Episode 212 Part 1: Inside Appraiser Jo Ellen Cole’s Extensive Jewelry Library

Episode 212

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • Which essential jewelry books you should have in your library
  • Why books are so much more reliable than internet research when it comes to gemstones and jewelry
  • Why the Renaissance opened up a new world of adornment
  • An overview of the periods of jewelry and how they overlapped and influenced one another
  • How cultural turning points, like World War II and the South African diamond rush, influenced what materials were used during different time periods

About Jo Ellen Cole

Jo Ellen Cole is the owner of Cole Appraisal Services and the director of fine jewelry at Abell Auctions. She earned her Graduate Gemologist Diploma at the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica and successfully passed the prestigious Gemological Association of Great Britain’s FGA examinations.

Additional resources:

Gemological and Jewelry Books for a Professional Library:


Gemstones: Their Sources, Descriptions and Identification, Webster, Robert

Gem Testing, Anderson, Basil

Handbook of Gemstone Identification, Liddicoat Jr., Richard T.

Gem and Ornamental Materials of Organic Origin, Pedersen, Maggie Campbell

Gemstones of the World, Schumann, Walter

Photoatlas of Inclusions in Gemstones, Vols. 1, 2 and 3, Gubelin, Edward and Koivula, John

Color Encyclopedia of Gemstones, Arem, Joel

The Spectroscope and Gemmology, Anderson, Basil and Payne, James, edited by Mitchell, R. Keith


Gemology, An Annotated Bibliography, Sinkankas, John

The Complete Handbook for Gemstone Weight Estimation, Carmona, Charles

Dictionary of Gems and Gemology, Shipley, Robert

The Jewelers Manual, Liddicoat Jr., Richard T. and Copeland, Lawrence L.

Gemstone and Mineral Data Book, Sinkankas, John


Diamonds, Bruton, Eric

Diamond Cutting: Complete Guide to Cutting Diamonds, Watermeyer, Basil

Famous Diamonds, Balfour, Ian

Hardness 10, Vleeschdrager, Eddy

Diamond Handbook, Newman, Renee

Laboratory Grown Diamonds, Simic, Dusan and Deljanin, Branko

Fluorescence as a Tool for Diamond Origin Identification – A Guide, Chapman, John, Deljanin, Branko and Spyromilios, George


Book of the Pearl, Kunz, George F. and Stevenson, Charles Hugh

Pearls, Strack, Elizabeth

Beyond Price, Donkin, R.A.


Jade, A Gemmologist’s Guide, Hughes, Richard

Jade For You, Ng, John Y. and Root, Edmund


Ruby and Sapphire, Hughes, Richard

Emerald and Other Beryls, Sinkankas, John

Opal Identification and Value, Downing, Paul


Brilliant Effects, Pointon, Marcia

Understanding Jewelry, Bennett, David, and Mascetti, Daniella

Jewelry in America, Fales, Margha Gandy

Victorian Jewellery, Flowers, Margaret


In appraiser Jo Ellen Cole’s opinion, the best thing a jewelry lover can have is a well-stocked library. Information on gems and jewelry abounds online today, but much of that information is incorrect. For that reason, Jo Ellen—a Graduate Gemologist who also passed Gem-A’s FGA examination—turns to books when she has a question about a specific piece, hallmark or stone. She joined the Jewelry Journey Podcast to share which books she recommends for every jewelry interest; how jewelry trends shifted over the years due to cultural forces; and how to quickly identify the characteristics of different jewelry periods. Read the episode transcript here.

Sharon Berman