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Bling is my thing!
I love my jewellery and have an interest in gemstones and all things shiny! As I found this on amazon for just a few pounds secondhand, I decided to treat myself to it.
Looking online, I found very little information on this book - actually next to nothing! I think if it had cost more I may not have risked my hard-earned pounds but I was happy to give it a go for a cheap price.
A gem of a book?
This is a nice hefty book, coming in at over 400 pages. It is laid out in an A to Z style so it's easy to navigate. It is really an encyclopaedia of gemstones, so all the stones you have heard of - any many you haven't - are covered here. Also included in the A to Z are certain countries, known for mining particular gems, and other terms relevant to jewellery and gemstones. So you can look up diamonds, amethysts, citrine, quartz and so on and get some useful information about all these stones - and many, many more!
The book is designed so that each page is split into two columns, with the text on the outer columns, and the columns nearest the spine used to illustrate the different gemstones. I have to say that some of the photos are beautiful and illustrate all sorts of stunning stones and jewellery. If you like your bling, you will like these photos! The variety of information and different pictures is great and makes this a lovely book to flick through, whether you are looking for something specific or not. There is a lot of interesting information here and if you want to find out more about gemstones, you won't be disappointed.
Lacking shine ...
On the negative side, I do have a few problems with this book. Firstly, although the jewellery photos are lovely, there are quite a lot of very tacky pictures in here. For example, there is a short section at the back of the book giving details of Zodiac signs and their related gemstones. The pictures for each sign are a bit naff in my opinion and a bit 80s looking! These pictures cheapen the book a bit and make it hard to take seriously.
The book also includes a lot of advertising which I am not really a fan of and is not something I think adds anything to the book. And, call me cynical, but a lot of the jewellery photographed in the book is attributed to jewellers and designers that have also advertised. I have also discovered that the author runs the Gems TV shopping channel so I do feel there are a few ulterior motives with some of the content selected for this book. Again, this makes it harder to take the book seriously and the ads and plugs are something I find off-putting.
And finally - and this is by far the most annoying thing for me - the book is full of grammatical and spelling errors. Almost every page seems to have a bracket missing, a word missing or misspelt or Capital Letters where there is no need for them! Picky and pedantic, I know, but this is so prevalent in the book that it became really irritating and impossible to ignore! In fact after seeing the name of the just ever-so-slightly well-known French fashion designer spelt as "Coco Channel" in one section of this book, I actually had to put it down to stop myself going too mad!
I have really mixed feelings about this book. The content itself is really interesting and useful, and some of the photos are gorgeous to look at. But I can't help but feel that the book is a bit of a marketing exercise by the author - and the terrible spelling and grammar throughout are a real problem for me. It's 2.5 stars from me but I'm going to round up as I got it so cheaply!
There are probably better, more professional books out there on gemstones so I would definitely shop around before buying this one - unless of course you can pick it up on the cheap like I did!
You can currently buy this secondhand on amazon for only £2.81, which includes postage. A new version costs £12+.
Paperback: 546 pages
Publisher: Coloured Rocks Limited (2009)