Review by Pamela Y. Wiggins
You don’t have to be a personal friend of Katerina Musetti’s to recognize her passion for beautiful jewelry. Reading the text accompanying the dazzling photos in her book
Having photos of the author wearing Juliana jewelry during her operatic performances (yes, Musetti is a talented singer and jewelry designer as well as a knowledgeable author) peppered through the text adds a personal touch to this book. This is also true for the tributes to her mentor Renata Tebaldi, who first introduced her to this style of jewelry, long before anyone knew it was made by DeLizza & Elster (D&E).
Musetti starts the body of the book with a brief history of DeLizza and Elster, the company that manufactured what collectors know today as Juliana, and then delves into the all-important identification section by sharing information on using findings, stones and construction to determine if a piece was indeed made by D&E. Having a closer view of the earring back construction would have been helpful as a learning tool in this section, but overall the information in this part of the book is very useful to get beginners moving in the right direction when identifying this type of unsigned jewelry.
But what’s even more helpful are the pages filled with actual Juliana examples from a number of noteworthy collections. Overall, the more than 375 photos included are clear and have good color representation. The layout of the 208 pages is pleasing to the eye as well, which makes the book not only useful but a delight to peruse.
Having the bulk of the photos organized in descriptive categories relating to styles and the wonderful stones Juliana jewelry is known for also makes this book easy to navigate when researching a specific design:
These categories include jewelry in some rare color combinations and all the most popular styles with Juliana collectors.
The prices in the book range from on target for the market in 2013 to a bit on the high side for sets that are more commonly found today. This is likely due to more and more information being available to collectors and dealers wanting to learn to identify D&E pieces since this book was published in 2008. As more people learn to identify D&E, more pieces come on the secondary market labeled as such and it’s easier to determine which are rarities and which pieces are more common now. Demand for some popular styles has also reached a saturation point and prices have adjusted accordingly. So, as with most jewelry price guides, the figures in this book should be used only as a guideline as Musetti also notes.
And while the section on dating Juliana jewelry is sparse, it’s wise to remember that as this book was being penned new information on D&E was still being discovered and disseminated. This was the first book written that attempted to share clues about identifying Juliana, and since it is the only print-based book on the topic still widely available, an updated second edition is certainly on the wish list of many collectors. Whether that happens or not, this reference is still an extremely useful research tool just as it stands and worth looking up if you’re interested in rhinestone jewelry from a collecting or marketing standpoint.
More from Katerina Musetti for CJCI: