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  • Rocks & Minerals
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    $16.32 list($24.95)
    1. Gemstones of the World, Revised
    $13.60 $13.29 list($20.00)
    2. Smithsonian Handbooks Gemstones
    $10.20 $8.89 list($15.00)
    3. Salt: A World History
    $13.57 $12.72 list($19.95)
    4. National Audubon Society Field
    $325.00 $300.72
    5. Dana's New Mineralogy : The System
    $29.00 list($49.50)
    6. Amber
    $102.95 $88.00
    7. Structural Geology of Rocks and
    $3.99 list($24.95)
    8. The Stone of Heaven : Unearthing
    $6.26 $2.49 list($6.95)
    9. Rocks, Gems and Minerals (A Golden
    $10.50 $1.27 list($14.00)
    10. Coal: A Human History
    $215.00
    11. Collector's Book Of Fluorescent
    $13.60 $13.08 list($20.00)
    12. Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks &
    $11.03 $10.90 list($12.98)
    13. Healing Crystals and Gemstones:
    $100.00 $88.50
    14. Introduction to Igneous and Metamorphic
    $273.00 list($390.00)
    15. Encyclopedia of Sediments &
    $13.60 $8.99 list($20.00)
    16. A Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals
    $26.40 $26.00 list($40.00)
    17. Rock and Gem
    $92.95
    18. Carbonate Sedimentology
    $11.87 $7.95 list($16.95)
    19. How to Buy a Diamond: Insider
    $12.21 list($17.95)
    20. Diamond Ring Buying Guide: How

    1. Gemstones of the World, Revised Edition
    by Walter Schumann
    list price: $24.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0806994614
    Catlog: Book (2000-10-01)
    Publisher: Sterling Publishing
    Sales Rank: 23650
    Average Customer Review: 4.93 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    With a million copies in print, here comes an even larger, more up-to-date version of the most complete reference book ever published on the subject. All the gemstones ever discovered are treated in their many variations. More than 1,500 full-color photos showcase each precious and semiprecious stone in all its singular glory--in both its rough natural state and its polished and cut renditions. Each entry offers complete information on a gemstone's formation and structure, physical properties and characteristics, methods of working, cutting, and polishing.Learn about the best known, including amethyst and diamond. Find full treatments of lesser-known gems, from andalusite to vesuvian. A special section is devoted to rocks as precious stones, including alabaster, onyx, obsidian, and fossils. Organic gem materials are also covered, such as coral, ivory, amber, and pearl, plus new on the market stones like charcoite.Everything is covered, including imitations, synthetics, and combined stones. Charts and tables help you identify unknown gemstones and, when you're in the market, how to check for genuineness. This is truly the ultimate one-volume book every hobbyist, jeweler, jewelry maker and rockhound will ever need!

    "Invaluable to rockhounds of all ages."--Science Teacher.

    "One of the 100 outstanding Sci-Tech books of the year."--Library Journal.

