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Gemstone Study

Hello everyone, I’m still a student working towards Jewelry Design &
Manufacture. I have only been getting the digest for about two
weeks and have already extracted a lot of useful from it
& thank you! I was wondering if anyone knows of any particularly
good books outlining in detail (with a ot of good photos) on
As many as possible!! Thanks in advance if anyone can
help. Sincerely, Terry Fowler

Terry, If you check out the Orchid Archives, you will probably find
numerous books on gemstones listed. One book that I have used
continuously over the years is : “GEMSTONES OF THE WORLD”, by Walter
Schumann, translated by Evelyne Stern from the Sterling Publishing
Co., Inc. New York. Original publication in German was 1976, the
English translation in 1977, which makes my book a “little” outdated,
because of the discovery of so many new and different stones.


  particularly good books outlining in detail (with a lot of good
photos) on gemstones -- 

Gemstones of the World by Schumann, pub’d by Sterling is the
standard text I use whenever I have a question on stones. It’s a
small book, not expensive, with lots of color photos. Check used
bookstores. It’s to my knowledge, the best single book on this


Just a thought for those who are getting to know gemstones - I
recently discovered that a local museum (for those in TO - it was the
ROM- in the back, 1st floor, next to the volcano exhibit) has a
really terrific and large collection of gems in all forms and
varieties - rough, cut, and set. It was great to be able to see all
the different colours of the same stone sitting side by side! So you may
want to check out your local museum too…

Hate to disagree but Schumann is a poor choice. It is dated,
fraught wit h errors and the photographs are less than professional.

Surprisingly, the best overall book that combines, gemology, geology
and some connoisseurship is Max Bauer’s Precious Stones. The book
was origin ally published in 1909 so its dated and has no photos, but
it still is th e most comprehensive. Also its available in a two
volume Dover Edition f or about twenty bucks. For ID purposes GIA’s
Handbook of Gem Identificat ion is your best bet.

If your main interest is connoisseurship the field is a bit thin.
Zucker , B., A Precious Stones; A Connoisseur’s Guide, is excellent
even though the photos are uneven and its a bit dated. Another
Choice is; Federman, D., A Consumer’s Guide., in two volumes.
Federman is a bit glib but he i s up to date Great photos by Tino
Hammid. My own humble offering, The Ge m Aficionado; Secrets of The
Trade, should be out my Tucson 2003.


My favorite single gem book is: GEMS - Their Sources, Descriptions,
and Identification by R. Webster, F.G.A. Published by

It is very complete, over 900 pages, about 7 lbs., and expensive but
worth every penny. (I think I paid over $75 for the third
edition 15 years ago.)

As an all-round gem book I do not think there is a better one.

Steve Green / Rough and Ready Gems