Fashion For Jewels, 100 Years of Styles and Icons by Carol Woolton the jewellery editor of British Vogue, has been one of the best received jewellery books of the past year. As one of the leading authorities on jewellery, Crane.tv talks to Woolton about setting out to examine the inextricable link between fashion and jewellery over the past 200 years.
The book begins at the end of the 19th century focusing on the Belle Epoque (the beautiful era) a time when jewellery began to consciously celebrate history, science and craftsmanship, through to the present day.
Woolton feels that jewellery and fashion are intrinsically linked and that fine jewellery today must be more accessible and wearable. She urges those she meets to revive forgotten pieces, stating how sad it is to let beautiful items languish in jewellery boxes.
Woolton highlights that at the beginning of the 20th century fine jewellery and costume jewellery were distinctly different, with semi precious stones seen as less valuable and substandard. Woolton explains that in recent years and with the rise of fashion houses creating their own jewellery designs, semi-precious stones and new materials have found a place in the fine jewellery market.
In the video she describes how the market has changed so much that it has "almost reversed", and that fine jewellery is designed with such a free hand and experimental style "it's hard to tell if it is costume or real."
Crane.tv discussed the book with jewellery designer Stephen Webster, famous for his bold and modern style. Webster described Woolton as having played an integral role in breaking down stigmas and refreshing the way experimental design is received by the jewellery world.
The book is a visual delight with photographs of some of the most spectacular pieces of jewellery from over the last 200 years. It illustrates how jewellery has evolved over time to become accepted as an intrinsic part of fashion, as we know it today.
Gabrielle Chanel famously said that "fashion is in the air, it's in the street, it's all around us" citing her as a key inspiration, Woolton feels this way of jewellery also.
Text by Joey Abbiss-Stubbs for Crane.tv
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