Jewels: A Secret History

Finlay, Victoria


1 in stock

1 in stock

‘Glorious . . . anecdote and information accumulate with marvellous abundance and a passionate sense of the fascination of jewels . . . a wonderfully generous gift’ – John de Falbe, Spectator

In this scintillating book, journalist Victoria Finlay embarks on her own globe-circling search for the real stories behind some of the gems we prize most.

Throughout history, precious stones have inspired passions and poetry, quests and curses, sacred writings and unsacred actions. Blending adventure travel, geology, exciting new research, and her own irresistible charm, Finlay has fashioned a treasure hunt for some of the most valuable, glamorous, and mysterious substances on earth.

With the same intense curiosity and narrative flair she displayed in her widely-praised book Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox, Finlay journeys from the underground opal churches of outback Australia to the once pearl-rich rivers of Scotland; from the peridot mines on an Apache reservation in Arizona to the remote ruby mines in the mountains of northern Burma. She risks confronting scorpions to crawl through Cleopatra’s long-deserted emerald mines, tries her hand at gem cutting in the dusty Sri Lankan city where Marco Polo bartered for sapphires, and investigates a rumour that fifty years ago most of the world’s amber was mined by prisoners in a Soviet gulag.

Jewels is a unique and often exhilarating voyage through history, across cultures, deep into the earth’s mantle, and up to the glittering heights of fame, power, and wealth. From the fabled curse of the Hope Diamond, to the disturbing truths about how pearls are cultured, to the peasants who were once executed for carrying amber to the centuries-old quest by magicians and scientists to make a perfect diamond, Jewels tells dazzling stories with a wonderment and brilliance truly worthy of its subjects.

‘A fascinating and exhaustive travelogue . . . a prism through which the spectrum of history, geography and the sciences is refracted’ – Anna Swan, Times Literary Supplement

Format: Paperback
Pages: 496
Imprint: SCEPTRE
Publication date: 03/11/2022

ISBN: 9781399716567 Category: