen
torches and dremels and buffers) My dad always said “they just took a
lifetime to make one peice”, which is an answer I don’t like! I would
like to see on the discovery channel “how they made the mask of
tutankhamon” (sp?) (though once I saw a “how to make a mycenian
tomb” on some station and they sandcasted a huge plate for the top of
a tomb…that must be a fun job!)

julia potts
julia potts studios

...unfortunately I looked up the book that you recommended ... the
cheapest this book is is...$120.00. 

Hello Julia,

You might want to check out or other similar sources.
Today I see there are copies for $40 and $70. I’m really looking
forward to receiving mine which I ordered yesterday for $60 incl s+h.

Trevor F.
in The City of Light

Some books that I can recommend for you:

The Medieval Goldsmiths Work. Isa Belli Barsali. Out of print, but
not expensive if you can find it.

Medieval Goldsmith’s Work; (Cameo)
By Isa Belli Barsali

Manufacturer : Hamlyn
Release data : 1969

Medieval Craftsmen: Goldsmiths. John Cherry A kids book, but not bad.

Goldsmiths (Medieval Craftsmen Series)
By John Cherry
Price: $24.95

Media: Paperback
Manufacturer : University of Toronto Press
Release data : 01 July, 1992

De Re Metallica Agricola THE book on ancient craftwork. Just don’t
follow the instructions on cutting quartz. Unless you happen to
have goat’s blood laying around.

De Re Metallica
By Georgius Agricola

Price: $20.37

Media: Paperback
Manufacturer : Dover Publications
Release data : 01 June, 1950

On Divers Arts. Theophilus The OTHER book on ancient craftwoork.

On Divers Arts: The Foremost Medieval Treatise on Painting,
Glassmaking, and Metalwork

Called Also Rugerus Theophilus); 1979 Edition
Price: $10.17

Media: Paperback
Manufacturer : Dover Publications
Release data : 01 June, 1979

Those last two are from Dover books, and are not expensive at all!

Elizabeth Schechter
RFX Studios

I was able to order a used copy of “Work of Angels Celtic Metalwork
for 25 pounds sterling from the UK Amazon with
reasonable shipping to the US.

Good Luck Diana

Continue from:

Hi Tina,

Thanks for your response and the recommendation, I found a copy
through and have ordered it.

I agree with you, seeing the pieces in person is more enlightening
than simply looking at photos in a book. If only for the simple
fact you can get a better idea of the scale or other other details
that don’t translate well in a photo.

Here in Calgary the Glenbow Museum recently had an exhibition “The
Mysterious Bog People.” In it there were quite a few pieces of
jewellry, coins and other items left as offerings in the bogs of
Northern Europe. The book published by the sponsoring museums shows
quite a few of the artifacts and several in macro photos but none
have any indication of size of the items. Perhaps it is the
scientist in me but I like to see photographic scales with
artifacts. :slight_smile:

Thanks again for the recommendation, I can’t wait until my copy
shows up.

Mike O’Toole

PS I apologize for the late response, I am just getting over the
cold I picked up in San Francisco last weekend.

The Mysterious Bog People, published by Waanders Publishers
copyright 2002. ISBN 90 400 9663 5 NUGI 644