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Unsigned Beauties Of Costume Jewelry: Identification & Values [Illustrated] [Hardcover]

Marcia Sparkles Brown
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 15, 2000 157432182X 978-1574321821 1st
This book is the first book of its kind, concentrating not only on costume jewelry, but also on those pieces that are unmarked or unsigned by the manufacturer. Over 1,000 photographs featuring 3,500 pieces of antique and collectible costume jewelry highlight this beautiful book. Brown carefully illustrates and discusses such details as the types of metal finishes used, the different cuts of stones, and stone setting techniques. Easy to read charts covering time lines, fashion dates, and jewelry introductions are provided for ease in identification of pieces. All photographs are indexed for easier research, and a helpful glossary has been included. 2005 values.

Editorial Reviews


This book truly "sparkles" (like the author's name) and would make an ideal gift for costume jewelry fans. Thousands of jewelry items are illustrated in over 1,000 color photographs and are complemented by captions that include descriptions and values.

About the Author

Marcia Brown published her first book, Unsigned Beauties of Costume Jewelry, in 2000. She is the host and co-writer of the award-winning Venture Entertainment books-on-tape series Hidden Treasures: A Collector's Guide to Antique & Vintage Jewelry. She is a frequent contributor to the Vintage Fashion & Costume Jewelry newsletter. An antique and vintage jewelry historian, lecturer, and collector, Brown also provides private consultations for many dealers, mall owners, and collectors.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Collector Books; 1st edition (April 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157432182X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574321821
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #785,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Costume Jewelry-Unsigned and Still Beautiful! February 17, 2001
I think the book is worthy of it's name. It recognizes the beauty of unsigned pieces and their value. Each page includes colored photos of unsigned costume vintage pins, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. The pictures are bright, clear, and vibrant. The only set back to this book is that the author has listed the value of the pieces a little to high. This is relative across the board though, so I wouldn't skip on purchasing this book. If you by vintage because you admire it's beauty and not it's maker, than this book is for you. Enjoy!
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good Pics May 13, 2002
This is a decent book for prices and examples but didn't give much description on identifying. For instance it explains the different metals used to make the jewelry, but not how to identify which metal you have in your piece. Good for pics but not too good for identifying/dating pieces.
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61 of 73 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NO "DESIGNER" IDENTIFICATION PROVIDED August 2, 2000
By A Customer
SAVE YOUR MONEY! The book title is deceiving if you are looking to "IDENTIFY" an unsigned Miriam Haskell, a Weiss bracelet, or a Trifari parure. Marcia "Sparkles" Brown provides pages upon pages of "sparkling" costume jewelry. However, there is no piece of jewelry in the book which is "identified" by designer or manufacturer. She describes;" SHE DOES NOT IDENTIFY - those are two very different things. Of course, if you do not know the difference between earrings, necklaces, bracelets and pins - or you just like pretty pictures, the book is a bargain. The book is also helpful if you want to learn the lingo, i.e. "cabachon, "parure." Her descriptions are excellently and accurately phrased. She also provides suggested prices per item or set. BUY ONLY if you want a suggested value or help in describing your own pieces. AGAIN, NO INDIVIDUAL ITEM IN THE BOOK IS IDENTIFIED BY DESIGNER OR MANUFACTURER.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of color and sparkle February 19, 2004
Most of "Unsigned Beauties of Costume Jewelry: Identification & Values," by Marcia "Sparkles" Brown, consists of labeled, full-color photographs of pieces of jewelry: brooches, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, etc. The book also contains an introduction and sections discussing such topics as rhinestone history and tips for starting a collection. A glossary, bibliography, and index further add to the book's usefulness.
But it's the stunningly beautiful photographs that really give this book its punch. Brown has assembled an eye-popping collection of pieces that employ many different motifs: butterflies, floral designs, fish, birds, mythological/fantasy figures, whimsical characters, fruit, patriotic motifs, abstract geometric forms, pieces reminiscent of military medals or heraldic insignia, etc. Pictured are rhinestones of a rich variety of shapes and colors. Every page brings new and marvelous treasures.
In her author's notes at the start of the book, Brown notes that she considers rhinestone jewelry to be "the true 'American art form.'" Her passion for the subject really shines through in this visually pleasing compendium.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource for Vintage Jewelry Buffs November 17, 2004
I love this book!. It's chock full of excellent pictures and information for the vintage jewelry collector, whether a novice or one of long-standing. The book is well organized in its layout. I've discovered it's a 'collectible' book in its own right. Author, Marcia Sparkles Brown, has a video, which I also own and recommend.

