Creating with vintage beads, buttons & baubles

by Kaari Meng
Review by Andrea Guyot Twombly


The book cover from "French Inspired Jewelry"





In a lovely conversational tone, Kaari Meng’s “French Inspired Jewelry” is offered like a wise friend offering advice, and the reader can enjoy it in a cozy chair with a blanket and a cup of tea, like one might like to spend a leisurely afternoon, or in another more ambitious fashion - at the bench, hand tools and jewelry making supplies at the ready. I think that the reader will find either approach rewarding.

The crisp colorful photographs, reminiscent of French countryside, share a nostalgic mood, as if you had discovered a scrapbook your grandmother left for you. Photographs of the project examples are set up in montage, evoking a sense of adventure with each one. Ms. Meng’s language is almost as visual as the photos themselves, and the layout is as organized as we all wish our toolboxes were.

The illustrations for wiring and assembly are clear and easy to follow, and the projects progress from very simple to more complex. With the author’s clearly written instructions, the complex jewelry projects are demystified, and an “I can do this” feeling begins to emerge. The wide range of colors and styles are all in keeping with the soul of the book.

Other features include short glossaries of terms, hints at where we might find some delicious beads, buttons and stones, and a brief story of Kaari’s jewelry making background.

“French Inspired Jewelry” is a springboard for the imagination. Read it, try some of the projects, or just enjoy the view. This book can be enjoyed by anyone.




Review reprinted with permission

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