Books  Natural History  General Natural History 

Gem and Ornamental Materials of Organic Origin

By: Maggie Campbell Pedersen(Author)

268 pages, 200 colour photos

NAG Press

Hardback | Aug 2010 | #214823 | ISBN-13: 9780719804212
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1 week Details
NHBS Price: £39.95 $52/€45 approx
Hardback | Dec 2003 | #143928 | ISBN: 0750658525
Out of Print Details

About this book

The materials covered in the book include Amber and Copal; Jet; Ivory; Bone; Antler; Rhino horn; Horn; Tortoiseshell; Pearl; Shell; Coral, and other materials of plant and animal origin that have been used as gem or ornamental material. The book describes how to recognize them and how to distinguish them from the materials most commonly used to imitate them, for example plastic. A comprehensive list of materials is included and each is presented with details of its origin, availability and conservation status, examples of, and a brief history of, their use. Organics fit together because of their origins, because they are constantly used together, have similar histories and were the earliest gem materials used. 200 color images are included for ease of reference and identification, allowing you to identify this material by sight, avoiding the usual gemological tests which ruin them.Organics occur in modern and antique jewelry, in decorative items and in some furniture, and this book draws all the information together to provide the first complete overview of the subject. A unique reference book comprehensively documenting organic materials, it is a highly illustrated color filled book for ease of reference. You can learn the background and how to identify organic material.

"a particularly timely and very welcome addition to antiques literature [...] you could not want a more comprehensive or more clearly written guide to organic materials. Although comprehensively illustrated in color, the success of a book like this relies above all on an ability to write with authority in an accessible, non-technical way. Maggie Campbell Pedersen is to be applauded for producing a volume of genuine use to dealers, collectors and museum curators."
- Antiques & Collectables, June 2004

"This is a very interesting book which draws together a vast amount of information which would otherwise require delving into many sources from a wide range of disciplines [...] For the antique dealer, jeweler and gemologist this book would be a most useful addition to their bookshelves"
- Journal of Gemology, January 2004

"This is a fascinating book, which comprehensively covers the range of natural materials suggested by its title. If you are interested in these materials – buy it!"
- PHS Newsletter, February 2004

"An ideal reference book, Gem and Ornamental Materials of Organic Origin is a unique source of information on this neglected topic of gemology"
- Rock 'N' Gem, Spring 2004

"provides a richly illustrated and well-researched source of information on a neglected topic of gemology: materials of biological origin. it is significant that the testing and identification of the subject materials is included in each topical chapter. The library value of this book is aided by reference charts, a glossary, a bibliography, and an adequate index. ***Recommended***"
Choice Library Journal

"This new book is the most comprehensive, in-depth, and scientific examination of these materials to date. Overall, the book is very well organized. The book is well illustrated by the author, who is a professional photographer gemologists and jewelry historians should find this book informative and useful."
- Gems & Gemology, The Quarterly Journal of the Gemological Institute of America

"A highly useful reference book, this is a unique source of information on a neglected topic of gemology. Two hundred color images are included for ease of reference and identification, allowing you to identify this material by sight, avoiding the usual gemological tests, which ruin them."
- The Bead Forum, Newsletter of the Society of Bead Researchers

"What an information laden reference book this is for gemologists, appraisers and collectors! While reading this book, I was impressed with the vast amount of information the author has gathered about each natural gem material. There is a chapter dedicated to each organic material such as amber, jet, ivory, bone, antler, horn, tortoiseshell, pearls, shells, corals, baleen, byssus, calabash, coconut, feathers, hair, insect wings and other lesser known items. She writes of the scientific examination of these items, the historical importance of these same items with references to the artistic and sometimes medicinal use of them. I have not found a reference book that has more data on this subject. It is clearly written and illustrated with beautiful photographs. I found this book to be well organized, educational and valuable. I also enjoyed the non-technical way the identification and testing of these items is described. There are reference charts that aid in the separation of organic materials from simulants. Since the book contains such a vast amount of information, it is a mandatory item for every gemologist appraisers reference library."
- National Association of Jewelry Appraisers magazine


- Introduction
- Amber & Copal
- Jet
- Ivory
- Bone
- Antler
- Rhino horn
- Horn
- Tortoiseshell
- Pearl
- Shell
- Coral
- Lesser known or used organics
- Plastics
- Charts
- Glossary
- Bibliography
- Index

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Over thirty years' experience in photography, specialising for the past twenty years in gemstone and jewellery photography. Eight years' work in gemmological research, specialising in gem materials of plant and animal origin, and teaching/lecturing adult groups on this subject. Published articles for trade or association publications, eg Gem and Jewellry News.

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