|SOURCES: ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY|
Amulets of Ancient Egypt
One of those small but wonderfully rich books. Andrews, a curator in the British Museum's Department of Egyptian Antiquities, presents a comprehensive overview of the types of Egyptian amulets, their symbolism and protective powers. She also includes a section on the types of stones and materials used to fashion the amulets, and what the stones themselves represented.
Spirit in the Stone: A Handbook of
Southwest Indian Animal Carvings and Beliefs
This is almost the Native American counterpart to Andrews book. Mark Bahti, a scholar and a second-generation owner of a well-known Tucson Native American Art gallery, offers a compendium of information on Native American fetish carvings, their symbolism and the symbolism of the stones they're carved from.
Amulets and Talismans (originally
titled Amulets and Superstitions)
A classic. Budge who, among his many titles, was known as Sometime Keeper of the Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities in the British Museum, surveys the use of amulets and talismans from ancient Babylonia through the end of the 19th century. In A Rumor of Gems, Alasdair's amethyst bear amulet was inspired by a line in this book.
Gems and Jewels: Fact and Fable
A coffee-table book with filled with solid information and history as well as color photos of many amazing gems. The diamond necklace that Lucinda is given by Kama was inspired by a photo in this book. [See Images.]
An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional
Amazing how much information is packed into these concise entries. I bought this one years ago at the Jung Society in NYC, and it's been on my desk ever since.
The History of Beads: From 30,000 B.C.
to the Present
The definitive book on the subject: beads as adornment, as cultural symbols, as medium of barter and trade, and as ritual talismans. This big, beautiful book seems to leave no corner of the globe unexplored. A sensory delight.
Jade: Stone of Heaven
Although there are chapters on the composition, carving, and the buying of jade, this is the best book I've found for the lore of the stone. A wealth of stories and beliefs from China, Burma, and pre-Columbian civilizations.
Gemstones: The Visual Guide to More
than 130 Gemstone Varieties
A portable and excellent layman's guide to gems, precious and semi-precious.
The Healing Power of Gemstones in Tantra,
Ayurveda, and Astrology
Drawing on ancient Sanskrit scriptures, Tantric scholar Harish Johari details the healing properties of gems, as proscribed by the interrelated disciplines of Hindu Tantra, Ayurvedic medicine, and astrology.
The Natural History of Gems and Decorative
Another classic of gem lore. King, not only surveyed stone lore but spent a good deal of effort trying to figure out which stones Pliny was actually talking about and how much of that ancient science actually held up in the Victorian era.
Gems in Myth, Legend, and Lore
For a combination of mineralogical profiles of the stones and a comprehensive survey of lore, this is one the best books I've come across. Jeweler and gemologist, Knuth even has sections on gems as they appear in Shakespeare's plays and poems.
The Curious Lore of Precious Stones
The grand-daddy of gem lore, Kunz was a geologist, gemologist, and one of the most assiduous collectors of beliefs about stones, jewels, seals, amulets and magical charms. This book was what started me thinking about writing a novel about the powers of stones.
Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology,
and Legend, Volumes I and II
A treasure trove, indispensable for anyone who loves or lives by myth and folklore.
Love Is in the Earth — A Kaleidoscope
I admit it. When this was first recommended to me, I couldn't believe a book with a title like Love Is in the Earth could be anything but hokey. I was wrong. I now consider Melody to be the Metaphysical Queen of Minerals. No one else has explored the range of minerals and their metaphysical gifts so clearly, thoroughly, and knowledgeably. There's something in her approach to the minerals that is, for lack of a better word, pure. Many who work with stones today consider this the encyclopedia, if not the bible. Melody has since published two supplements to the original book plus a guide to the Laying-On-of-Stones.
The Mystery of the Crystal Skulls:
Unlocking the Secrets of Past, Present, and Future
Wild and entertaining. There are quite a number of crystal skulls that have now surfaced and a wide range of claims being made about them. Morton and Thomas do a good job of sifting through the history, the science, and the attendant personalities.
An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry
My only reservation about this one is that so many of the plates are by necessity black and white; a wonderful reference all the same.
Natural History: Volume X, Books XXXVI-XXXVII
During the reign of the emperor Vespasian, Pliny the Elder (A.D. 23–79) was a Roman military administrator of Gaul and Spain, who also happened to write the 37-volume Naturalis Historia which collected the facts of natural history as they were known in his day. The two books above contain a great deal of information on minerals and gems, and remain the source of many of the beliefs about the powers ascribed to stones.
Turquoise: Memoirs of the National
Academy of Sciences, Volume XII, Part II
As the publisher says, "the work contains everything you might want to know about Turquoise but were always afraid to ask." From the geology and varieties of turquoise to the places it's mined to lore that spans Africa, the Middle East, Tibet, South America, and the American Southwest.
Rock Crystal Treasures: From Antiquity
A big, gorgeous coffee-table book about quartz crystal, from ancient Egyptian times to the present, including a chapter on Curiosity Cabinets in the European courts (1400 to 1700). The text is well-researched and intriguing, but it's the photographs that are truly amazing. Many of the pieces came from Boucheron's rock crystal collection; what an eye for beauty he has.
