Tuesday 22 September 2015

Book Review - The Complete Jewellery Maker

The Complete Jewellery Maker - consultant editor Jinks McGrath
Published by Quantum 2012

Complete Jewellery Maker - book review by Silvermoss Complete Jewellery Maker - book review by Silvermoss

I was rather excited by this book. Firstly, it’s big and detailed, but also the spine is flexible enough to keep it open as a reference while at the work bench. Also, it’s by Jinks McGrath who is a jeweller, teacher, and writer I always have time for. However, it was only when I flicked through it that I noticed something of great importance if you’re an avid buyer of jewellery books, or even if you’ve just accumulated a few over the years you’ve been making and creating; it’s an amalgamation of a variety of other books. Some of the projects and some of the photos looked familiar; in fact one of the projects I adapted only last year to make a gift for a family member. When I looked at the inside front of this book I discovered that it consists of excerpts from half a dozen other books. I’ll list them here in case you’re wondering if you own one or more of them:

Basic Jewellery Making Techniques by Jinks McGrath - pub 1993 by Quintet
Jewellery Making Manual by Sylvia Wicks - pub 1985 by Quill
The Creative Jeweller by Claire C Davies - pub 2000 by Quarto
Jewellery (Two in One Manual) by Madeline Coles - pub 1999 by Quarto
Jewelry Making Techniques Book by Elizabeth Olver - pub 2001 by Quarto
The Art of Jewellery Design by Elizabeth Olver - pub 2002 by Quarto                                          

I also read the cover more closely and read that the book has Jinks McGrath as a ‘consultant editor’ rather than its writer.

If you own none of the above books then this edition can only be useful, covering everything from the basics of setting up a workshop, to working with different materials (although the emphasis is on working with metal), to techniques and projects, and an in-depth section on design. It’s comprehensive, well illustrated, and methodically set out. It might also be a lot easier buying this one edition, rather than buying six other books.

Complete Jewellery Maker - book review by Silvermoss Complete Jewellery Maker - book review by Silvermoss

But if you do possess any of the above books then it might be a little frustrating when you come across pages that are familiar and already well-read. I own three from the above list and, especially because I did not know initially how this book was constructed, I was a little disappointed at first when I flicked through and found projects and photos that I already knew. However on looking more closely I also discovered information that I hadn’t read before, and, thankfully, a good proportion of the book was new to me, most notably the chapter on design.

The fewer of the books above that you already own, the greater your enjoyment of this book will be. I wouldn’t say not to buy it if you already own some of the books it’s been created from, but I will say approach with caution, try and get a hold of a copy to look through, either via a library or a book shop, rather than buying online and hoping for the best. That way you can make sure that it still contains enough new information to make it worth your time and money.

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  1. Thanks for the review.I don't have any of the books it used bits from (how strange!) so I think that's a pretty good reason to get it..........:D

    1. Glad you find the review helpful, and thanks for the comment. Yes, if you've got none of the books (!) then this one is definitely worth investing in. Hope you enjoy it!


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