As soon as I heard the first whispers about Gem: The Definitive Visual Guide, I knew that this book was going to need a spot on my bookshelf.
Created in collaboration with the Smithsonian and with a foreword by Aja Raden, New York Times-bestselling author of Stoned, Gem had a killer combination of minds behind it. The result is even better than I’d hoped: a vividly illustrated, accessibly written powerhouse of gemological knowledge guaranteed to thrill anyone with even a passing interest in the prettiest of rocks.
Gem is organized by gemstone – which makes sense, given its title and focus. The book proceeds in a logical fashion by introducing different gems and minerals; discussing their properties, associations, and typical uses; and including detailed photographs of the stone in its rough and faceted form (usually in several variations) as well as showing several finished pieces of jewelry with the gemstone as well.
Interspersed among the chapters on different gems are mini-features, 1-2 pages long each, about exceptional pieces of jewelry. Gems are definitely the focus, but the role that they play in jewelry is certainly acknowledged as well. The pages are also sprinkled with quotes about gems and jewelry from notable authors, from Oscar Wilde to Beth Bernstein.
The other reviews I’ve seen of Gem liken it to an encyclopedia: I understand that comparison, but it wasn’t what resonated with me. To me, the way that Gem organizes its information and places it in a larger context makes it much more than just a reference text.
Growing up in the DC area, I spent a significant amount of my childhood in the Smithsonian’s museums. As soon as I was old enough to have a preference, I knew that I loved the Natural History Museum’s Gem and Mineral Hall more than I loved anything else.
I loved the pretty, shiny finished jewelry, but I also loved looking at the raw stones. I gloried in the colors of the specimens, the way their forms ranged from angular to blobby to almost fuzzy. But the thing I loved the most was the fact that these crazy rocks that naturally formed in the earth were the same stuff as the glittering, polished works of art in the other room. It was the combination of science and art, of nature phenomena and human accomplishment, that killed me.
I’ve never gotten over my fascination with that dichotomy, and that’s really the reason that I’m here today, with a blog that gives me the chance to offer a copy of this book to three of you!
That’s right! I mentioned a giveaway in the title of this post, and I’m going to deliver. I have three copies of Gem that I’m delighted to be able to offer as a giveaway. I loved it, and you’ll love it too.
Thanks to DK, publisher of Gem, I have three copies of this wonderful new resource to give away to three of you.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
In order to be eligible to win, you must enter your email address in the widget above and also complete at least one of the entry options. You’re welcome to enter more than once if you want better odds, but as long as you’ve submitted your email address and completed one of the options, you’re entered.
I’ll choose three winners next Wednesday. If any of the winners do not reply to my email within one week, a new winner will be chosen. Please note that this giveaway is US-only.
My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of Gem for review, and for making this giveaway possible.
Images reproduced by permission of DK, a division of Penguin Random House from Gem ©2016 by DK. All rights reserved.