When Helen Molesworth joined the gem and jewellery industry she began her own love affair with one of humanity’s oldest and richest fascinations. For as long as people have known about gemstones they have treasured them. Born of violent geological events and the chance meetings of minerals, their stories are an extraordinary journey through time, and are significant to the human narrative in as many ways as they boast sparkling facets.
Selecting ten of nature’s most dazzling jewels, Helen Molesworth makes journeys across the world to trace stones from their discovery to the moment a glimmering cut and polished masterpiece is traded, and then fought over, adorns oligarchs and kings, falls out of favour, and then raises eye-watering sums in another age. Touching on history and politics, archaeology and engineering, geography and geology, chemistry and physics, psychology and romance, fine art and high finance, her book is rich with great stories and has something for everyone.