For libraries whose patrons might spend countless hours in antique malls and collector’s markets searching for vintage jewelry, this videotape will provide a helpful introduction into the world of fine and fashion jewelry of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Host Christie Romero, a jewelry historian and instructor from California, takes viewers on what is described as a “fun-filled tour” through the decades of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Romero concentrates on jewelry that is affordable, accessible, and collectible. She likens the research of fine and vintage jewelry to that of a detective hunt (a familiar refrain for the reference librarian) and stresses that collectors must “read the clues.”
The video establishes guidelines and criteria for collecting, including craftsmanship, condition, color, quality of design, demand, and rarity. The various periods ranging from Victorian, Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts, Edwardian, Art Deco, Retro, Postwar Modern, Bakelite, Designer Costume, Mexican, and Scandinavian Silver are covered, and numerous examples of jewelry are illustrated. A visual price guide concludes the program. Romero also provides information on manufacturing developments and their influence on jewelry design. Venture Entertainment Group is currently planning a series of videos that examines each period in depth. Hidden Treasures is designed for dealers and collectors and would be a welcome addition to most public libraries.
While the video does provide some design history insight, it is recommended only for academic libraries that might have fashion and jewelry programs. Librarians used to answering questions about the value of collectibles will be aware of the numerous reference price guides that document market value of fine and vintage jewelry. This program does not replace the need for such guides, but the video format is an entertaining medium for obtaining an introductory overview of this interesting and ever increasingly popular field, and at $24.95 it is a remarkably good value. This publication can be considered as a general reference tool that provides a basic understanding of a broad and diverse field. However, because of the format, the librarian will not be able to consult it for any ready reference queries but rather refer the patron to it for viewing and further study.