Where can I learn more about jewellery and its history?

Jewellery is a huge and fascinating topic. If you want to know more about historic jewellery, design, makers or social history, there will be a resource for you.

If you like books, I’ve put together a list of useful books on brooches and on rings.

And, if you want to learn more about jewellery design and history, there are a growing number of online talks, courses and other resources to help you.

The Goldsmiths’ Company, London

The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, known as the Goldsmiths’ Company has been regulating jewellery in England since 1327. As well as setting the standards for gold and silver through the Assay Office and hallmarking system, they support and encourage the craft through commissions and professional training. The Goldsmiths’ Directory lists more than 300 makers. 


Goldsmiths’ Hall, in the historic goldsmithing centre of London, have regular exhibitions which are open to the public. The annual Goldsmiths’ Fair is a selling exhibition for jewellers and silversmiths. The fair runs over two weeks in the autumn and features talks and events. The Fair website is a good source of information about British jewellers and goldsmiths and features talks with jewellery experts and makers. 


The Company website hosts the Goldsmiths Stories strand. It’s an in-depth look at contemporary jewellers and jewellery firms. It includes a growing number of makers.




The Goldsmiths’ Centre

The Goldsmiths’ Centre is the educational arm of the Goldsmiths’ Company. It was founded in 2012 to offer apprenticeships, vocational training and support to makers. The Centre also puts on talks on the history of jewellery and events with makers – both at their building in Farringdon, London and online. Talks are often recorded and available to watch online later. 

The Centre has an exhibition space which regularly features work by contemporary makers and exhibitions of jewellery from the Goldsmiths’ Company collection.


L’Ecole, School of Jewelry Arts, Paris

L’Ecole was founded in 2012 with the support of Paris jewellery company, Van Cleef and Arpels. They offer free online talks in French, English and Mandarin from their three permanent sites in Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai. L’Ecole also put on exhibitions. Talks are recorded and can be watched online via their website. 

They have a wide range of fee paying courses on jewellery history and design


Victoria and Albert Museum Learning Academy, London

The V&A Learning Academy runs fee paying courses about design history both in South Kensington and online. The content changes regularly but has previously included weekend and term courses on the history of jewellery. 


Gem X Club

The GemX jewellery club is a private social network for jewellery collectors and enthusiasts. They offer online talks and physical events such as visits to exhibitions or jewellery dealers and collectors. Talks are recorded and available for a small fee on the Gemflix website. 


Society of Jewellery Historians, London

The Society of Jewellery Historians was founded in 1977. It’s the oldest society dedicated to the study of jewellery. Monthly talks are held at the Society of Antiquaries in London. The talks are now recorded and available to view remotely or through the website. The society publishes a monthly magazine, Jewellery History Today, for its members. There is an annual seminar as well as society visits to exhibitions. 


It hosts free access academic articles in the online Jewellery Studies journal on the society website.


Metalsmith magazine

Metalsmith is the publication of the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG). It focuses on contemporary jewellery and metalsmithing. SNAG also hold an annual conference. 

Art Jewelry Forum

The Art Jewelry Forum is an American organisation which promotes and explains contemporary jewellery. The site is a great resource for interviews, articles and exhibition reviews. They hold live online events (AJF Live) which are free to attend and which can be watched later on the website. 

The Jewelry Library

Founded in 2018 in New York, The Jewelry Library is a physical space which offers exhibitions, books and talks. The website also lists occasional online talks.


Christie’s Education

Several of the major auction houses run courses on the decorative arts. Christie’s offers a six week, fee-paying ‘A History of Jewellery Design: 1880 to now’. 


Art of Mourning

The Art of Mourning website was set up by Hayden Peters in 2005. The site has an archive of over 800 articles on mourning jewellery and culture as well as a number of pre-recorded webinars.