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Vintage Book Profile, Revue and Price Guide: Swarovski – The Magic of Crystal by Vivienne Becker

Free book profile, revue and valuation of Swarovski: The Magic of Crystal. This is a history of the company started in 1895 by Daniel Swarovski. Includes notes and a bibliography for the publisher John Bigelow Taylor, the writer Vivienne Becker and the publisher Harry N. Abrams.
Swarovski - The Magic of Crystal: Swarovski crystal ornaments are popular modern collectibles

About the Book: Swarovski - The Magic of Crystal

Swarovski AG is one of the world's best known producers of ornamental crystal objects and jewellery. This family owned company was founded by Daniel Swarovski in 1895. It is based in a town called Wattens, which is in the Tyrolean Mountains, and continues to produce its high quality collector's pieces to this day.

The company is considered one of the great innovators of its field as can be seen by glancing at the designs which are photographed throughout Swarovski: The Magic of Crystal. Working with Austrian crystals, which are themselves renowned for their quality, purity and refractive brilliance, Swarovski has an array of beautiful designs from some of the most highly regarded designers in the business. This book includes examples of the work of Michael Stamey, Adi Stocker, Daniel Swarovski, Martin Zendron and numerous others.

In keeping with the style and quality of this company, Swarovski: The Magic of Crystal, has been expertly written, illustrated and printed and is a beautiful object in its own right. The author, Vivienne Becker, charts the history of the Swarovski family business and the evolution and revolution of ornamental crystal designs, ably assisted by a photographic team, headed by the renowned fine arts photographer John Bigelow Taylor, whose photographs adorn almost every page.

Swarovski: The Magic of Crystal is an important company and design history which will have a broad appeal to students and historians of business and collectors of these often intricate crystal jewellery and ornamental designs.

Contents: Swarovski - The Magic of Crystal

  • Swarovski: The History of a Family Company
  • The Story of the Crystal Object
  • Modern Crystal Classics
  • The Metamorphosis of Crystal
  • Index of Plates
  • Index of Artists
  • Photograph Credits

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Swarovski - The Magic of Crystal was edited by Ruth A. Peltason and designed by Ana Rogers

About the Main Photographer: John Bigelow Taylor

John Bigelow Taylor is an American still life and fine arts photographer who was born in 1950. Now based in Highland Falls, much of his work has been in collaboration with his wife, Diane Dubler, and together they established Kubaba Books, a company specialising in limited edition photographic books and family estate books.

He has collaborated with the publisher of Swarovski: The Magic of Crystal, Harry N. Abrams, on an number of occasions as can be seen in the select bibliography below. His photographs have been included in hundreds of books, whether on the dust jacket or between the covers, as a solo photographer or in collaboration with others.

His work has brought him into contact with Elizabeth Taylor, Madeleine Albright and other high profile personalities - he was even the personal photographer for the Dalai Lama during the 1990s.

Select Bibliography of the Photographer John Bigelow Taylor

Many of the following publications are exhibition catalogues. As such, they may have been published simultaneously in multiple languages and were often compiled by editorial and design teams. Where an author's name is given, this is often the principle named editor.

