was truly guesswork as to what I should pay for a piece and then the harder part came when trying to find out how much a piece was worth. As a result I found that the public library had many jewelry price guides and I poured through them all for days on end and would pick out my next piece I was obsessing for. Through this research, I found three authors who stood out as being the best at giving the right information for just about anything you might need to know as an antique and vintage costume and fine jewelry collector or dealer.
The first is Jeanenne Bell. Jeanenne Bell has been on Antiques Roadshow as a jewelry appraiser and is one of America’s leading authorities on antique jewelry. She has written many books and the first book I bought of hers was “How to be a Jewelry Detective”. This book is filled to the brim with priceless information about the clues to solving jewelry mysteries. She gives easy to understand tips for testing materials, gem cuts, hardware and findings throughout the ages, marks and a whole lot more.
I have recommended this book to literally 100’s of my buyers on eBay who may not be sure what gutta percha is, or is it ivory or bone and what is a briolette cut stone. She answers them all and she even has a small pocket size field guide to take along to the shops and flea markets. My favorite book of hers is Collecting Victorian Jewelry which is a real treat for the eyes and is beautiful enough to be left out for others to peruse. In this book she shows an amazing range of incredible museum quality pieces of Costume and Fine jewelry. Each piece is a work of art and each has an easy to understand description and value assigned. She imparts the history associated with the Victorian era and who all of the main characters were. She enlightens the reader about this period in time that was all about romance, passion and heartache. Very good read and a very good aid to the serious period piece collector.
My next favorite author is Harrice Simons-Miller. I have two of her price guides, Costume Jewelry 2nd edition and Official Price Guide to Costume Jewelry 3rd edition. What I love about her books is that she knows her stuff as it relates to costume jewelry dating from early Art Deco up to the present. Her books are very good for identifying the major players in the costume and fashion design industries. She really clarifies what each jewelry designer’s signature look is and her photographs and descriptions will give you an edge when you are out in the field. Her values are truly representative of retail in fine antique or jewelry boutiques and give the reader the parameters as to what to spend to get your jewelry collection “fix”. She has bought from me on eBay on a couple of