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Gems and Gemstones: Timeless Natural Beauty of the Mineral World Hardcover – November 15, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Published to coincide with an expanded Grainger Hall of Gems in Chicago's Field Museum, Gems and Gemstones displays beautiful gemstones (cut and uncut) and explains the geography and science behind their creation. Photos of creations such as the Aztec "Sun-god Opal," in which a human face is cut into a spectacular 35-carat white opal, show just how long gems have retained their hold on the human imagination.”


(Seattle Times)

“Tired of regular jewelry gifts? Take a tour through the mineral world, from Alexandrite, known for its color-changing properties and named after Russia's Czar Alexander II, to Zoisite, which only attains its blue color after a 700-degree Fahrenheit heat treatment. Created as a companion to the 2009 opening of the Grainger Hall of Gems at Chicago's Field Museum, the volume dazzles with its displays of gems and other precious jewelry. A feast for the eyes, and a break for the wallet compared with the treasures it contains, Gems delves into the science and crafting of gems—and brings the bling, too.”
(USA Today)

“Eye candy abounds in this volume on gems based on the newly revamped Grainger Hall of Gems at the Field Museum in Chicago. The book covers such topics as how gems form in nature, how they are classified, and the fascinating history of humanity’s love of jewels.”

(Scientific American Scientific American)

“Since 1854, my family has run a small Iowa City jewelry store specializing in quality gem stones. I inherited the love for diamonds, but with my writer’s salary, money’s better spent on the lush pictures in Gems and Gemstones. Penned by the senior veep of the Field Museum, this new tome is the definitive book on precious stones. Hey, diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, but a good book is also a good friend...um, yeah.”

(Time Out Chicago)

About the Author

Lance Grande is senior vice president and head of collections and research at The Field Museum. He is a curator in the geology department and a general content specialist for The Field’s new Grainger Hall of Gems exhibit. He is also a member of the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago and is an adjunct professor of biology at the University of Illinois. Allison Augustyn, a funding specialist at The Field Museum, was previously an exhibition developer there, where she prepared such exhibits as The Ancient Americas, George Washington Carver, and The Grainger Hall of Gems.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (November 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226305112
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226305110
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By T. McMahon on February 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well balanced in terms of geological information, history, and aesthetic presentation (images are outstanding and the book is well designed.) Much of the text is legitimately interesting to read; I found myself reading through large portions, which is rare for gem book. The book begins with well written introduction that properly prepares the reader for the information laid out throughout the book. Short chapters at the end on simulated stones, mining, and ethics were welcome additions.

My only gripe (not important enough to detract from my rating)is that materials from the Grainger Hall of Gems collection that were too soft for practical use were omitted with exceptions for commonly used organic materials, e.g. pearls, amber, ivory. This was somewhat frustrating, and I'm sure they would have used beautiful images to represent them. A condensed "too soft for jewelry" chapter would have been nice., the chapter on metals, aptly titled "Precious Metals (Primarily Gold)" only deals with gold; I expected at least silver to get an equal treatment. Of course, this book is plenty satisfying already, and a great buy for the price
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Snooper's Mom on January 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Wonderful new book on gemstones really delivers! Instead of a few tiny color photos at the back, like other books, this book actually is primarily composed of color photos. The accompanying information will inspire even more investigation for the amateur gemologist--there is a map of mining locations, for instance.
There are photos of both the original minerals and jewelry made from the resulting gems.
This is one of the best books I have ever encountered on the subject, very thoughtfully organized and entertaining as well. Highly recommended !
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth A. Hamilton on December 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful book with exquisite photographs of gems and gemstones. Very informative text. It is great for both experienced collectors or novices interested in crystals. Also would make a wonderful gift item. Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael R Williamson on November 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is very good, and much more than just a coffee table book. The pictures are spectacular, I only feel they should have added more pictures of the different geometrical types of crystallization of the same minerals. I found there to be a significant lack of radioactive minerals, UV minerals, and pictures of these and other mInerals in general. The focus seemed to be more on jewelry and gemstones, which left open a great variety of other crystals and minerals. As a jeweler I noticed some of the jewelry gemstones shown were very poorly set. Most of these items were created specifically for this exhibition and it's a shame they were seemingly thrown together. The Field has a very large collection and I also feel that more should have been shown, not just the perfect pieces that have often been modified from their original settings via overly extensive cleaning and specific cutting of unwanted but attached minerals associated with the crystals. I was also bothered by the lack of information on where many of the stones, even the recently cut stones, originated. This is very important and I felt more effort should have gone into locality and type localities for the stones and uncut pieces. All that said, it remains a very aesthetically pleasing book and would go very well in any book collection or on any coffee table regardless of what it lacks. I may be to harsh on the book due to my own knowledge and understanding which is far greater than a layman or casual buyer. The pictures are beautiful and the dust jacket cover is strikingly beautiful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. Walker on February 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has everything you'd want to know about gems and gemstones. Also, the pictures within really bring the minerals and gems alive. The artwork these gems are fashioned into are often quite intriguing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter Bloch on December 29, 2010
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This is one of the most beautiful books I've seen recently, but the well-written and informative text gives it value beyond the awesome photos. It's not only a perfect gift, it's a book you'll want to dip into, learn fascinating facts you could never have imagined, and just totally enjoy.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Diana on July 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is more of a museum venture book that has a brief-brief info about the very few featured rocks and the behind-the-glass jewelry show than anything informative in depth,spectrum or scale.Didn't like the fact that they only view a few stones as precious or suitable for jewelry and not the remaining hundreds of types just because they are softer than the relative hardness of 7.They can very well be considered as precious stones suitable for jewels of different kinds that one could wear on special occasions(in my opinion)-especially for their uniqueness,character and beauty.But what i did like was the agreeable fact of its true logical character that they do clarify for the non-technical & mislead/misinformed public the fact about a stone being the real/genuine one whether produced in nature's or in a man's lab.Both are gem material that came about from basically identical synthesis process!
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