  • 1984 Within the Underworld Sky: Mimbres Ceramic Art in Context, by Barbara Moulard, 1st edition published in the USA by Twelvetrees Press
  • 1988 Pre-Columbian Art From The Ernest Ricks Collection At The American Museum Of Natural History, an exhibition catalogue by N. C. Christopher Couch, 1st edition published in the USA by The Museum of Natural History
  • 1990 Two Hundred Years of Historic Pueblo Pottery: The Gallegos Collection, an exhibition catalogue by Francis H. Harlow, 1st edition published in the USA by the Morning Star Gallery
  • 1991 The Sacred Art of Tibet: Wisdom and Compassion, by Marilyn M. Rhie and Robert A. Thurman, 1st edition published in the USA by Harry N. Abrams Inc
  • 1991 The Cycladic Spirit: Masterpieces from the Nicholas P. Goulandris Collection, by Colin Renfrew, 1st edition published in the USA by Harry N Abrams Inc
  • 1991 Transformations: Stone Figures from Mezcala/Chontal, an exhibition catalogue published in the USA by Throckmorton Fine Art
  • 1993 The Inka Empire and Its Andean Origins, by Craig Morris in collaboration with The American Museum of Natural History, 1st edition published in the USA by Abbeville Press
  • 1994 The Splendor of Ethnic Jewelry: From the Colette and Jean Pierre Ghysels Collection, by Frances Borel, 1st edition published in the USA by Harry N. Abrams Inc
  • 1994 The Currency of Fame: Portrait Medals of the Renaissance, edited by Stephen Scher, 1st edition published in the USA by Harry N. Abrams, Inc
  • 1994 Judith Leiber: The Artful Handbag, by Enid Nemy, 1st edition published in the USA by Harry N. Abrams Inc
  • 1995 Swarovski: The Magic of Crystal, by Vivienne Becker, 1st edition published in the USA by Harry N. Abrams Inc
  • 1995 Masterpieces of American Indian Art: From the Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection, by Gilbert Vincent, 1st edition published in the USA by Harry N. Abrams, Inc
  • 1995 The White House Collection of American Crafts, with an Essay by Barbaralee Diamonstein, Michael W. Monroe, 1st edition published in the USA by Harry N. Ambrams Inc
  • 1995 Learning from the Dalai Lama: Secrets of the Wheel of Time, by Karen Pandell and Barry Bryant, 1st edition published in the USA by Dutton Juvenile
  • 1995 The Olmec World: Ritual and Rulership, by Michael D. Coe and others, 1st edition published in the USA by The Art Museum, Princeton University
  • 1996 Kenneth Jay Lane: Faking It, by Kenneth Jay Lane and Harrice Simons Miller, 1st edition published in the USA by Harry N. Abrams Inc
  • 1996 Paul J. Stankard; Homage to Nature, by Ulysses G. Dietz, 1st edition published in the USA by Harry N. Abrams Inc
  • 1996 Recycled Re-Seen: Folk Art from the Global Scrap Heap, by Charlene Cerny and Suzanne Seriff, 1st edition published in the USA by Harry N. Abrams Inc
  • 1996 Ethnos Gioielli dalle terre Lontane dalla Collezione di Colette e Jean-Pierre Ghysels, an exhibition catalogue edited by Mita Crossetti, 1st edition published in Italy by Skira
  • 1996 Art in the Frick Collection: Paintings, Sculpture, Decorative Arts, an exhibition catalogue edited by Charles Rhyskamp, 1st edition published in the USA by Harry N. Abrams Inc
  • 1997 Mr. Bristol's Barn: With Excerpts from Mr. Blinn's Diary, by John Szarkowski, 1st edition published in the USA by Harry N. Abrams Inc
  • 1998 Venetian Glass: Confections in Glass 1855-1914, by Sheldon Barr, 1st edition published in the USA by Harry N. Abrams Inc
  • 1998 Kaikodo Journal, The Power of Form (Exhibition & Sale 5 February - 28 March 1998), by Howard Rogers and others, 1st edition published in Hong Kong by Kaikodo, 1998
  • 1998 Daniel Brush: Gold Without Boundaries, by Ralph Esmerian, Paul Theroux and others, 1st edition published in the USA by Harry N. Abrams Inc
  • 1999 Crosscurrents: Masterpieces of East Asian Art from New York Private Collections, by Amy G. Poster, 1st edition published in the USA by: The Japan Society in association with the Brooklyn Museum Of Art and distributed by Harry N. Abrams
  • 1999 Masterpieces of American Furniture from the Munson Williams Proctor Institute, by Anna Tobin D'Ambrosio and others, 1st edition published in the USA by Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute
  • 1999 Childhood Revealed: Art Expressing Pain Discovery, and Hope, edited by Harold Koplewicz and Robin F. Goodman, 1st edition published in the USA by Harry N. Abrams Inc
  • 1999 Maraini: Acts of Photography, Acts of Love, an exhibition catalogue by Fosco Maraini, 1st edition published in Hong Kong by Joost Elffers Books and distributed in the USA by Stewart, Tabori & Chang