    "Anyone interested in minerals and gems will want a copy of this beautifully-illustrated book."--Science Books & Films.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (15)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best compact Gemstone reference book in the world!!!
    A gemologist friend of mine introduced me to this book, and I had to have one. It is the best Gemstone reference book, especially at it's price. It includes color pictures and shows the gem in both the rough and finished state, and includes information on synthetic gemstones. Get this book for a REAL education on Gemstones.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A fantastic book for those interested in gemstones
    This book is a wonderful reference for anyone that has in interest in gemstones or geology. The book has three main parts. The first is an introduction into the terminology that is used in the gemology industry. I found this section to be very inclusive and easy to understand. This section covers everything from the types of crystal structures to cutting techniques and density. This is a great section for those that are new in the world of gemology and would like a more in depth explanation of gemstones.
    The next major section deals with well known gemstones. Every stone you can think of from diamond to emerald is covered in this section. The section is reserved for stones that most everyone has heard of and are readily available at any store. This section is layed out in a field guide type format as opposed to an in depth paragraph discussion. Each stone has a description of its characteristics and colored photos of multiple examples. The photos are beautifully done with several different examples of each stone shown.
    The final section is reserverd form more uncommon gemstones. This section will be sure to surprise you. For example petrified wood is shown as a more uncommon gemstone. Even the most experienced gemologist will learn something new in this section..The pictures and layout of this section are the same as in the previous section.
    I highly recommend this book to people with an interest in geology or gemology. This book is not a book that is best read cover to cover. It is better used as a reference because of its layout and abundance of information. No matter what you use it for you will be fascinated with the information and captivated by the photography. A wonderful book that will keep you entertained for hours.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Most useful of all my gemstone/ jewelry books so far
    For decades I wore only white diamonds (nothing colored of any kind) simply because they went with everything and to me they were the easiest gems for the layperson buyer to become 'intelligent' about. Having recently found an excellent jeweller who's also a goldsmith and graduate gemologist, I'm now venturing into the world of colored gems, including colored diamonds. Very confusing! This book has helped enormously, though. For each gem there's all the usual basic info such as Mohs' scale hardness, along with other stuff that'll make your jeweller sit up and take proper notice of ya! : chemical composition, refractive index, density, fluorescence, double refraction and pleiochroism (if any), and so on and so forth. Not to worry, those are all explained in separate sections. There's also : info on all the colors each particular stone comes in, plus useful pictures ; a section for each stone on which others look similar enough to be confused with it ; sections on various treatments (usually for color enhancement) and on created & artifical stones ; and much much more. Simply packed with useful, well-organized info, very well laid out and easy on the eyes despite being fairly small for a hardbound book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Gem Identification Guide To Gems & Precious Stones
    I do jewelry appraisals and gem identifications and this book has helped me more than any other. It is a MUST for buying and selling (does not list prices). I have worn mine out and have just ordered a new one. I have had it for approximately ten or more years. You will be fascinated even if you are not buying or selling. Peruse it and enjoy!!!
    Katherine Beasley G.G., A.J.P. (GIA)

    5-0 out of 5 stars great little book
    I have learned a lot from this book and find it very beneficial as someone who is new to gemstones. It has great pictures, hardness scales and a lot of valuable information. I would recommend it. ... Read more


    2. Smithsonian Handbooks Gemstones (Smithsonian Handbooks (Paperback))
    by Cally Hall, Harry Taylor
    list price: $20.00
    our price: $13.60
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0789489856
    Catlog: Book (2002-06-01)
    Publisher: Gem Guides Book Company
    Sales Rank: 4733
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    3. Salt: A World History
    by Mark Kurlansky
    list price: $15.00
    our price: $10.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0142001619
    Catlog: Book (2003-01-01)
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 2009
    Average Customer Review: 3.44 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Mark Kurlansky, the bestselling author of Cod and The Basque History of the World, here turns his attention to a common household item with a long and intriguing history: salt. The only rock we eat, salt has shaped civilization from the very beginning, and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of humankind. A substance so valuable it served as currency, salt has influenced the establishment of trade routes and cities, provoked and financed wars, secured empires, and inspired revolutions.Populated by colorful characters and filled with an unending series of fascinating details, Kurlansky's kaleidoscopic history is a supremely entertaining, multi-layered masterpiece. ... Read more

    Reviews (34)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Salt as focus of world history
    The book tells the story of salt throughout world history: how it was made, how it was traded, how it was used, and the effect the salt industry has had on villages, cities, and regions.

    The book starts and ends in China, first describing the brine wells and the advanced drilling techniques the Chinese invented centuries ago. The text then moves to how salt was used in Roman times describing a sauce called garum made from pickled and fermented fish parts. Kurlansky then continues with Mediteranean fish industry. Salt's main use was in preserving fish. The next big change came when cod was found off the coast of Newfoundland. Cod's low fat meant more salt was needed.

    Eventually, the American colonies developed their own salt and cod industries. Kurlansky describes the importance of salt in the American Civil War, how salt works led to the marketing of Tabasco sauce, how canals were dug through New York state to take salt from the Great Lakes to the coast.

    After a quick recounting of how salt was used by Ghandi to spark India's revolution, the book ends back in China and how the salt industry there has moved into the modern age. The old traditional derricks are gone; no one wanted to pay to preserve even the most important ones as historical landmarks.

    Kurlanski gives a good outline of how salt was taxed in various parts of the world. His description of how the salt tax was an important factor in both the French and Indian revolutions deserves special mention.

    As he describes how salt was traded and produced, Kurlanky peppers his narrative (sorry...) with short recipes that illustrate how salt was used in different parts of the world and at different times of our history.

