It is hard not to pull out all the stops and employ every superlative in your vocabulary when describing Gem. Quite simply, the book effortlessly manages to be both endlessly captivating and extraordinarily thorough as a reference. The photography is superb and the stories are delicious. There is a reason that the book is subtitled “The Definitive Visual Guide,” without a hint of hyperbole. I cannot imagine any jeweler in the country who would not want one of these as a sales aid for his customers. Below is the publisher’s description. To listen to our interview with introduction writer Aja Raden, click the grey podcast bar at the very bottom of the page.
From diamonds to sapphires to limestone, GEM profiles all major gem types and other precious materials, revealing the riches of the Earth, from raw minerals to exquisite jewelry. Crystal-clear photography and illustrations abound on each page to showcase the gems’ different cuts, colors, and uses.
GEM goes beyond other reference books by featuring some of the rarest and most valuable stones and jewel-laden artifacts in history, describing in rich detail the stories and legends that surround them, from their journeys in the company of royalty, film stars, and thieves to the curse of the Hope Diamond and Ludwig II’s pocket watch. Gem concludes with an 80-page illustrated directory that provides all necessary comprehensive data to a variety of other rocks and nonprecious stones.