  • 1999 Schmuck: Kostbarkeiten aus Afrika, Asien, Ozeanien und Amerika, by Frances Borel, 1st edition published in Germany by Hatje Cantz Verlag
  • 1999 L'Art des Indiens D'Amerique du Nord, by Francoise Perriot & Slim Batteux, 1st edition published in France by Somogy
  • 1999 Evidence: The Art of Candy Jernigan, by Candy Jernigan and Laurie Dolphin, 1st edition published in the USA by Chronicle Books
  • 2000 Meyer Schapiro: His Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture, edited by Lillian Milgram Schapiro and Daniel Esterman, 1st published in the USA by Harry N. Abrams
  • 2000 The Wonderous and Amenable Chinese Stool, edited by Yvonne L.C. Wong, 1st edition published in the USA by Red Leaf Press
  • 2000 Art of the North American Indians: The Thaw Collection, compiled by the Fenimore Art Museum, an exhibition catalogue, 1st edition published by University of Washington Press
  • 2001 Splendor of Ethnic Jewelry: From the Colette and Jean Pierre Ghysels Collection, by Frances Borel, 1st edition published in the USA by Harry N. Abrams
  • 2001 American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum, by Stacy C. Hollander, 1st edition published in the USA by Harry N. Abrams
  • 2002 Waddesdon Manor: The Heritage of a Rothschild House, by Michael Hall, 1st edition published in the USA by Harry N. Abrams for Scala Art
  • 2002 Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry, edited by Ruth A. Peltason, 1st edition published in the USA by Simon & Schuster
  • 2003 The Angelica Home Kitchen: Recipes and Rabble Rousings from an Organic Vegan Restaurant, by Leslie McEachern and Peter Berley, 1st edition published in the USA by Ten Speed Press
  • 2003 Divine Presence: Arts of India and the Himalayas, by Jane Casey and others, 1st edition published in the USA by Published by Five Continents Editions
  • 2003 Cincinnati Art-Carved Furniture and Interiors, by Jennifer L. Howe, 1st edition published in the USA by Ohio University Press
  • 2004 A Walk through the Ages: Chinese Archaic Art from the Sondra Landy Gross Collection, by Richard A. Pegg, 1st edition published in the USA by The Hillwood Art Museum
  • 2006 Kunst aus Japan: die Sammlung John C. Weber, New York, by Melanie Trede and John C. Weber, an exhibition catalogue, 1st edition published in Germany for the Museum fur Ostasiatische Kunst
  • 2005 New Guinea Art: Masterpieces from the Jolika Collection of Marcia and John Friede, by John and Marcia Friede, an exhibition catalogue, 1st published in the USA by Five Continents Editions
  • 2007 Ferdinand Richardt: Drawings of America, 1855-1859, an exhibition catalogue by Paul Schweizer and Melinda Stewart, 1st edition published in the USA by Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute
  • 2009 Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box by Madeleine Albright and others, 1st edition published in the USA by Melcher Media
  • 2009 Bijouterie Contemporaine du Museum of Arts and Design de New York, compiled by the Museum Of Arts And Design, 1st edition published in Italy by Officina Italie
  • 2009 Gioielli Contemporanei dal Museum of Arts and Design di New York, by Ursula Ilse-Neuman, 1st edition published in Italy by Officina Libraria
  • 2009 A Shrine for Tibet: The Alice S. Kandell Collection, by Marylin M. Rhie and others, 1st edition published in the USA by Tibet House US
  • 2009 Carry Me: 1950's Lucite Purses: An American Fashion, by Janice Berkson, 1st edition published in the USA by Antique Collectors Club Dist
  • 2011 Donald Ellis Gallery 11, compiled and published in Canada by The Donald Ellis Gallery
  • 2012 Protecting Wisdom Tibetan Book Covers from the MacLean Collection, by Kathryn H. Selig Brown, 1st edition published in Germany by Prestel
  • 2015 A Token of Elegance: Cigarette Holders in Vogue, by Rebecca McNamara and Martin Barnes Lorber, 1st edition published in Italy by Officina Libraria
  • 2017 Buried Treasure: The Gillespie Collection of Petrified Wood by Ernest Beck and George E, Harlow, 1st edition published in Italy by Officina Libraria
  • 2017 The Barberini Tapestries: Woven Monuments of Baroque Rome, by James Harper, 1st edition published in Italy by Officina Libraria
  • 2018 Assembly of the Exalted: The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room, The Alice S. Kendell Collection at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, by Donald S. Lopez and Rebecca Bloom, 1st edition published in Italy by Officina Libraria
  • 2020 Stardust: The Work and Life of Jeweler Extraordinaire Frederic Zaavy, by Gilles Hertzog, 1st edition published in the USA by Kubaba

