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A comprehensive guide to the fascinating world of precious and semi-precious crystals. As well as the naturally occurring minerals that have long been prized as gemstones, such as diamonds, emeralds and rubies, the book covers 'organic gems', including pearls, amber and coral, and synthetic gems and simulants, or imitations.
An introductory section examines the appeal of gemstones, the history and the popularity of collecting, the basic rock types, principles of crystal formation and physical properties, while the main encyclopedic section provides information on the origins and makeup of around 180 major stones, their properties and qualities, as well as major world sources. The latter sections of the book cover the cutting and finishing processes, the ways in which stones can be enhanced or 'improved' and offers pointers on starting a collection and exploring the subject in greater depth.