I love gemstones; I have for a very long time. To read the story of my fascination/obsession with stones, see this post. When the topic for the Starving Artists team blog carnival was announced for November – a book review – my choice of book was obvious. I selected The Jeweler’s Directory of Gemstones by Judith Crowe.
When I found this book at a local Chapters store I knew I had to have it. It has beautiful photos and the information is laid out in a logical, easy to follow format. The copyright is 2006. It has become a frequently used reference book for me.
The book is divided into 3 sections: Creating Gemstones, Types of Gemstones and Designing with Gemstones.
The first part explains the basics like properties of gemstone material and the different gemstone cuts.
The third part provides very practical advice for designing using stones.
The second section really forms the heart of the book. It goes through the gemstone family tree and for each group (like tourmaline, garnet, peridot, sugilite, turquoise, etc.) the information is broken down into the same sections: some background about the stone, specifications and sources of the gemstone, treatments and imitations, pricing and working with that gemstone. The different types of each stone that can exist are also illustrated with great photos and there is a showcase section featuring some gorgeous jewelry made with that particular stone. Depending on the stone, this information is on one to four pages. Diamonds and pearls are the exceptions as there is more extensive information about them.
Although the photos in the book often feature faceted gemstones that are used in different types of settings than what I create, the information is still extremely useful to me. Many stones that I work with in either cabochon or bead form, such as kyanite, rhodochrosite, fluorite and prehnite, are included in this book. And I discovered some interesting new stones too, such as kunzite (a type of spodumene), scapolite, and spinel.
The book also helped me to understand which types of stones belonged to which group. I found out that amazonite, moonstone and labradorite, stones which I use frequently, are all types of feldspar. And tanzanite, which is above my current price range, is a type of zoisite.
The most eye-opening part of this book for me is the “Treatments and imitations” section. Treatments, such as heat and dye are far more common than I had realized, as are synthetics for some stones.
After reading this book (and referring back to it frequently) I feel like a better informed consumer than I was previously. As a result I am better able to share the truth about the stones I use with my buyers.
This book definitely gets thumbs up from me.
To find out what books the other participants in this month’s blog carnival selected and what they think of those books, please follow the links.