Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Buried Treasure | Victoria Findlay

This is the second of Findlay’s books which I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed. I was travelling at the time and found it a good book to pick up and read in snatches.
This is a book about precious stones and where they come from, their history and their worth. “Travels through the jewellery box” is how she puts it.

I was amazed to discover that Amber comes from the Baltic region and how many people have died harvesting it. I had just bought some pearls and it was great timing to be able to read more about their history. But this is not a dry and dusty account of scientific origins or world markets. It’s a book about people.

In each case Findlay travels to the place of origin and meets the people involved in the trade of the stones. She immerses us in the culture and setting of each stone and so we are taken on a world tour not to see the highlights of each country but to meet the people in unforgiving landscapes such as the opal mines of Australia or the perils of diving in the Red Sea for peridot…

The chapters are arranged in order of hardness of the stones set by the Mohs scale. Amber, jet, pearl, opal, peridot, emerald, sapphire, ruby, diamond.
Well worth reading. It’s interesting, informative, a travel log with a difference and with great stories about people.

Her other book is called “Color: travels through my paint box". Very interesting and we meet more amazing people throughout the world who are involved in giving us colour pigments.

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