Although not a whole lot on each designer, some mention is better than none. To find references to Judy Lee, BSK, LaRoco, Park Lane, Avon, Capri, Art, JJ, Les Bernard, Capri, etc. was of interest to me when I first started collecting jewelry because of the scarcity of volumes on these names. Other designers, such as Lisner, Coventry, Napier, Monet, etc., also included in this book, were more easily found when doing searches for designers.

The book has no index, so this may be a concern to others. But the designer names are presented in alphabetical order.

Gail Gupton, Author: The 31-Day Diet of Spiritual Enlightenment and Seekers of Truth.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review from a buyer in Australia September 13, 2005
I was looking forward to receiving this book because as a collector I did not have a book on unsigned costume jewellery. However I was disappointed with the copy I received.

My main complaint is the quality of the illustrations. For the most part the photos are dull, too dark and the colours are distorted. Some pages have a definate brownish tint and other pages are quite grey. In comparison to other books on the suject the photos lack colour and clarity but this may be due to the printing and perhaps I received a particularly bad copy.

The book has 3 chapters that give insight into the birth of costume jewelry, the metals, stones, shapes and settings and also how to start a collection, date and restore pieces.

For the price the book covers the subject well.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding June 5, 2000
By A Customer
A Sensational book on the topic of "unsigned" that is way over do. With hundreds of pieces featured and color pictures. I love the way the author formatted the book by categories ... makes looking up pieces easier. A very welcomed addition to my personal library books on Costume Jewelry!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Basic Knowledge July 19, 2005
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I had read the book before when I started researching my mothers pins. I have now purchsed two of Marcie's books. They are well written, easy to follow, good pictures of pins and great advise.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
This book is so informative, Lots of pictures and great information. Just what I was looking for, for my research.
Published 1 month ago by Renee Hayes
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it
great book for the costume jewelry collector. I highly recommend it. lots of information you can use now great buy
Published 5 months ago by Mary F. Kingry
4.0 out of 5 stars It is interesting.
It did not serve my purpose to a great extent but Idid gain some insights from this book.
There are limitations on what is sometimes covered.
Published 5 months ago by Catine Perkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Purchase Experience Review: Unsigned Beauties of Costume Jewlry
Unsigned Beauties of Costume Jewelry is a one-of-a-kind resource for people who have generations of jewelry in their possession. Read more
Published 6 months ago by DeAnne Wilfong
3.0 out of 5 stars Unsigned Beauties of Costume Jewelry, Identification and values
A valuable way to become familiar with the numerous American Jewelry Maker names and styles from the early to mid 20th century.
Published 9 months ago by Paul47
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Super reference for unsigned collectible costume jewelry. I was able to identify some of my "unsigned beautites".
Great addition to my reference library.
Published 9 months ago by Linda D
5.0 out of 5 stars FULL OF INFORMATION!
This is an invaluable book. I've just begun studying vintage jewelry and this book is particularly helpful. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Lisa Charette
5.0 out of 5 stars Very important guide for the costume jewel collector
Since I am a vintage costume jewelry collector, this book is quite handy in helping me determine the value of my collection for insurance purposes.
Published 18 months ago by Mitza McCord
5.0 out of 5 stars fastest shipping EVER
Ordered this very helpful book on July 7, 2012 and received it July 11, 2012. Most impressive for shipping time. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Diane
1.0 out of 5 stars Title is misleading
I purchased this book as many people probably did because it says identification and values on the cover. Read more
Published on December 17, 2011 by lamoore1
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