06/12/2009

With over 400 images by nearly 200 artists, there is a lot to look at in Adorn: New Jewelry by Amanda Mansell. The book’s chapters are organized by jewelry type (rings, brooches, etc.) with a short introduction for each section. The jewelers represented are mostly young and European, many of whom attended the Royal College of Art in London. There are only a handful of United States jewelers featured.

Although there is a chapter on more conceptual 'body pieces,' the emphasis here is on wearablilty. The images are crisp and clear on all-white backgrounds, giving a fresh and clean look to the book. Adorn: New Jewelry is more of a snapshot of current jewelry trends, but as the book seems to be aimed at a general audience it could be a good introduction to art jewelry. At the end of the book there are useful short biographies of all the jewelers, including website and email addresses. But the lack of an index is strange and frustrating, as pieces by an artist can be found in many different chapters and there is no way of finding them other than by flipping through the book page by page.

Adorn: New Jewelry can be seen as recognition of the growing popularity of artist-made jewelry. The colorful and quirky layout is clearly aimed at a younger audience. This is a healthy trend as the field needs not only young makers but young collectors as well, to continue to thrive.