Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World

Book - 2015
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Publisher: New York : Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2015]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062334695
Branch Call Number: 739.27 RADEN
Characteristics: xii, 356 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 24 cm


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List - Microhistories
ArapahoeAnna Nov 27, 2016

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. She breaks history into three categories: Want, Take, and Have. Studded wi... Read More »

Combination of history, social science, psychology, economics, marketing, geology, geography, chemistry, and good story telling. Fascinating section on Emeralds, New World and Spanish Empire. Also excellent section on Pearls and Japan. If you listen to the audiobook be sure to check out the paper... Read More »

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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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