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on December 12, 2009
Reading Fred and Charlotte Ward's series, Phenomenal Gems, particularly Pearls and Opals, has awakened the adventurer in me. Fred's description of his experience in the Australian opal mines brought back memories of my thrills diving in the North Sea on oil platforms. Having been an avid abalone diver all my life, I wish I had read Pearls 40 years ago. I certainly would have given more attention to saving all of the precious pearls and pearl blisters which I came across over the years. Thanks to my reading experience of the Phenomenal Gems series I am planning my next big adventure in The Outback mining opals. I highly recommend the series to both the novice and seasoned adventurer.

Richard D. Clark
Board Member of the Napa Valley Rock and Gem Club
Member of the Culver City Rock and Mineral Club
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on November 2, 2012
Fred Ward had a very good idea when he decided to write a book specifically dedicated to Phenomenal gemstones. It's true that other authors of excellent books about gemstones usually speak about those varieties existing in a certain number of gemstones families, but here , it's the specific objective of the book and for this reason each of these phenomenons are treated more in depth. A little book but very useful. I would recommend it as a complement of other books e.g. books of Renée Newman.
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on December 2, 2009
I have been in the gem business for 18 years, and I have all of Fred Ward's books. They are more than colorful, informative guides to understanding the gem world.
Every person who handles one is immediately drawn to the series.

The books show a love of gems - they show the extraordinary lengths we go to find treasures.

I appreciate the years of dedication it takes to accomplish something so beautiful.
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on December 2, 2009
Whereas I am not a professional, I do love things that sparkle and unusual things. This book appeals to both my fancies. How interesting to learn about these precious stones (Charlotte Ward's writing) and see the treasures vividly and captured by Fred Ward (a world-wide acclaimed photojournalist). He and his wife teamed up perfectly for this. She eloquently and factually wrote and he expertly photographed - a winning match.

This may be the closest I can come to being with these sparkling jewels in person. Nature's beauties inspire me so. I couldn't wait to give the book as gifts to my friends who love jewelry. And while you drool over these photos, check out the other gem books in their collection.
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on March 26, 2010
Those familiar with the Fred Ward Gem Series will not be disappointed with his newest volume. This unique book explains some of the more unusual phenomena observed in gems - eyes, stars, iridescence, etc. The stunning photography is paired with a wealth of information that will make this book an enjoyable read for gemologists and lay people alike.
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on July 22, 2011
a book both with interesting content and worthy of being treated as a collectible item.
the information provided is concise, accurate, in depth and yet easy to understand. recommended to anyone - to read before they start buying any phenomenal gemstones.
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on May 7, 2009
This book is like eye candy, at least for the lay person. I devour all of Fred Wards books. Wonderful combos of photos, history, socioeconomic issues, quality and buying info, etc.
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on August 20, 2008
This latest edition to the Fred Ward Gem Series is another winner. Very little exists in the literature that catalogs the numerous phenomenon of which gems are capable.

Fred view is always interesting and comprehensive. His books read like those wonderfully researched, first person National Geographic articles that were part travelogue, part technical and always enchanting that Mr. Ward wrote in the 1980s.

Very highly recommended.Secrets of the Gem Trade: The Connoisseur's Guide to Precious Gemstones
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on May 29, 2009
This book for $19.00 is very limited to what it covers. It is not a thorough book like I had imagined. I was very disappointed in the size and the gems it covered (pearls included).
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