Hughes Resigns from AGTA
Richard W. Hughes the peripatetic gemologist/author and sometime journalist has handed in his resignation as Gemological Administrator at the AGTA Gemological Testing Center . As of September Hughes will be heading back to Bangkok where he worked for 15 years before moving back to the U. S. For the past several years Hughes has been a lab gemologist with the AGTA-GTC. "I will be working with Loretta Castoro at Gemstv.com Hughes said in a recent interview. (image right: Richard W. Hughes, used with permission)
Hughes is a gemologist well known for his expertise in ruby and sapphire as well as for his outspoken views and freewheeling "take no prisoners" journalistic style also maintains a website: that is an excellent resource for anyone interested in ruby and sapphire.
Hughes burst on the U. S. gem scene in 1997 with the publication of his seminal Ruby and Sapphire. Hughes book is the best most comprehensive, readable and informative book ever written on the subject. It has gone through two editions and is currently out of print. Ruby and Sapphire remains in high demand and with internet prices currently topping $200.00 I asked Hughes when we might expect the revised edition. "When its finished", he said, "don't hold your breath."
Form & Function, American Modernist Jewelry, 1940-1970 by Marbeth Schon
Schiffer Publishing, 2008
This is Schon's second book on the topic of modernist jewelry. For those unfamiliar with the genre, the modernist jewelry or wearable art movement might be best understood within the context of a second American Arts & Crafts Movement---a tradition welded together with The Bauhaus and the Beat Generation. It had its birth in both San Francisco and New York in the early 1940s with the formation of The San Francisco Metal Arts Guild and Craftsmen's Equity which was founded in Greenwich Village in the mid-1940s
Most modernists eschewed gold and platinum in favor of less-precious silver and copper and sought to bring back the intimate relationship between the hand-worker and the craft-object. Alexander Calder is, perhaps, the movement's most famous participant. This book, together with Schon's first effort: Modernist Jewelry 1930-1950, The Wearable Arts Movement constitute the only truly comprehensive treatment of this, as yet, unmapped genre.
Schon's latest book puts a face to the names of the members of the movement. The book contains excellent short biographies as well as pictures of the movement's most important personalities; Margaret De Patta, Art Smith, Paul Lobel and Peter Maccarrini as well as dozens of minor practitioners. A section on hallmarks will be of great interest to dealers and collectors. Schon also discusses the philosophical foundations of the movement and her photos depict a broad range of examples of some of the best jewelry produced by its practitioners. Lively and well written, this book is a must have for collectors and dealers interested in jewelry of this period.
With the auction galleries finally waking up to American Modernism as a true home grown art and crafts movement and with artist-jewelers like Smith, Lobel and De Patta and Calder commanding steep prices, these two books are bound to be in great demand.
Both of Marbeth Schon's books are currently available at a discount from Amazon.com. See my carousel (below) for a direct link together with a list of my recommended books..
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Amazon June 2005
Midwest Book Review
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