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How to Select Jewelry

If you’d like to look good in your jewelry and be a smart buyer, consult the Jewelry Handbook. It’s like a Jewelry 101 course on the fundamentals of jewelry metals, settings, finishes, necklaces, chains, clasps, bracelets, rings, earrings, brooches, pins, clips, manufacturing methods and jewelry selection and care. Written for professionals and lay people, the Jewelry Handbook outlines the benefits and drawbacks of the various setting styles, mountings, chains, and metals such as gold, silver, platinum, palladium, titanium, stainless steel and tungsten. It also provides information and color photos on gemstones, birthstones, and fineness marks and helps you select versatile, durable jewelry that flatters your features.

Jewelry Handbook: How to Select, Wear & Care for Jewelry

by Renee Newman   

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ISBN 978-929975-38-2 / 6" x 9" (15 x 23 cm) / 177 pages

International Jewelry Publications  / $19.95 / Paperback

297 color and 47 b/w photos, pub date: March 31, 2007



Jack Ogden, CEO, Gem A (British Gemmological Association)

"A great introduction to jewellery and should be required reading for all in the industry."

Gem Market News, reviewed by Richard B. Drucker, GG

"I have to admit, when I first see a “handbook” written for consumers, my expectations for trade interest are low. This book surprised me. As you will see from the review, I felt that not only did it serve some valuable advice for consumers, but it also offered valuable information for the trade, specifically those in retail sales and perhaps even more for jewelry appraisers.

The first chapter defines jewelry in its basics including fine, costume, and antique. From there, the book moves into jewelry metals. The comprehensive list includes the newer metals now being used for jewelry such as titanium, palladium, and tungsten. Advantages and disadvantages clarify why someone would opt for one of these. So, early on in this book I could see how appraisers would benefit. Most appraisers are not jewelry manufacturers, nor have they experienced retail selling of all these metals. Yet, consumers are buying these metals and need appraisals. Understanding the differences is key to accurate descriptions and valuations.

Basic gem facts, birthstones, and anniversary stones, along with cutting styles are next for this book. Newman does not cover a great deal of detail here, though the cutting styles are great to see in color photographs. She does mention that her other books cover this topic in greater detail.

Manufacturing methods again made me think of the appraiser in me as I read this chapter. There is a difference in manufacturing methods and they do have differences in durability and cost. Here again this chapter serves as a nice primer for appraisers and salespeople to learn and understand the importance of manufacturing. For example, many in our industry probably do not know the differences in die-stamping and lost wax casting. Did you know that a die-struck ring of 14K is harder than a cast ring of 14K, and therefore will wear better? Another valuable lesson is the difference between hand fabricated and handmade. Yes, there is a difference.

Among the other chapters are valuable lists and photographs that will help consumers and trade regarding chain styles, finishes, and decorative techniques. Advantages and disadvantages are covered again for these. Clasps are also described and photographed.

The rest of the book is primarily a “how-to-select” book. It covers rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, pins, and clips. A chapter also exists on tips for men with their jewelry. The last chapter accordingly is on care of jewelry. Basic cleaning tips are good for consumers. Newman also includes a Gem Reference Guide chart that she has compiled from information in an earlier Gems & Gemology article and an article published by Howard Rubin. The chart covers ultrasonic uses and other comments on care and durability. While charts such as this are readily available, some jewelers might like to have this one, too. Consumers will find it interesting, especially since some have purchased ultrasonic cleaners (mild strength and industrial strength) so having this information is helpful for them.

The Handbook does well to cover its topics in concise chapters. It is not a long book in total text due to the great volume of photos that compliment the text. This makes it an easy read and easy to find those valuable lists and details. I am sure that we will reference this book in our appraisal library.

Australian Gemmologist

Excellent value for money—both for potential retail purchasers of jewellery, and for gemmologists and others employed in the jewellery industry. . .

As with previous books by this author, advice offered with respect to jewellery is very practical, simply yet clearly expressed. Potential purchasers of jewellery are advised to purchase a copy of this book, read its content carefully . . . and then proceed with your proposed purchase . . . much better informed than you previously were.

