published by Robert Hale Prices vary: rrp £90

Originally published in 1962 and completed by the late Robert Webster this hefty volume (904 pages) couldn't have been compiled without the willing collaboration of various parties, individual, associations and teaching establishments.

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Buy Issue 60, Choose Destination

rock and gem magazine issue 60 summer 2013

Perhaps laid out a little differently to other reference material the book opens with the origin of gems, the earth structure and geological formations, rock systems and classifications.

The accompanying images are mono and this would have been an ideal opportunity to upgrade to colour pictures. Followed by an explanation of the crystal systems with explanatory line diagrams.

Next comes in-depth detail starting with the more 'popular' gemstones such as diamonds & sapphires. These sections are particularly comprehensive for the more popular stones covering formations, origins, effects of light, examples of coloured versions, synthetics, artificial colouring and creation. Subsequent chapters cover natural glasses, organic gems, synthetic gemstones and gemstone cutting (lapidary).

Rounded off with gem treatments and enhancements, from surface coating to laser, dyeing and heat treatments. At the back of the book are identification tables, glossaries and a famous or notable stone list for reference.

Obviously much of the material is from previous editions and some testing information has been edited out, a lot of readers have both the 5th & 6th edition on their reference shelf, changes have been made and perhaps it's just a reflection of the commercial market that comments such as "such treated turquoise is called stabilized and in general does not have to be disclosed" can be found and would no doubt be at odds to the views of the dedicated gem fan.

The book is a must for gemmology students, collector and traders alike. The current edition would also benefit from more colour images, having the few included grouped together does reflect its history.

Although the full retail price for this essential reference book is £90 if you shop around and don't mind a pre-loved edition you can acquire a copy for a considerable discount. Ours was under £14!

Fast buy this issue with Paypal

Buy Issue 60, Choose Destination

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