Today I wanted to talk about another one of my favorite jewelry books. This is one of the oldest, certainly the most fragile, and one of the best in the Saori C. Jewelry Designs library. It is Unit Jewellery: A Handbook In Six Parts, by Richard Llewellyn Benson Rathbone.
Rathbone was a British metalworker, artist, and teacher who was most active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (the book dates from 1921). His work is one of the first of its kind, in that it's designed to teach metalworking techniques and concepts to people who aren't already very experienced in the field. Unlike the very text-heavy tomes common in that period, Unit Jewellery is full of great pictures, diagrams, and charts, has a great glossary, and very clearly explains a lot of great metalsmithing techniques and concepts.
This was one of the first books that we added to our library, and it took a while to find. If you can get hold of it (the volumes are paper-bound, which means they fell apart easily), it will set you back a bit, but it's totally worth it.
It also has one of the best, most succinct quotes about jewelry making that I've heard, right on the cover:
"Craftsmanship without design is like a vessel having no pilot."