When a perfect mineral crystal has been cut and polished into a form of great beauty by a skilled craftsperson, it is called a gem. Gems are among the most charismatic objects in the history of the world, and are probably more valuable per volume than any other artifacts from or on the earth. In this book, Dr. Jeffrey E. Post, curator of the National Gem and Mineral Collection, surveys the world of gems, discussing diamonds, corundum gems (rubies and sapphires), beryl gems (such as emeralds), quartz gems, garnets, topaz, tourmaline, peridots, zircons, spinels, chrysoberyl, spodumene, tanzanite, feldspar gems, opals, starts and cat’s eyes, ornamental stones (such as jade, lapis lazuli, and turquoise), and rare and unusual gems, as well as the collection’s historical jewels. Chip Clark, the museum’s senior staff photographer, captures the colours and brilliance of hundreds of gems.
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