While many people love jewelry it takes a combination of artistry, vision, and determination to rise to the top of the field as an independent jeweler. In “Jewelry’s Shining Stars” Beth Bernstein rounds up 38 designers who are known for their unique creations. What emerges through the profiles is a study into what drives the modern artist. The book’s foreword was written by internationally renowned jewelry designer, Stephen Webster, an iconoclast in the industry, famed for being a jeweler who brings a rock-and-roll aesthetic to the world of haute jewelry.

1004074_1385862028301874_102313776_nThe full-color coffee table book features designs, quotes, personal anecdotes about the industry. The artists profiled are inspired by other artists, by jazz music, by family, legacy, tradition and the sheer power and beauty of the stones. Each has strong opinions about the role of jewelry in the modern woman’s life. Jewelry is still something given (for many of the designers their favorite pieces were wedding rings and family heirlooms) but increasingly it is also what women choose for themselves to reflect who they are and what they are drawn to. Jewelry is personal style but it is also personal identity. To buy and wear a piece of value is to affirm to the world who you are and what you enjoy.

They styles in the book vary greatly, from Todd Reed’s rough and raw diamonds with their edgy almost industrial quality to Arman Sarkisyan’s intricate award-winning museum-worth pieces, or Joseph Murray’s naturalistic and delicate branch-like designs. The artists take inspiration from nature, architecture, art movements, and historical styles. If you’ve ever wished that the jewelry spreads in W Magazine or Vogue were just a little longer this book is for you, it’s a glossy guide for the gem-obsessed.

The author most recently wrote a memoir My Charmed Life: Rocky Romances, Precious Family Connections and Searching For A Band of Gold in 2012 and is a student both of jewelry and of the role it plays in society. She is fascinated by what drives the jewelry world, both the driven artist and the ardent client and her passion shows through in this beautifully photographed book.