Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Buried Treasure: Travels through the Jewel Box

I have a long list of books on my wish list, but there is one that I really wanted to read. With my birthday gift certificate I purchased Buried Treasure: Travels through the Jewel Box by Victoria Finlay. Victoria Finlay studied social anthropology and worked as a journalist in Hong Kong for eleven years and now lives in England.

This is a delightful book, full of insight, well written and wonderfully interesting. I haven't finished the book yet, but I have read the first three chapters and am more than halfway through chapter four. The first chapter is on Amber, which I know a fair amount having visited the Amber Musuem in the Dominican Republic and own a few pieces myself. Jet is the second chapter and I found this one very imformative not knowing anything about Jet. The third chapter is about Pearl and I thought I knew a fair amount only to discover that there was a lot I didn't know. The fourth chapter is about Opal and I am again learning a lot about how opals are discovered, the quality, how fakes are made and the human element of discovery. For example, I had no idea that opals are both mineral, vegetable and animal. Animal opal is found in the stingers of female mosquitoes!!

Most of the chapters have interesting stories on how the gems are found, where they are found, a bit of the human element and some history too. Plus I really enjoy the quotes she uses to introduce each chapter, including the Preface.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in gems, rocks or minerals or anyone who likes a good read about buried treasure.

I am looking forward to reading Victoria Finlay's first book, Colour: Travels through the Paintbox.