Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World

eBook - 2015
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As entertaining as it is incisive, Stoned is a raucous journey through the history of human desire for what is rare, and therefore precious.What makes a stone a jewel? What makes a jewel priceless? And why do we covet beautiful things? In this brilliant account of how eight jewels shaped the course of history, jeweler and scientist Aja Raden tells an original and often startling story about our unshakeable addiction to beauty and the darker side of human desire.What moves the world is what moves each of us: desire. Jewelry—which has long served as a stand-in for wealth and power, glamor and success—has birthed cultural movements, launched political dynasties, and started wars. Masterfully weaving together pop science and history, Stoned breaks history into three categories—Want, Take, and Have—and explains what the diamond on your finger has to do with the GI Bill, why green-tinted jewelry has been exalted by so many cultures, why the glass beads that bought Manhattan for the Dutch were initially considered a fair trade, and how the French Revolution started over a coveted necklace.Studded with lively personalities and fascinating details, Stoned tells the remarkable story of our abiding desire for the rare and extraordinary.
Publisher: 2015
ISBN: 9780062334718
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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Jan 24, 2018

Greed, envy, & how to sell a good story on Jewellery affected economics, states & kings.
Angered that DeBeers used artificial scarcity to prop up billion dollar industry.
Chuckled that diamond will slowly turn back to graphite, it goes "poof!" by fire & it could be shattered by a hammer. Hard, but brittle. Just ask author's father as a kid on grandmother's ring.
I'm shocked that plot of James Bond 1983 Octopussy movie of selling fake Faberges to raise hard currency was actually done by Soviet union in 1920s & 1930s thanks to Armand Hammer so called "citizen diplomat" aka soviet agent & international fencer.
Went hmm on wristwatch were ridiculed by pocket watch industry as effeminate just like people on smartphone early adopters. Took Boer & World war I to change attitudes.

TheBookWitch Aug 16, 2017

A fascinating insight into why humans value pretty gems. From the beads that bought Manhattan, to the necklace that Marie Antionette didn't want anything to do with, to the modern wristwatch - this books covers such a wide range of subjects in a really accessible manner. A thoroughly enjoyable read, and I feel so much wiser now! The only thing that would have made it better would have been more photos. I feel I needed to have a lovely big coffee table book of jewellery as a companion volume.

Jan 09, 2017

Fascinating read with a swirling mix geology, history, and psychology all centered on gems and jewelry, and the human desire to possess them.


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