Stellene Volandes, a renowned jewelry expert, historian, editor-in-chief of Town & Country, and editorial director of Elle Décor, has just released her second book, Jewels That Made History: 100 Stones, Myths, and Legends. Her first book, Jeweler, was also published by Rizzoli in 2016.
Jewels That Made History: 100 Stones, Myths, and Legends dives in to the stories of stones that have played a pivotal role in kingdoms, love affairs, and significant moments throughout history, as well as how these moments have in turn informed jewelry design today. From the deadly drama surrounding a necklace that eventually brought down Marie-Antoinette to the meaning behind the brooches that the former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright wore, Volandes leaves no (gem)stone unturned.
One such story details the pearl-covered carpet owned by Gaekwar Khande Rao, the Maharaja of Baroda from 1856 to 1870. The rug, which supposedly had over a million pearls sewn into it, was dubbed by a New York Times writer as "the most costly piece of jewelry in the world." Pearls were treasured and in high demand by the royals of India during this time, and a carpet covered in pearls was the ultimate sign of luxury. Volandes sets forth the context, influence, and magic of such richness in a way that signifies the important role jewelry has had upon history itself.
The book explores many stories and myths surrounding legendary stones and jewelry and makes it a must-read for anyone fascinated by the lure of ornamentation. Jewels That Made History: 100 Stones, Myths, and Legends is available at rizzoliusa.com, Bookshop, and Amazon.
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