An adventurous journey in search of the secret history of gemstones. Amber is the tears of prehistoric trees. Peridot falls to earth from space. You can grow opals in your back garden. One gem links Queen Victoria and a transvestite skeleton. Cleopatra drank a pearl to win a bet. A man has turned into a diamond. From the bestselling author of "Colour" - an intrepid journey to uncover the secret histories of precious stones. Victoria's search takes her to Egypt to find the lost emerald mines of Cleopatra, to the Australian opal fields with their underground towns, to Burma where she is spied on by the military junta, and to a secret location to meet the world's best diamond cutter. She reveals the wealth of human stories behind gemstones, and discovers, with the advent of synthetics, an industry on the brink of crisis. This is a narrative travelogue as fascinating as the stones themselves.
* 'A tour de force... the breadth of research and insight is dazzling' - Glasgow Herald * 'A highly companionable guide, adventurous and romantic' - Independent on Sunday * 'Packed with stories, anecdotes and adventures. A full rainbow... as vivid as the colours themselves' - - Sunday Express * 'This is a rare and wonderful book - a model of erudition and charm, the writing elegant and precise, and with at least one new and fascinating revelation on every single page. I could not be more enthusiastic.' - Simon Winchester, author of THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN * 'It's pure pleasure to join this gutsy arts reporter-cum-scholar on her quest for historical pigments and dyes around the world' - Independent
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