Dictionary of Gemmology
An excellent reference, whether for crystal systems, the cut of a stone, or ancient or deliberately misleading gem names.
The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing
Your Business and Your Life
Geshe Michael Roach is an American-born teacher and scholar of Tibetan Buddhism. In addition to being a Buddhist lama, he spent 17 years working in New York City's diamond trade. This book is a wonderful hybrid: It begins with a translation of the ancient Diamond Sutra, explains how Roach took those Buddhist principles and applied them to the business of selling diamonds, and then goes one step further offering a model for all contemporary businesses. Roach's approach is both sane and wise; he has a gift for making the complex and abstract seem simple. Beyond that, though, the book provides fascinating insights into the secretive diamond business and the nature of the stone itself.
The Earth, the Temple, and the Gods:
Greek Sacred Architecture
Scully, a professor of Art History at Yale, studies the Greek temples and their connection to the landscapes in which they were set. This book has had a great influence on my visions of the Source Place.
Mineralogy for Amateurs
The structure beneath it all.
Dictionary of Ancient Dieties
Just what the title says, a thorough and terrific guide, particularly useful when researching deities who go by more than one name.
Traditional Jewelry of India
From the Paleolithic to the present, this book interweaves the cultures of India with its rich history of adornment. Mehndi, flower garlands, animal ornaments, beads of ivory, shell and glass, and the Greater and Lesser Gems and their relations to the Nine Celestial Hindu Dieties ... like Dubin's bead book, this a richly illustrated encyclopedic volume that is endlessly fascinating.
Diamonds and Precious Stones
A full-color pocket-sized overview of the history of precious stones. Voillot is a French gemologist and a lively raconteur. With wonderful photographs and illustrations, and an index of gem-related documents that includes excerpts from the letters of Marco Polo and 17th-century gem dealer, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, the book is a true bargain; highly recommended.
FOLK AND FAIRY TALES
The Malachite Casket: Tales from the
Tales from the copper mines in the Urals at end of the 19th century, many of which feature the magical Malachite Girl or the Mistress of the Copper Mountain. This contains what may be the original version of the "Silvershod" tale, "Silver Hoof."
Zipes's modern translation restores the rich sensuality of Sir Richard Burton's unexpurgated translation of the original Arabic.
The Orange Fairy Book
And the Blue and the Red and all the others in the classic and enchanting collection.
The Golden Book of Fairy Tales
My aunt Dolly gave me this book when I was eight years old, and I've never gotten over it. The source of magic in my life. The story of "Silvershod" which I adapted and expanded on in A Rumor of Gems came from this book.
The Diamond Tree: Jewish Tales from
Around the World
One of Schwartz's books for children, fifteen stories simply and beautifully re-told.
Miriam's Tambourine: Jewish Folktales
from Around the World
One of Schwartz's adult collections which, I confess, I prefer. A scholar and a poet, Schwartz is at the full range of his power here. There are a number of stories in this collection that deal with gems but my favorite is "The Palace Beneath the Sea" about the tzohar, the legendary stone that contained the last bit of the primordial light.
Pakistanti Folk Tales: Toontoony Pie
and Other Stories
"The Ruby Prince" in this book is a delight of a gem story.
FICTION AND POETRY
The moonstone of the title is not a moonstone at all but a yellow diamond stolen from an Indian temple and given to an innocent young woman as an act of revenge. Although slow-moving by the standards of contemporary thrillers, Collins's Victorian detective story, which, may or may not be an indictment of British colonialism, is a classic example of the legends of cursed gems.
A contemporary thriller based on the premise that the legendary Amber Room — created in the early 1700s for Frederick of Prussia, traded to Peter the Great in exchange for 1,200 giants, and mysteriously disposed of when the Nazis marched on Leningrad during WWII — has surfaced. If you're at all intrigued by the Amber Room — what it looked like and what might have happened to it — this novel is worth reading.
Jewelry Talks: A Novel Thesis
I don't even know where to start with this one — erudite, funny, and a pure delight for those of us addicted to jewelry — this book almost defies categorization. It is a novel and a thesis and a string of obsessive ruminations, blending literary research and plenty of wicked gossip on legendary jewels and their famous owners, among them Coco Channel, Wallis Simpson, Princess Di, and Elizabeth Taylor. But it's the narrator's meditations on jewelry that charm. Where else do you find sentences like: "Whenever you wear jewelry you are telling the world you have something to hide — a mystery whose shadows lie deep in your heart. It's a bold way of keeping a secret" or "Pliny tells us that Roman women fashioned wearing two or three pearl drops hung from the ear, which rattled gently as they moved their head, and hence were called crotalia, the Latin word for rattle-snake. To hear a lulling rattle in the ear is a way of dancing to your own beat."
Stones of the Sky
In my humble opinion, no one has ever written more beautifully about stones or gotten closer to the heart and mystery of them. See also Neruda's The Stones of Chile, translated by Dennis Maloney and published by White Pine Press.