Examples of Work by the Following Swarovski Artists are Included in this Book

  • Giampiero Maria Bodino
  • Joel Desgrippes
  • Anton Hirtzinger
  • Alessandro Mendini
  • Andrée Putman
  • Ludwig Redl
  • Stefano Ricci
  • Claudia Schneiderbauer
  • Max Schreck
  • Bořek Šípek
  • Ettore Sottsass
  • Gabriele Stamey
  • Michael Stamey
  • Adi Stocker
  • Daniel Swarovski
  • Martin Zendron
Swarovski Crystal birds by Max Schreck and Adi Stocker

About the Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

The man behind the publisher was Harry Nathan Abrams. Although born in London (1905), England, Harry grew up in New York and was to become one of the most important American publishers of the twentieth century. As a youngster he worked in his father's New York shoe shop before studying art at the National Academy of Arts - although he did not complete his course. While working at the New York advertising agency Sackheim and Sherman he not only gained invaluable experience, but also made contacts which would serve him well in his future endeavours. These included well known publishers such as Simon and Schuster, but the relationship he built with Harry Sherman (his agency boss) was perhaps the most important, as in 1936 he followed Sherman in the latter's new venture: The Book of the Month Club. Under Sherman's guidance Harry Abrams spent fourteen years working and learning about book production and marketing.

When Abrams left the Book of the Month Club in 1949, it was to start his own publishing company. Since his youth he'd had a keen interest in art and his vision was to fill a void in the American domestic book market for well illustrated books on the subject. Until then, most illustrated art books were published by European companies for their domestic markets. With a starting capital of around US$150,000 and a staff of five individuals, Harry N. Abrams Incorporated was born.

True to Harry's vision the company built a reputation for good quality, lavishly illustrated art books, particularly favouring up and coming American artists. By 1952 the company's books were being widely exported to the lucrative European markets, while many of the European publications were translated and imported by Abram's for sale to the American domestic market.

Despite the company being sold to the Times-Mirror Company (a newspaper publisher) in 1966, the retirement of Harry Nathan Abrams in 1977 and the 1997 sale to Groupe Latingy (the French publisher, La Martiniere Groupe), the Abrams name is still well-known in publishing circles today. Abrams Books and a number of related imprints are still owned by La Martiniere Groupe. In recent years their catalogue has become more diversified but art books are still an important genre.

