Gem books, Jewelry books, ruby books, jade books, pearl books, diamond books

The gemologist's core libraryIndian Maharaja

After more than three decades in gemology, and with a personal collection that numbers hundreds of volumes, I am often asked to recommend books in the field. Below are my top picks, many available on Amazon.com. Lower down are other books I've found useful. Have I left something important out? Feel free to spam me with your suggestions.
Here's the lineup:

Rubydick's pick of the litter

Look at this list carefully and compare it to your bookshelf. If you don't have each and every one of these, then either consider a new profession or click on the link to purchase them. This is the gemologist's core library. Each of these books is a must-have.

The Book of the Pearl: The History, Art, Science, and Industry of the Queen of Gems by George Frederick Kunz & Charles Hugh Stevenson. Reprint of the classic 1908 edition. Certainly the best pearl book ever. Also one of the best gem books ever. A true tour-de-force. If you have the money, buy the original 1908 edition in its sumptuous binding. That also goes for most of the Kunz books.
Book of Ruby & Sapphire The Book of Ruby & Sapphire by J.F. Halford-Watkins & Richard W. Hughes, ed. (2012). A previously unpublished classic brought to life by Richard Hughes. Based on the original 1936 manuscript.
Color Encyclopedia of Gemstones by Joel Arem (1987). Detailed descriptions and fine photos of gems from A to Z. This second edition also covers synthetic and man-made gems. Highly recommended for all gemologists. A tremendous resource.
Curious Lore of Precious Stones by George Frederick Kunz. Reprint of the 1913 edition. Again, like all the Kunz books, a classic. See also the companion volumes, The Magic of Jewels and Charms and Rings for the Finger.
Emerald and Other Beryls by John Sinkankas (1981). One of the finest books ever written on a single gem species. A masterpiece of gemological scholarship.
Gem and Crystal Treasures by Peter Bancroft (1984) This is in my top five all time. It covers the 100 most famous gem and mineral localities in the world, and most importantly does so from the human side. The extremely readable text is paired with some of the finest gem and mineral photography ever published.
Gem Testing by B.W. Anderson & E.A. Jobbins (1990, 10th ed.). Anderson was perhaps the greatest gemologist of the century. This book distills over 50 years of gem-testing experience. Look for the 10th edition if you can find it.
Gemology: An Annotated Bibliography by John Sinkankas (1993). My pick for the greatest gem book of all time. No author ever worked harder on a single work. Over 6,000 entries, virtually all of which are annotated.
Gems by Robert Webster (2008, 6th ed.) No one who calls themselves a gemologist can be without this massive work. However this 6th edition is not the one to buy, since so much material was removed. Instead, look instead for the Third, Fourth or Fifth Edition editions.
Gems & Gemology Quarterly journal from the GIA. This is a must for all gemologists. Alice Keller, who edited this publication for three decades, single-handedly dragged gemology into the modern scientific world. Every gemologist on the planet owes her a debt of gratitude.
Gems Made by Man by Kurt Nassau (1980) The finest book on synthetic gem materials.
Gemstone Enhancement: Heat, Irradiation, Impregnation, Dyeing, and Other Treatments Which Alter the Appearance of Gemstones, and the Detection of Such Treatments by Kurt Nassau (1984 and 1994). Virtually the only book on this important subject. A must have. Try for the 2nd edition if you can find it.
Handbook of Gem Identification by Richard T., Jr. Liddicoat (1993). A classic from the former head of the Gemological Institute of America.
Internal World of Gemstones: Documents from Space and Time by Eduard Gübelin (1979). The rarest of creatures, a technical book that transcends and becomes art. One of the finest gemology books of all time.
Manual of Mineral Science (Manual of Mineralogy) by Cornelius Hurlbut & Cornelius Klein & Barbara Dutrow (2007; 23rd ed.). The classic college text on mineralogy.
Photoatlas of Inclusions in Gemstones by Eduard Gübelin and John Koivula (1986). See also Photoatlas of Inclusions in Gemstones, Volume 2 (2005; my review here) and Photoatlas of Inclusions in Gemstones, Volume 3 (2008; my review here) Among the three most important gemology books ever published. Get 'em while you can. When they go out-of-print, you'll pay $1000/volume. You can buy the whole series now for less than the price of a lousy 1-ct. ruby.
Precious Stones by Max Bauer & L. J. Spencer (Translator); reprint of the 1904 edition. Although somewhat dated, there is still much to recommend about this book.
Ruby & Sapphire by Richard Hughes (1997). Arguably the finest book ever devoted to a single gem species. It's all here, sources, prices, treatments, etc.

   

Gems by species

Generally speaking, I buy every single monograph on a gem that I can lay my hands on. Why? Because they tend to be written by those who specialize in the subject, and who better to learn from than an expert? Here are a number of the gem monographs I can recommend. Many are out-of-print and in high demand. Which should tell you that when you see them, buy them. They tend to disappear quickly and when out-of-print, prices can get crazy.

