I’m often asked if there are any jewelry books I recommend. I thought I’d get off my lazy… well anyway, here’s a couple of books that have been helpful to me.
Let’s start off with a classic. “The Design and Creation of Jewelry” by Robert von Neumann really is a must have. It covers just about EVERYTHING! This is one of the first books I ever bought. It first came out in 1961 but it is still very relevant.
Why This Book: This book is foundational – it goes over setting up a studio, what hand tools to buy, what large tools to consider and it goes into all kinds of jewelry techniques from texturing to stone setting, engraving, etching, and SO much more. Even if you’re not into a lot of the techniques, it gives you a great grasp on what it takes to do those jewelry operations.
Next is a personal favorite. “Indian Silversmithing” by W. Ben Hunt. As you know, I love ‘Indian’ jewelry and I love this book. I learned an awful lot from it. Again, it was first published in 1960, but it covers traditional techniques that are still very much in use today.
Why This Book: The author goes over setting up a shop also but talks about tools specific to the southwest style of jewelry. He goes into stamps and how to make them, and how to solder. He then takes you through a number of classic Indian jewelry projects. Although he is not always real clear on every step, you’ll get the drift.
The next selection is really two volumes – “Indian Jewelry Making” volumes I & II by Oscar T. Branson. These books go into some history and traditional techniques also. Published in 1977, they are as current as ever.
Why This Book: First, a lot of great information. Second, a lot of great pictures which can help clarify things. As I already mentioned, I love Indian Jewelry, and these books give you more ideas and projects to learn and work on. Sometimes the instruction is a little skimpy, but I think the great illustrative pictures make up for it. You’ll get a lot of inspiration from these volumes. Oh, and I also met his grandson one year in Tucson!
Finally, as kind of an honorable mention because it’s a relatively new addition to my library, “Foldforming” by Charles Lewton-Brain. You’ll find out things about fold forming you never even thought about!
Why This Book: First off, I’ve met and talked with Charles and he’s a great guy, very kind and giving, but also extremely knowledgeable. If you ever get the chance to talk with him, do! Second, this book contains his voluminous and intense studies and practices into the art of folding metal. When you finish this book, you too will think the possibilities are endless. I learned a lot!
I know this is just a quick overview of these books, but these books have helped me and helped form my jewelry making. What are your favorites and how have they helped you? I’d love to hear from you!