Publisher’s Select Bibliography: Harry N. Abrams

This is just a small example of some of the art books published by Harry. N. Abrams

  • 1960 Jacques Lipchitz: His Sculpture, by Jacques Lipchitz and A.M. Hammacher
  • 1962 Henry Miller: Watercolors, Drawings and His Essay "The Angel Is My Watermark", by Henry Miller, illustrated with colout plates
  • 1962 Karel Appel: Painter, by Hugo Klaus
  • 1968 Dali, edited and arranged by Max Gérard and translated by Eleanor R. Morse.
  • 1968 de Chiricho, translated by Isabella Far
  • 1970 Frankenthaler, with text by Barbara Rose
  • 1970 The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp, by Arturo Schwarz
  • 1973 De Kooning, by Harold Rosenberg
  • 1977 Jasper Johns, by Michael Crichton, published for the Whitney Museum of American Art
  • 1978 Diderot, Encyclopedia: The Complete Illustrations, 1762-1777, published in 5 volumes
  • 1979 Geometric Figures & Color, by Sol Lewitt
  • 1985 People And Power: Portraits From The Federal Village, with photographs by Michael Evans
  • 1986 Landscape Sketches: 1984-1985, by Roy Lichtenstein
  • 1987 The Helga Pictures, by Andrew Wyeth
  • 1993 Artists at Gemini G.E.L.: Celebrating the 25th Year, by Mark Rosenthal, published in association with Gemini G.E.L.
  • 1995 Lee Krasner: A Catalogue Raisonné, by Lee Krasner and Ellen G. Landau
  • 2002 The Art of Peter Max, by Charles A. Riley II and Peter Max
  • 2005 Once Upon a Time in Italy: The Westerns of Sergio Leone, by Christopher Frayling
  • 2005 Silken Threads: A History of Embroidery in China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam by Young Yang Chung

About the Author: Vivienne Becker

Born in 1953, Vivienne Becker is a highly respected British jewellery historian and freelance journalist. She began learning about jewellery and other antiquities while working with an antique dealer in a 1960s London indoor market. She subsequently began working as a journalist, initially for She magazine, then for Antique Collector magazine, before taking the plunge and becoming a freelance journalist.

This was a move which enhanced and established her reputation - not just as a writer, but as a historian too.

  • She has written for newspapers and magazines around the world including:
    • Financial Times, Vanity Fair, Telegraph Time, the Saturday Telegraph magazine, Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, Homes and Garden, House and Garden, Connoisseur, Art and Antiques, On the Rocks, The Times, The Observer, The Daily Mail, The Independent, the International Herald Tribune as well as in-house publications for some leading auction houses
  • For around twenty years she worked as a jewellery consultant for Swarovski
  • She has written and co-written many books, largely related to antique jewellery, many of which have been translated into numerous languages
  • She has worked closely with auction houses including Christie's and Sotheby's
  • She has also been a lecturer, broadcaster and exhibition curator

Below is a select bibliography featuring many of the important books written by Vivienne Becker.