Amber

Beryl (including Emerald)

Chrysoberyl (including Alexandrite)

Corundum (Ruby & Sapphire)

  • The Book of Ruby & Sapphire by J.F. Halford-Watkins & Richard W. Hughes, ed. (2012). A previously unpublished classic brought to life by Richard Hughes. Based on the original 1936 manuscript.
  • Corindon et Spinelles by various authors (2002). A fine compilation of articles in French describing both corundum and spinel. Now sadly out-of-print. Mineraux et Fossils Hors Serie No. 15.
  • Corundum (Butterworth's Gem Books) by Richard W. Hughes (1990). An earlier version of the author's Ruby & Sapphire.
  • Heat Treatment of Ruby & Sapphire by Ted Themelis (2010). The second edition of this corundum cookbook.
  • Ruby & Sapphire by Richard Hughes (1997). Arguably the finest book ever devoted to a single gem species. It's all here, sources, prices, treatments, etc.
  • Siamese Ruby by John Hoskin & Lindsey Lapin (1987). Covers the now-exhausted Thai ruby mines.
  • Yogo: The Great American Sapphire by Stephen M. Voynick (1987). The best book ever written on this intriguing locality for Montana sapphire.

Diamonds

Garnet

  • Garnet (Butterworths Gem Books) by John D. Rouse (1986). One of the only monographs devoted to these important gems.
  • Garnet by various authors (2008). Vol. 11 of the acclaimed English extraLapis series.

Ivory

Jade

  • Chinese Jade Carving by S. Howard Hansford (1950). The classic work on the subject. Beautifully illustrated.
  • Jade by Roger Keverne (Editor) (1996). The most complete coverage available for this fascinating gem material.
  • Jade for You by John Ng & Edmond Root (Editor) (1984). Now out-of-print, this book is highly sought after as it deals specifically with gem-quality jadeite from Burma.
  • Jade Lore by John A. Goette (1976). Reprint of this classic from 1936.

Opal

Opal is well represented in the gemological literature because the major source is in Australia, an English-speaking country. I recommend buying anything by Lenny Cram. He has issued a number of smaller books, but his multi-volume set, A Journey With Colour, is a must-have.

Pearls

  • Beyond Price: Pearls and Pearl Fishing Origins to the Age of Discoveries by Robin A. Donkin (1998). Nice scholarly view of pearl history, covering the period of time when all were natural.
  • Pearls by Elisabeth Strack (2006). The most comprehensive book on pearls since the Book of the Pearl by Kunz/Stevenson.
  • Pearls by Hubert Bari, David Lam & Katrina Fried (2010). Lavishly illustrated book on pearls.
  • Pearls: A Natural History by Neil H. Landman, Paula M. Mikkelsen, Ridiger Bieler and Bennet Bronson (2001). One of the finest book on pearls published in decades.

Quartz

  • Amethyst: Uncommon Vintage by various authors (2012) Vol. 16 of the acclaimed English extraLapis series.
  • Quartz by various authors (2000). A fine compilation of articles in French describing both corundum and spinel. Now sadly out-of-print. Mineraux et Fossils Hors Serie No. 11.

Spinel

  • Corindon et Spinelles by various authors (2002). A fine compilation of articles in French describing both corundum and spinel. Now sadly out-of-print. Mineraux et Fossils Hors Serie No. 15.
  • Terra Spinel by Vlad Yavorskyy & Richard Hughes (2010). The only book covering this important gem. A visual feast.

Topaz

Tourmaline

Zoisite (including Tanzanite)

  • Merelani, Tanzania by Wendell E. Wilson, John M. Saul, Vincent Pardieu & Richard W. Hughes (2009). By far the finest work on this locality, from which comes all of the world's tanzanite. Highly recommended. The whole issue of the Mineralogical Record.
  • Tanzanite: The True Story by Valerio Zancanella (2004). Although not everything in this book is true, it is a nice treatment of the subject.

 

Gems & jewelry by localities

Again, generally speaking, I buy every single monograph on a locality that I can lay my hands on. Because, once again, they tend to be written by those who specialize in the subject, and so are experts. Below are a number of the locality monographs I can recommend. Yes, many are out-of-print and in high demand. Which should tell you that when you see them, buy them. They tend to disappear quickly and when out-of-print, prices will get crazy.

Afghanistan

Burma (Myanmar)

East Africa

  • Gemstones of East Africa by Peter C. Keller (1992). Beautiful photos and an excellent text make this an important work on gems from Kenya and Tanzania.

India

Madagascar

North America

Pakistan

Russia

Sri Lanka (Ceylon)

  • Die Edelsteine der Insel Ceylon by Eduard G├╝belin (1968). One of the only works that specifiically covers the gems of Sri Lanka. Now out-of-print.

Thailand

 

Buying guides

Fred Ward Gem Book Series

Each is a nice introduction to the subject, featuring terrific photos and reasonably priced.

The Renee Newman Buying Guide Series

Buying guides geared towards the retail customer.

The Antoinette Matlins Gem & Jewelry Buyers' Guides

 

Other titles of interest

The following are numerous books on gems, jewelry and related subjects. I have copies of most in my personal library and have added comments on those I particularly like.

Appraisal & gem business

Color science

Gems & Gemology

Famous Gem Collections

Jewelry

There are thousands of books written on jewelry, so I will not (and cannot) cover that waterfront here. That said, here's a few choice nuggest to whet your whistle.

Lapidary Arts

  • Gem Cutting by John Sinkankas (1984). Like all of John's books, a meticulous and lucid treatment of the subject.

Minerals & Mineralogy

 

Gem-Related Fiction

Gem-Related Fiction from Gerald A. Brown

Other Gem-Related Fiction

  • The Love of Stones by Tobias Hill (2002). Novel based on the jewelry business.
  • The French Blue by Richard W. Wise (2009). Great historical fiction based on the travels of Tavernier. This is really an outstanding read. Highly recommended!

 

 

Can't find what you need? Use this handy search engine to search for books on Amazon.com.

 

Search:
Keywords:
amazon

 

Page updated November 22, 2013

This page is http://www.ruby-sapphire.com/gembooks.htm