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Stoned : Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World
by Aja Raden


Overview -

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

As entertaining as it is incisive, Stoned is a raucous journey through the history of human desire for what is rare, and therefore precious.

What makes a stone a jewel?  Read more...


 
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More About Stoned by Aja Raden
 
 
 
Overview

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

As entertaining as it is incisive, Stoned is a raucous journey through the history of human desire for what is rare, and therefore precious.

What makes a stone a jewel? What makes a jewel priceless? And why do we covet beautiful things? In this brilliant account of how eight jewels shaped the course of history, jeweler and scientist Aja Raden tells an original and often startling story about our unshakeable addiction to beauty and the darker side of human desire.

What moves the world is what moves each of us: desire. Jewelry--which has long served as a stand-in for wealth and power, glamor and success--has birthed cultural movements, launched political dynasties, and started wars. Masterfully weaving together pop science and history, Stoned breaks history into three categories--Want, Take, and Have--and explains what the diamond on your finger has to do with the GI Bill, why green-tinted jewelry has been exalted by so many cultures, why the glass beads that bought Manhattan for the Dutch were initially considered a fair trade, and how the French Revolution started over a coveted necklace.

Studded with lively personalities and fascinating details, Stoned tells the remarkable story of our abiding desire for the rare and extraordinary.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062334695
  • ISBN-10: 0062334697
  • Publisher: Ecco Press
  • Publish Date: December 2015
  • Page Count: 368
  • Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds


Related Categories

Books > > History & Criticism
Books > History > Social History
Books > > Jewelry

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-10-12
  • Reviewer: Staff

Jeweler and historian Raden discusses the intersection of desire, power, and economics through seven stories of some of the worlds most famous jewels. This journey through space and time takes readers through the purchase of Manhattan in 1626 from the Lenape natives by the Dutch for 24 dollars worth of glass beads, to the whole-cloth invention of the engagement ring tradition in the late 1940s by the diamond company De Beers. Along the way Raden shows how the importation of emeralds from South and Central America led the Spanish Empire to create the worlds first interest-paying government bond, in addition to setting the stage for colonialism. She also tells the story of how a diamond necklace, used as an emblem of Marie Antoinettes corrupt excesses, helped spark the French Revolution. With these among other mini history lessons, Raden opens the discussion to a multitude of subjects including the psychology of desire and envy, the elemental makeup of diamonds, and the pearl-culturing process. Radens commentary on the often ugly side of human desire through the ages is consistently captivating, and her witty delivery makes the occasionally dry material shine. 16-page full-color photo insert. (Dec.)

 
BAM Customer Reviews