To celebrate National Read A Book Day on September 6th 2018, we've picked three of our favourite gemstone books from the Gemporia library to give you a brief overview of.
There is so much to learn to learn about gemstones and jewellery and it is a topic that continues to enthrall and fascinate a great many people. Thousand and thousands of books have been written on everything from very detailed scientific breakdowns of individual gemstones right through to famous designs down the years. Here, we've picked three books that all give a good overview of gemstones in general but from three different viewpoints.
Secrets Of The Gem Trade: Second Edition
Richard W Wise
There are many wonderful gemology books that give a very clinical and scientific overview of the jewellery and gem world, but what elevates this title is how very personal it is. The author (and his book) are held in high regard by his peers, because Wise’s research – the knowledge, experience and anecdotes collected here - are largely personal accounts gleaned from 35 years spent in the industry. Mixed with his meticulous research, Secrets of the Gem Trade is unmatched in its comprehensive view of the field. The ‘secrets’ of the title include trade techniques on identifying stones, strategies for selling and new advice on the ever-growing importance of the internet as a gemstone marketplace.
Wise’s captivating style and fierce knowledge of his subject matter make this feel like a bespoke tour through the gemstone world, brought to life by many of his own photos. Even if you’re savvy with the older version of this book, much has changed here in this new edition and Wise has re-written and expanded upon his earlier work with extensively re-written chapters on the likes of Ruby, Sapphire and Spinel, with extra space dedicated to Demantoid Garnet, Pearl, Moonstone, Sunstone, Jade and more.
The book is split into two parts, the first concentrating on the essentials of becoming an expert on not just gems themselves but also the marketplace that relies on them. The second part is a knowledgeable gem-by-gem breakdown on the history and characteristics to look for in individual gemstones. If you’re looking to make the leap from enthusiast to connoisseur, there is no better place to start than by absorbing this unique and essential take on the trade. Such is this book’s reputation that if it’s the only one you read this year, you can consider yourself well equipped in your gemstone knowledge.
Rocks and Minerals
Ronald Louis Bonewitz
You’d be forgiven for thinking that any book that started with the formation of the universe might be a little heavy, but this 300+ page tome from DK manages to go well beyond the superficial without getting too carried away with the hard science.
The balance achieved here is evident not just in the copy and content itself but across each of the beautifully laid out spreads within. Each page is imbued with background information, fun facts and historical quotes on its subject. Did you know that Kyanite is used in spark plugs, for example, or that Leonardo DaVinci said that “Amethyst dissipates evil thoughts and quickens the intelligence”?
The tireless research here makes this an effortless and interesting read, strengthened by the numerous annotated photos of rough and cut gemstones and finished jewellery pieces that feature throughout. Rocks & Minerals tells the full story in a fun and fascinating way - a great place to start if you’re looking to expand your knowledge.
Gemstones of the World
This wonderful little book contains everything you could ever want to know about gemstones, and all in a single volume. From their origins to their mining, their structure to their optical properties and beyond, all the terminology you need to know is covered in easy to understand detail, and the book is illustrated with over 1,900 pictures of gems.
Every gemstone is afforded space and there are chapters focussing on collectors gems and new to market stones too, offering an invaluable visual guide of lesser-known gemstones with corresponding text. The edition reviewed (the fifth) contains a new chapter exploring the holistic side of gemstones, and there are easy to reference tables throughout on a wide range of essential topics, such as hardness and crystal structure.
It is remarkably comprehensive without being exhausting, and is just as essential to the seasoned gemologist as to the new hobbyist who yearns to learn more.
Looking to read more about jewellery? Our Gemology Hub is regularly updated with articles on the history, science and beauty of gemstones. Click here to explore.