    If you love food and history, you'll love this book. If you love one and only moderately like the other, you'll find the book bogs down a bit.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Taking a love of Salt to its logical extreme
    Salt is one of those things that turned up all over the place in my high school studies. It turned up in chemisty (sodium chloride), in biology (the amount of salt in our bodies and what we do with it), in history and English (check out the root of the word: "salary"). So sure, salt's important. But does it merit its own entire book about its history? Turns out the answer is both yes and no...

    I like these small, focused histories (as you've probably guessed if you've read any of the other reviews I've written). I've read many of them, including another one by Mark Kurlansky, Cod (which I rather enjoyed). So when I ran across Salt, I was certain I wanted to read it. I liked Kurlansky's style, and I already knew that the subject matter would be interesting.

    And it was. In Salt, Kurlansky walks through both the history of salt and the influence of salt on history, presenting a wide and varied picture of one of the [now] most common elements in our modern world. And he does this in the same engaging fashion that he used in Cod; although, with fewer recipes. So why not give it five stars? Well, it has a couple of noticable flaws that tended to detract a bit from the overall presentation.

    The first flaw was in the sheer number of historical snippets that were included. While I'm certain that salt has been important in the broad span of human history, there are a number of these historical anecdotes where he was clearly reaching to demonstrate the influence of salt. Salt may have been involved in these incidents, but it was peripheral at best, and the overall tone sounds too much like cheerleading. Cutting a few of these out would have shortened the book without detracting from the presentation at all.

    The second flaw was the meandering path that he takes through the history of salt. He generally starts early in history, and his discussion moves along roughly as history does as well; however, he has a tendency to wander a bit both forward and backward without effectively tying all of this together. I'd have preferred to either walk straight through history while skipping around the world (effectively comparing the use and influence of salt around the world) or to have taken more time to discuss why we were rewinding (effectively following one thread to its conclusion and then picking up another parallel one). To me it made the presentation a little too choppy.

    There have been other criticisms as well; for example, the chemistry is incorrect in a number of places, but if you're using this as a chemical reference, then you've got serious issues with your ability to library research. Of course, that begs the question of what errors are in there that we didn't catch. And it does tend to be a bit repetitive in parts; although, this could have been used to good effect if historical threads had been followed a bit more completely.

    While I had a few dings on the book, overall I liked it. The fact that I read it end-to-end and enjoyed the last chapter as much as the first is a testament to my general enjoyment of it. It wasn't the best book I read last year, but I'll certainly keep it on my bookshelf. So, back to my original question: does salt merit its own book? Yes, it does, but perhaps in a somewhat shorter form.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book
    This is a gem of a book. It discusses and intertwines the history and importance of salt from prehistoric times until now in the context of the various types of salt, preserving and brining meat, fish and other foods, cooking, cheese making, health, geology, geography, place names, world trade, world history, warfare, art and investments, to name a few topics.

    The descriptions of the role of salt in the American Civil War and the Caribbean islands were fascinating. Then there were the Romans, the Mayans, The Aztecs, the Chinese, the French, the Germans, the English, the Dutch, the Russians, the Scandinavians and others and their involvement with salt.

    The recipes for cooking with salt are aptly chosen from about 4000 years of recorded history and are remarkably similar to those in use today. The colorful view and history of the San Francisco salt ponds from an airplane were always a bit of mystery to me, but no longer. The origin of towns and cities whose name ends in "wich" was enlightening, to say nothing of Salzburg and the many salt mines in the world.

    In short, this book is a grand, well-written, informative and often amusing world panorama of salt filled with a host of pearls of learning. It is hard to put down and makes 449 pages pleasantly fly by, leaving you with a taste for more. If you have ever used salt, you really should read this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth his salt . . .
    It's become a party cliche to comment on our need for the results of combining a poisonous gas [chlorine] and a volatile metal [sodium]. Kurlansky passes quickly over such levity to seriously relate the role of sodium chloride in human society. While at first glance his account may seem overdone, a bit of reflection reveals that something so common in our lives is easily overlooked. Salt is essential to our existence. Our need is so strong and enduring that we tend to take its availability for granted. As a global history, this book is an ambitious attempt to re-introduce us to something we think common and uninteresting. It's immensely successful through Kurlansky's multi-faceted approach. He combines economics, politics, culinary practices, tradition and myth in making his presentation. About the only aspect ignored is the detailed biological one explaining why this compound is so necessary to our existence.

