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.
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Part I Want: Desire, Delusion, and the Scarcity Effect
1 Keep the Change: The Beads That Bought Manhattan 3
2 Precedents Are Forever: The First Diamond Engagement Ring 33
3 The Color of Money: The Emerald Parrot, and the Making and Unmaking of the Spanish Empire 65
Part II Take: Obsessions, Possessions, and the Mechanics of War
4 The Importance of Being Famous: The Necklace That Started the French Revolution 111
5 Hello, Sailor: How Sibling Rivalry and a Really Big Pearl Shaped the Fate of Nations 163
6 The Old Shell Game: The Golden Eggs That Funded the Soviet Start-up 215
Part III Nave: Industry, Innovation, and the Light at the End of the Tunnel
7 The Boss's String: Pearl Culture, Cultured Pearls, and Japan's Race to Modernity 273
8 Timing Is Everything: World War I and the First Wristwatch 313
Afterword: Valuables 351