Book Review: Jewels That Made History

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Book Review: Jewels That Made History

Thumbnail image from Pixabay

By Kathy Megyeri 

What woman doesn’t like jewelry? This glittering book called “Jewels That Made History: 101 Stones, Myths and Legends,” will make women love jewelry even more because author Stellene Volandes, editor-in-chief of “Town and Country,” is an internationally renowned jewelry expert.  

Image from Amazon

About this jewel-focused book…

In this lavishly illustrated keepsake book, Volandes takes us from ancient treasures to royal weddings and gives us a tour of the world’s most extraordinary people and the jewelry they wore. She begins with Cleopatra, shows us Napoleon’s gift to Marie Louise at their son’s birth, tells us the story of Jackie Kennedy’s famous brooch at a 1962 state dinner with the Shah of Iran, shares her thrill at holding the 563-caret sapphire Star of India, relates stories behind the Queen of England’s tiaras, and examines jewelry statements worn by Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga and Meghan Markle.  

In a chronological recording from 1292 BC to the present, Volandes tells stories of engagements, thefts, revolutions, marriages, divorces and inheritances that showcase jewel-driven drama. She examines the jewelry boxes of notables, the rich and the famous, and then shares stories behind the gems’ makers, givers and receivers; stories of stones that have communicated status, inspired great feats, and resulted sometimes in theft, heartbreak and loss.

Each examination is a history lesson, beautifully photographed and appealingly presented for all who love history, fashion, celebrities, and jewelry. Volandes’ knowledge is vast so she shares insights and facts and stories that jewelry lovers will treasure.  

For example, in 1930, the highest paid Hollywood actress, Gloria Swanson, walked into Cartier, bought two Art Deco crystal and diamond bracelets, and wore them on screen while filming the movie, Sunset Boulevard. 

Gloria Swanson’s bracelets. Image from TruFaux Jewels.

Millicent Rogers, Standard Oil heiress and jewelry collector, paired Native American silver with Russian diamonds and has a museum dedicated to her collection in Taos, NM. And thanks to Harry Winston who donated the Hope Diamond, Catherine the Great’s emeralds and the Portuguese Diamond to the Smithsonian, you and I and millions of others can visit them on display for free.  

However, the real gem is this book—so informative, so fun and so valuable. 

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