    Because our need for salt is so fundamental, its history encompasses that of humanity. Salt was basic to many economies, Kurlansky notes. It's acted as the basis of exchange between traders, was the target of empire builders and even paid out to soldiers as a form of "salary" - hence the term. Venice, a coastal city tucked away from the main tracks of Mediterranean trade, bloomed into prominence when it discovered it could garner more profit by trading in salt than by manufacturing it. The Venetian empire and later renaissance was founded on the salt trade.

    Empires may be built on salt, but can be felled by misguided policies on its trade and consumption. One element leading to the downfall of the French monarchy was the hated "gabelle", or salt tax, which imposed a heavier burden on farming peasants than it did on the aristocracy. The reputation of tax evasion borne by the French relates to the resentment expressed over the salt tax. A British regulation on salt resulted in similar reaction leading to the breakup up their own Empire. It was a "march to the sea" led by Mahatma Ghandi to collect salt that galvanised resistance to British rule. Over a century after the French Revolution, the British were displaced from India for similar reasons - greed.

    While acknowledging the importance of salt in our lives, Kurlansky notes that determining how much is "too little" or "too much" is elusive. Many people today claim to have "salt-free" diets while remaining ignorant of how much salt is contained in our foods, both naturally and through processing. Yet, as Kurlansky records, salt has appeal beyond just the body's needs. He records numerous commentators from ancient Egypt, China and Rome who express their admiration for salt's flavour-adding qualities. Sauces based on various ingredients mixed with salt permeate the book. He notes that the salt dispenser is a modern innovation, supplementing the use of salt in cooking processes.

    Salt's decline in conserving food, which changed the amount of salt we consume directly, came about due to increased world trade, displacement of rural populations into cities, and, of course, war. "The first blow" displacing salt as a preservative came from a Parisian cook; a man so obscure that his given name remains disputed. Nicolas [Francois?] Appert worked out how to preserve meat by "canning". Adopted by Napoleon's armies, the technique spread rapidly. The technology of the Industrial Revolution led to effective refrigeration. Kurlansky gives an account of Clarence Birdseye's efforts to found what became a major industry.

    Although the topic seems overspecialised, the universal application and long historical view of this book establishes its importance. Kurlansky has successfully met an immense challenge in presenting a wealth of information. That he graces what might have been a dry pedantic exercise with recipes, anecdotes, photographs and maps grants this book wide appeal. He's to be congratulated for his worldly view and comprehensive presentation. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]

    2-0 out of 5 stars Tintinabulation?
    Mr. Kurlansky had a great idea to wrap a world history around the discovery, usage and evolution of salt. There are many fascinating tales around this substance, but unfortunately you can't get away from the fact that you can only read the word "salt" so many times in one sentence or paragraph before you begin to yawn.

    This, I think, leads to a certain desparation by the writer in attempting to find something - anything - to amuse the reader. One great example is a sentence containing the word "tintinabulation" which, if looked at carefully, is totally meaningless and serves only for the author to exercise his ego in being able to say that he used the word in a published sentence.

    Another problem is the easy way that Mr. Kurlansky throws untruths into his story to back up some odd facts .. for example, he says that French is a language that "does not use apostrophes" during a store-naming story. Considering that the apostrophe is liberally used in French (c'est la vie!) these kinds of assertions cast doubt on the rest of the "facts" presented.

    I felt the book was a way for Mr. Kurlansky to attempt to impress us with his perceived worldliness and culinary expertise - to the extent that the book wraps up with a recipe for butter cookies.

    Sorry, don't bother, ego gets in the way of what may have been a good story. ... Read more


    4. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals (Audubon Society Field Guide)
    by Charles Wesley Chesterman
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0394502698
    Catlog: Book (1979-05-12)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 6201
    Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    Perfect for mountain climbers and hikers, this valuable reference covers more rocks and minerals in North America than any other available guide. 794 full-color photographs depict all the important rocks, gems, and minerals -- in many variations of color and crystal form -- and the natural environments in which they occur; written descriptions provide information on field marks, similar rocks and minerals, environment, areas of occurrence, and derivation of names. Includes a guide to mineral collecting and a list of rock-forming minerals ... Read more

    Reviews (7)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Rocks are fun if used properly
    This is a very entertaining and informative book. It includes everything and more on what I need to know about the properties of various rocks.