Swarovski: Anton Hirzinger's Maxi Swan - a popular subject for the company

Author’s Select Bibliography: Vivienne Becker

  • 1980 Antique and Twentieth-century Jewellery: A Guide for Collectors, 1st UK edition published by NAG Press
  • 1985 Art Noveau Jewelry, 1st USA edition published by E.P. Dutton
  • 1985 Art Nouveau Jewelry: 2, 1st USA edition published by E.P. Dutton
  • 1987 The Jewellery of René Lalique, 1st UK edition published by Goldsmiths Company
  • 1988 Fabulous Fakes : The History of Fantasy and Fashion Jewellery, 1st UK edition published by Grafton
  • 1989 The Jewelry Design Source Book, written in collaboration with Patricia Bayer, and others, 1st UK edition published by Springer
  • 1990 Rough Diamonds: The Butler and Wilson Collection, 1st UK edition published by Pavilion Books
  • 1992 Cufflinks Through The Ages: Circa 1700 To Present Day, 1st UK edition published by Sandra Cronan Ltd
  • 1999 Kevin Coats: Jewel Works, written in collaboration with Kevin Coates, 1st Italian edition published by Arsenale Editrice
  • 2002 Crystal Premium: Metamorphosis, 1st edition published by Swarovski
  • 2005 Daniel Swarovski : A World of Beauty, 1st UK edition published by Thames & Hudson
  • 2008 Prince Dimitri, a limited edition book, Foreword by Becker, publisher not credited
  • 2009 Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box by Madeleine Albright and others, 1st USA edition published by Melcher Media
  • 2011 De Beers (Legends), 1st USA edition published by Assouline Publishing
  • 2011 Alexandre Reza, 1st USA edition published by Assouline Publishing
  • 2012 Celebrating 50 Years of David Morris, contributor, written in collaboration with others, 1st UK edition published by Cultureshock Media
  • 2012 The Impossible Collection of Jewelry: The 100 Most Important Jewels of the Twentieth Century, 1st USA edition published by Assouline Publishing
  • 2014 Cartier Panthere (Legends), 1st USA edition published by Assouline Publishing
  • 2015 Swarovski: Celebrating a History of Collaborations in Fashion, Jewelry, Performance, and Design, written in collaboration with Deborah Landis, 1st USA edition published by Rizzoli
  • 2015 Graff, written in collaboration with numerous others including Maria Doulton, Nina Hald, Joanna Hardy and Suzy Menkes, 1st USA edition published by Rizzoli
  • 2016 Messika Joaillerie, 1st USA edition published by Assouline Publishing
  • 2016 Coffret Chaumet, written in collaboration with Alexis Gregory and Fabienne Reybaud, 1st USA edition published by Assouline Publishing
  • 2016 Van Cleef & Arpels: The Art & Science of Gems, written in collaboration with Alvin Pang, Berenice Geoffroy-Schneiter, Adriano Davoli, Timothy Adams, Alberto Cavalli, Laurence Benaim, Francois Farges and Laurence Mouillefarine, 1st French edition published by Editions Xavier Barral for the French National Museum of Natural History & the Art Science Museum
  • 2016 The Pearl Necklace (Classics), 1st USA edition published by Assouline Publishing
  • 2017 Sevan Bicakci: Time, 1st USA edition published by Assouline Publishing
  • 2017 De Grisogono - Daring Creativity, 1st USA edition published by Assouline Publishing
  • 2017 Bulgari: The Joy Of Gems, 1st USA edition published by Assouline Publishing
  • 2018 Otto Jakob: Ripe Fruit, written in collaboration with Angelika Taschen, 1st German edition published by Hatje Cantz Verlag
  • 2019 Daniel Brush: Jewels Sculpture, 1st Italian edition published by Mondadori Electa
  • 2019 Carnet by Michelle Ong, 1st UK edition published by Thames & Hudson
  • 2020 Shaun Leane, written in collaboration with Shaun Leane, Jo Hardy and Claire Wilcox, 1st USA edition published by ACC Art Books

Physical Outline: Swarovski: The Magic of Crystal

  • Title: Swarovski: The Magic of Crystal
  • ISBN: 0-8109-4454-5
  • Author: Vivienne Becker
  • Main Photographer: John Bigelow Taylor
  • Editor: Ruth A. Peltason
  • Designer: Ana Rogers
  • Published by Harry N. Abrams Inc, 1st edition, 1995
  • Format: A hardcover book with its original dust jacket
  • Pages: 158, historical and descriptive text, many colour photos 
  • Size Approx: 226x257mm
  • Approx weight: 1077g
Swarovski, The Magic of Crystal - The above models by Claudia Schneiderbauer and Max Schreck

Estimated Book Value:

If you need values in US dollars, Euros or a host of other major currencies, a currency converter is included in the right hand sidebar of this page, and another in the footer area.

Swarovski, The Magic of Crystal by Vivienne Becker, estimated value of the pictured copy, a first edition, which is in fine condition in a fine dust jacket, £15

Estimated value of the same book and dust jacket in good condition, £7.50

External Links:

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Swarovski

Tyrolean Mountains

Kubaba Books

Elizabeth Taylor

Madelaine Albright

Pueblo Pottery

American Museum of Natural History

Judith Leiber

Dalai Lama

Daniel Brush

Fosco Maraini

Candy Jernigan

Meyer Schapiro

Ferdinand Richardt

Donald Ellis Gallery

Harry Sherman

Times Mirror Company

La Martiniere Groupe

René Lalique