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'Diamonds: A Century Of Spectacular Jewels' by Penny Proddow

Diamonds have been used to adorn the human body since ancient times, but diamond jewelry of remarkable invention, style, and variety really came into its own only in the twentieth century.

This book surveys the rich history of this century's fascination with diamond jewelry with unmatched thoroughness.

Authors Penny Proddow and Marion Fasel (co-authors of Hollywood Jewels) describe the parade of interesting jewels with wit and style - from the French empress Eugenie's glittering tiara to the pop singer Madonna's diamond navel ring.

Decade by decade the authors trace the changes in public taste - often led by society figures or entertainers such as Marjorie Merriweather Post, Lyn Revson, Merle Oberon, and, of course, Elizabeth Taylor.

They reveal the innovations of a succession of creative designers, detailing the evolution of styles including Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Machine Age, Pop, and Fantasy.

They show the introduction of ever-new cuts of diamonds - from the traditional round and rose-cut stones to baguettes, pear shaped, rectangular, and even half-moon stones - and follow the contemporary trend from pure white diamonds to canary and, more recently, pink ones.

The authors have handled many of these dazzling modern jewels, delved into the archives and studied the drawings of the leading artisans and jewelry merchants - Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, Harry Winston, Bulgari - and interviewed many living designers, including Paul Flato, Julius Cohen, Rachelle Epstein and Daniel Brush.

Penny Proddow

Harry N Abrams


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