Author: Victoria Finlay Publisher: SCEPTRE (2006) ISBN-10: 0340830131 ISBN-13: 9780340830130 Condition: Very Good. Tiny creases across the cover corners. Else a very good copy. Binding: Softcover Pages: 482 Dimensions: 21.5 x 13.5 x 3.5 cm
Weight: 0.6 kg
Buried Treasure: Travels Through the Jewel Box by Victoria Finlay is a third travelogue, a third social history and a third historical record of the semi-precious jewels we have come to know and cherish. The jewels included in this book are organized from softest to hardest on Mohs' scale. I say jewels and not stones, because the first three entries amber, jet and pearl, are not stones at all, they are made from other organic substances. The rest of the chapters are devoted to opal, peridot, emerald, sapphire, ruby and diamond.
In each chapter, Finlay describes her travels to the ancient and modern sources of each jewel that take her to far flung places like Australia, Japan, Burma, Sri Lanka, Egypt, the Baltic Coast, England, and North America. Throughout her travels she encounters people who are directly involved in the production, marketing and distribution of these precious jewels. To me, it seems a bitter blow for the people in the production of jewels that they receive next to nothing for their labours whilst the middlemen and higher-ups become rich from their troubles, but Finlay injects labourer anecdotes with humour and soul that almost make one forget that some live in extreme poverty.
The book includes an extensive bibliography and notes for each chapter. there are appendices in the back that include lists of birthstones, anniversary gemstones, Mohs' scale of relative hardness, alternative names, famous diamonds, names for cuts of gems, and glossary of gem words that are wonderfully informative.