This story first appeared in the December 13, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“With This Ring — The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Jewelry” (Bulfinch Press)
Authors: Penny Proddow and Marion Fasel
Between the Lines: Proddow and Fasel, who also cover the fine jewelry and watch beat for In Style, examine the history of engagement and wedding rings from Jewish wedding bands to diamond engagement rings and Tiffany settings. The duo also chronicle bridal jewels worn by everyone from the Duchess of Windsor to Gwen Stefani and David and Victoria Beckham — with informative tidbits that are lively and easy to read.
“We wanted to make it fun and ease the stress level,” Fasel said.
Proddow added, “It’s informative and demystifies some of the perils of understanding and buying diamonds.”
After all, even princes get it wrong: The book tells the story of Prince Rainier III of Monaco, who proposed to Grace Kelly with a Cartier ruby and diamond eternity band. When visiting her in Los Angeles shortly thereafter, he realized the fashion there was huge diamond rings. To avoid potential cattiness, he immediately cabled Cartier in Paris and replaced the ring with a 12-carat emerald-cut diamond.
Shining Moment: A ring glossary in the back of the book explaining everything from bezel to prong setting and V-Tip.
Wish List: Every man planning to propose in the New Year and every woman hoping to accept.
Price and Availability: $24.95 at Amazon.com.
“Shinde Jewels” (Assouline)
Author: Reema Keswani
Between the Lines: Considered one of the most influential jewelry designers of the last century, Ambaji Venkateshwara Shinde created dazzling gems for the Maharajas of India before starting work for Harry Winston in the Sixties, where he stayed until his retirement in 2000.
Known for his unique eye and almost painterly understanding of color compositions, Shinde’s jewels are considered works of art, often incorporating the rich textures of India into the designs. At Winston, he created spectacular jewels for the likes of Imelda Marcos, Sharon Stone and Madonna. He also designed Gwyneth Paltrow’s fringed diamond choker worn the night she won the Oscar for “Shakespeare in Love.”
The book chronicles Shinde’s career with sketches of opulent jewelry designs and photos of the original pieces.
Shining Moment: The page showing Shinde’s artful watercolor painting of his favorite designs streaming out of Harry Winston’s Fifth Avenue salon.
Wish List: Jewelry historians and gold fanatics.
Price and Availability: $18.95 at Rizzoli in New York.
“Greetings from Andy (Warhol): Christmas at Tiffany’s” (Abrams)
Author: John Loring
Between the Lines: Before he immortalized a Campbell’s soup can, Warhol dabbled in window design and won awards drawing footwear ads. He also spent seven years illustrating Christmas cards for Tiffany & Co., 55 of which are featured in this new book.
Tiffany design director Loring paired Warhol’s magical pictures with his non sequiturs pulled from “The Andy Warhol Diaries.”
The iconic artist was introduced to the fine jewelry house by Gene Moore, a visual display guru who dressed Tiffany’s windows at the time. Warhol’s first holiday illustration, “Butterfly Tree,” appeared in Tiffany’s catalogue in 1956. Images of shoes filled with holly and ornaments, stars made of fruit and birds, and a merry band of cherubs followed.
Pearl of Wisdom: “He didn’t give her the pillows she wanted for Christmas, he just gave her a TV for the bathroom. And no jewelry.” The Andy Warhol Diaries, Dec. 25, 1980.
Wish List: Warhol aficionados and those looking for an affordable way to fill that little blue box.
Price and Availability: $25 at Barnes & Noble.