Book List of the Week

Books Every Jewelry Designer Should Read: Marion Fasel’s Book List

By Steve Kroeter April 30, 2013

Marion Fasel

Jewelry and watch design editor Marion Fasel: InStyle (New York)

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“To be a jewelry designer is a calling,” says Marion Fasel, InStyle’s jewelry editor since 1996, the year she launched the magazine’s award-winning coverage of the field. “You have to actively seek an education,” Fasel continues, “and books are one of the best resources.”

Fasel sent Designers & Books a list of 13 books every jewelry designer should read. On it, she writes in the introduction to her list, is “everything from stories about royalty and their search for rare gems to the importance of jewels in the most humble societies, plus a lot of artistry that falls between these two extremes.”

Highlights from the list include Calder Jewelry by the artist (and designer) Alexander Calder. Fasel asserts, “Many artists, including Picasso, Braque, and Dali made jewelry, but none did it as well or prolifically as Alexander Calder.” About Art Nouveau jewelry designer, artist, and author Henri Vever’s “seminal book” French Jewelry of the Nineteenth Century, Fasel notes that it was “published over 100 years ago in French, but it has been translated into English only relatively recently. It reviews masterpieces from the turn of the century at the time when this revolutionary work was created.” Another selection is Oppi Untracht’s Traditional Jewelry of India. “India imbues jewelry with more meaning than any other culture,” Fasel comments.

Marion Fasel, Bulgari: Serpenti Collection, 2013 (Assouline)

A notable inclusion is legendary jewelry designer Elsa Peretti’s 1990 book on her work, Elsa Peretti: Fifteen of My Fifty with Tiffany. Fasel, who recently interviewed Peretti for Time “Style & Design,” says, “the only book Elsa Peretti has ever published is a work of art with loose pages decorated like a scrapbook of pictures, sources of inspiration, and brief anecdotes about her design process.” A treasury of other titles on Fasel’s book list cover jewelry with origins in ancient Greece, Victorian England, and early-20th-century America, as well as the famed jewels collected by Elizabeth Taylor and the Dutchess of Windsor.

Marion Fasel is the author or co-author of seven books on jewelry design. Her most recent book, published this April by Assouline, is Bulgari: The Serpenti Collection, an in-depth look at the luxury jeweler’s use of the snake motif, one of its most emblematic symbols since the 1940s.


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