Review: Beth Bernstein’s Jewelry’s Shining Stars

I’m always pretty excited when a new jewelry book gets published. Preferably one with hoards of jewelry porn photos to ogle. It’s an extra bonus when the writing is very, very good and I feel like I’ve been transported into the creative minds and studios of some of the most important jewelry artists working today.

Jewelry's Shining Stars Book Cover

Jewelry’s Shining Stars

Jewelry’s Shining Stars is curated and written by Beth Bernstein, a jewelry writer and historian (she is also the author of a memoir about jewelry published in 2012, you can read about that here). Organized by categories that tell a little story, like “The Mixmasters” or “The Treasure Hunters,” you start to get a sense of the steward that Beth is, guiding our journey through this brave new world of jewelry design.

I especially love the forward by jewelry-designer-rock-star Stephen Webster. I’ve been wanting to meet him, but when he mentions punk, The Sex Pistols and “passion, dedication, craftsmanship, and bloody-minded obsession,” I am positively breathless!

Stephen Webster Rings

Rings by Stephen Webster.

Each of the 38 jewelry designers have put in the time, the hours and sweat, and are starting to reach the top of their respective games. Beth asks each of them a series of questions that aren’t just the standard “what inspires you” sort of questions. I love knowing that Megan Thorne’s favorite musician is J Mascis (LOVE Dinosaur Junior myself!) or that Nam Cho is actually a frustrated nutritionist who gives out unsolicited advice! Every time I look at the stories, I see something new about someone I thought I knew.

Ship Earrings Arman Sarkisyan

Lush chandeliers with ships: earrings by Arman Sarkisyan.

I was thrilled to see artists like Wendy Yue, Vibes, Moritz Glik, Nam Cho, Annie Fensterstock, Mizuki, Colette, Jemma Wynne and Borgioni, many of whom I have profiled on! I also loved that there were a large number of designers from the Contemporary Jewelry Design Group represented: K. Brunini, Amali, Todd Reed, Megan Thorne, Alishan, Rebecca Overmann, and Pamela Huizenga.

A few designers that I’ve met recently were featured, like Ileana Makri, Naomi Blumenthal, Ray Griffiths and Polly Wales. But perhaps most fun were the totally new discoveries, like Adel Chefridi, Sorellina, Boaz Kashi, and Joseph Murray. I’m grateful to be introduced to their work.

Jewelry Shining Stars photo

A great shot of quite a few of the designers featured taken at the Couture Jewelry Show. I was there–it was fun to watch!

And I’ve mentioned the eye-candy right (besides Stephen Webster)? The images alone are worth it.

If you are a collector of these artists, or just aspire to be, this book is a must. It’s a worthy addition to your coffee table, or to a more serious jewelry library. You can buy it here on, and it is available for purchase in national and independent bookstores on September 24, 2013.

Click here for a full list of the jewelry designers featured and links to their sites.

Beth Bernstein

The author, Beth Bernstein.

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