Gems & Gemology

"informs and delights the end user of jewelry by explaining everything from why we use jewelry, to manufacturing methods, to what type of jewelry is best for which face shape. The 16 chapters are liberally illustrated with large color photos to help explain the different terms, cutting styles, textures, and techniques discussed. The first six chapters cover specifics of jewelry, gemstones, metals, and manufacturing, the balance of the book delves into selecting flattering necklaces, brooches, and rings, as well as many details about the care of jewelry. The basics are there as well as the unusual. Helpful and practical tips are given at the end of each topic, summing up the pros and cons. For example, silver is subject to consistent tarnishing but is the most affordable of all metals, whereas tungsten is, for the most part hypoallergenic, but cannot be sized.

I found the chapter on manufacturing methods to be the most helpful, because few laypeople have a good understanding of what is involved. This chapter focuses on four basic methods of making jewelry—casting, stamping, electroforming, and hand fabrication—with bullet points on the advantages and disadvantages of each. Included is an interesting discussion on handmade vis-à-vis hand fabrication and the potential for confusion with these terms. Newman counsels jewelers and salespeople to clearly define what they man when the use the term handmade to customers.

This book is a great informational aid and sales tool for the counter person when addressing questions from potential buyers of fine jewelry. In addition, many of those in the trade could use it as their primer to fill in information not normally covered in standard classroom and jewelry show lectures.

The Jewelry Handbook is not all facts and data—the chapters on selecting rings, necklaces, bracelets, and brooches begin with a paragraph or two weaving in aspects of jewelry history, which helps put the item in context. This knowledge could easily become part of a sales conversation to entice customers to stay awhile at the counter!


" . . . One of the most interesting features of the book are the photographs that take you step-by-step process of lost wax casting, how hand fabrication of jewelry works, how a stone is set, and more information on jewelry for men is covered as well.

"This is a book that is extremely useful to have on the shelf to answer any basic questions you may have ranging from those about buying jewelry, understanding how it is made, what various marks mean, the different types of chains, standard lengths for pearls, and almost any other question you could imagine asking."


Table of Contents

1. Why Wear Jewelry? 1

2. Jewelry Metals: Key Facts 7

         Terms Related to Gold and Platinum Content 7

         Platinum Content and Notation 9

         Terms Related to Metals and Imitation Gold 10

         Weights, Measures, and Marks 14

         Silver Jewelry 16

         Other White Metals Used for Jewelry 21

3. Basic Facts about Gems 29

4. Manufacturing Methods 45

5. Selecting the Setting 57

6. Finishes & Decorative Techniques 67

7. Choosing Flattering Jewelry 79

8. Selecting Necklaces 83

9. Chains and Other Neckwear 91

         Chain Lengths 92

         Advantages and Drawbacks of Various Chains 92

         Other Neckwear Options 100

         Tips on Selecting Clasps 103

10. Selecting Rings 109

          Selecting a Flattering Ring 110

          Practical Tips on Selecting Rings 111

          Selecting a Ring Size 115

11. Selecting Earrings 121

           Earring Types and Styles 121

           Selecting Flattering Earrings 124

12. Selecting Bracelets 127

           Bracelet Types 128

           Tips on Selecting Bracelets 128

13. Brooches, Pins and Clips 133

14. Making Jewelry Versatile 139

15. Jewelry Tips for Men 149

16. Caring for Your Jewelry 153

           Cleaning Metal Mountings 154

           Cleaning Gemstones 157

           Cleaning Pearls 160

           Miscellaneous Tips 161


Buy The Jewelry Handbook

Newman Gem & Jewelry Series Book Links

Diamond Ring Buying Guide, Details & Reviews

Diamonds: Their History, Sources, Qualities and Benefits

Diamond Handbook, Details & Reviews

Gemstone Buying Guide, Details & Reviews

Gem & Jewelry Pocket Guide, Details & Reviews

Pearl Buying Guide, Details & Reviews

Ruby Sapphire & Emerald Buying Guide, Details & Reviews

Osteoporosis Prevention, Details & Reviews

Exotic Gems, Volume 1, Details & Reviews

Exotic Gems, Volume 2, Details & Reviews

Exotic Gems, Volume 3, Details & Reviews

Exotic Gems, Volume 4, Details

Rare Gemstones, Details & Reviews

Gold, Platinum, Palladium, Silver & Other Jewelry Metals, Details