    As I am a big fan of communal stoning this book proves to be an invaluable resource. There is nothing more embarrassing than choosing the wrong type of rock at a stoning. I unwittingly chose a rock of very brittle consistency during a recent stoning I attended. You can imagine how foolish I looked when my stone merely disintegrated as it bounced off of my intended targets forehead. I still haven't lived that painful episode down, much to the amusement of my fellow stoners. My nickname is "Ole Softie" now.

    Take a lesson from my faux pas; pick up this book before you are made to look the fool.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Rockhound's bible
    This book is a must have for any experienced rockhound. The field guide sorts mineral specimens by color and then further subdivides them by crystal habit. The color plates are nicely photographed and direct the reader to the corresponding pages which contain all the mineralogic characteristics of the specimens. All the information a rockhound could possibly desire, including North American collecting locales is contained within.

    This would not be a suitable book for a beginner in the field as the retrieval of information would not be easily done by a novice. As a long time serious collector, despite the approximately 800 pages, many popular minerals have been omitted.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A good fieldguide for geologists
    This fieldguide is probably one of the best fieldguides out there on rocks and minerals. Being a geology student at Ohio State, I found this book very helpful in the identification of minerals and rocks. It contains an identification key according to hardness and cleavage for minerals, and a key pertaining to rock fabric and hardness for rocks. These keys are integeral to quick identification. One thing I don't like about this book is that the pictures and the text are in two seperate sections. That and the rock section of the book is somewhat lacking. But the main types of rocks are touched upon. However, the book is filled with information, and is very helpful. If you aren't a geologist of sorts, it is somewhat technical, but offers a good glossary of terms, and explains cleavage and other mineral properties well. Overall, an excellent fieldguide for identifying rocks and minerals.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great keys
    I think that the National Audubon Society Field Gude to North American Rocks and Minerals is a great guide for on the field. The visual key gives you great colored pictures to compare the rocks you find. Then, you look at the page number to the right of the name on the visual key, and you compare your rocks to that. I think that this is a great book for beginners and a great book for studying.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not the best out there...
    Most Audubon Field Guides that I have seen have greats amount of detal, as does this one, but a necesssity in identification of rocks and minerals is to be able to see the picture while you read the data to compare what you see, and as this book has them separte, it makes it very difficult to use when you need to reference material quick. A good book for details, though and the pictures ARE pretty, but as a student who really likes minerals, I'd have to say Simon and Schuster is a better book for the field or lab. ... Read more


    5. Dana's New Mineralogy : The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana
    by Richard V.Gaines, H. Catherine W.Skinner, Eugene E.Foord, BrianMason, AbrahamRosenzweig
    list price: $325.00
    our price: $325.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0471193100
    Catlog: Book (1997-10)
    Publisher: Wiley-Interscience
    Sales Rank: 817573
    Average Customer Review: 2.71 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Following in the tradition of the "System of Mineralogy" introduced by Wiley in 1837, this one-of-a-kind reference brings mineralogy into the 21st century. It describes all of the over 3700 recognized mineral species. New features include emphasis on mineral structure, presenting descriptions of all the important species. New specially commissioned structure diagrams describe all the important mineral groups. All homologous species are classified and all polymorphic forms identified. Compact and convenient in one volume, it offers exceptional coverage on where minerals can be found and accurate, up-to-date references. ... Read more

    Reviews (7)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Do yourself a favor - don't buy this book
    I think the Danas would be embarrassed if they lived to see their name on the cover of this book - probably the worst compendium of mineralogical data in the history of science. Here, inaccuracies and errors are the norm rather than exception, and the quality of print and paper are no match even to a circa-1900 missionary's Bible. Sloppy sources like this one do more harm than good by perpetuating errors and introducing new ones, so do yourself a favor and spend your hard-earned $350 on something else.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Long-awaited reference needs work
    As a professional geologist, I use this reference often but I have found numerous errors. An example is that the mineral Pentlandite, an important ore of nickel, is not listed in the index. A German website is compiling an errata list on this book and it is many pages long of spelling, locality, formulae and indices errors. Other complaints are: The information concerning the economic use of the minerals is too sketchy and incomplete; and the page paper is too thin and fragile.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, essential mineral species reference
    I use the book almost daily while working on a large mineral collection. It is up to date and comprehensive with valuable references to localities. The book is fragile with thin pages so must be used with care. It should be published as a CD ROM.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Is the publisher nuts?
    I can't believe that John Wiley & Sons (the publisher) actually tries to sell this book as "compact". It's 1100 pages! The Peterson Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals is a much better "compact" guide. This thing should really be on CD-ROM.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Exhaustive, but FULL OF ERRORS
    This book is a must-have for any mineralogist, but the number of errors is daunting. I can find a minimum of 2 significant (or major) errors per page of text. The errors include spelling of mineral names, errors in chemical formulas, errors in physical properties, errors in locality names, errors in state abbreviations for the USA, omissions in the indices, etc.

