Precious: The History and Mystery of Gems Across Time

Art, Design & Photography, Art
Hardback Published on: 23/05/2024
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To turn the pages of Precious is to open an extraordinary treasure trove of stories. Travelling through moments in history and layers of soil and sediment, this is the glittering history of our world through a totally new lens.

Discover the fragile emerald watch that survived cross-continental journeys and centuries under the floorboards of a London house, uncovered in 1912 by workmen who might have destroyed it with one wrong placement of a pick axe.

Unearth the immense ritualistic significance of jade to ancient cultures across China, Central America and the Pacific, where it has been considered a symbol of life and a bridge to the afterlife for thousands of years.

Learn of the Burmese warriors who believed so strongly in the connection between rubies and lifeblood that they embedded them into their skin before battle to protect them from harm.

Journey back through the generations of women who wore pearls as a signifier of femininity and marvel at the role these glistening objects have played in changing depictions of feminism - from Marie Antoinette to Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor to Coco Chanel.

In this sumptuous and sweeping history of humanity's love affair with jewels, the V&A’s Senior Jewellery Curator Helen Molesworth takes you behind the curtain of what you see in a museum or fetching vast sums on the auction floor, illuminating the deeply human stories that lie behind them.

  • Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • ISBN: 9780857529091
  • Number of pages: 336
  • Weight: 691g
  • Dimensions: 242 x 160 x 30 mm

Customer Reviews

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A sparkling journey
I was offered the chance to read Precious by the publisher as I’d reviewed a previous non-fiction book of theirs last year; as I mostly request fiction on ... READ MORE
Anne O'Connell
fascinating book
This was a fascinating book, and the knowledge and enthusiasm of the author really shines through. As she says near the beginning, the study of gems involv... READ MORE