    I recommend waiting for the 2nd or 3rd edition to be printed to allow some of the more major errors to be corrected. Also, the pages are of such thin paper that text from the opposite side is readable. This book should actually be sold as a subscription on CD-ROM, with planned updates to implement corrections and additions. ... Read more


    6. Amber
    by David A. Grimaldi
    list price: $49.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0810919664
    Catlog: Book (1996-03-30)
    Publisher: Harry N Abrams
    Sales Rank: 852579
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    This remarkable book explores the unique properties of amber (fossilized tree resin) that have intrigued people the world over. First published for the hugely popular 1996 exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York, this book reveals amber's role in tracing evolutionary history and its use in decorative arts and jewelry. New exhibitions--at the Newark Museum and the soon-to-be-open Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, New York--attest to the continuing fascination with amber in nature and art. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully done, David
    The book has a wonderfully readable text to compliment the beautiful color plates, and David's illustrations of inclusions and the rainforest are impeccable. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand and learn about amber from this work, however, I must say, David, you are a talented genius and I read every word. All my friends are fascinated by the book and the author.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent book for both the expert and browser
    Some of you may be aware of the current amber exhibition at the Natural History Museum in New York. At the same time as the launch of this exhibition David Grimaldi; chairman, associate curator and organiser of this display has authored and published a new book on amber to compliment the show. New books on amber, particularly in English are so rare that I have taken the liberty of reviewing the work here for those who are interested. My credentials are thin for this task. I collect amber and have an extensive collection of pieces with flora and fauna inclusions. I read and collect articles, books and any work on amber I can get my hands on. I have had work published myself in my other existence as a management consultant. So I have some idea of the demands made on writers and authors. However, with your forgiveness I submit this review for your interest; 'tis a meagre a thing, but mine own1. The book, 'Amber - Window to the Past1 is immediately impressive both by its size and rich colour jacket. The cover shot at first sight might be some kind of artistic abstract picture, but is actually a photograph of several insects trapped in a piece Dominican Republic amber, a great attention grabber. The book was printed and bound in Japan and this countries predilection for quality and precision is clearly present in this work. There are 230 illustrations, which include 115 colour plates. Amongst these are some old line drawings and pictures which have been published in other works. These seek to illustrate certain inclusions and methods of amber collection. They help contextualise and place amber in an historical setting and their presence is understandable. The majority of pictures are however entirely new, 95+%. The photography is exemplary. Photographing amber myself I recognise the difficulties and problems one encounters, but here only the best and most lavish illustrations have been used. The pages simply ooze class. The book is principle divided into two sections: Amber in Nature and Amber in Art. The nature section begins by illustrating the origins of amber, how it came into existence, the types of trees which created it and is replete with interesting quotes and diagrams. Having already mentioned the graphical content of this work I will emphasise that nearly every page of text is supported with pictures and drawings which are comprehensible and useful. They helps immensely with understanding some of the processes and concepts dealt with in the work. There are the merest handful of areas where both facing pages are full of text with no graphical content. That in 208 pages is quite a feat. The following chapter covers geographical distribution of amber deposits. A minor exception here is the Isle of Wight amber deposit just off the South coast of the United Kingdom. This is a rich if very small source of some of the most ancient amber in the world and yet other than a few papers published by Dr Edward A. Jarzembowski has received scant to little attention by the academic press. The emphasis in this section is given to the major source deposits of amber, namely the Dominican Republic and the Baltic Coast though other areas are covered such as Mexico, Burmese, Japanese and the Middle East. A marvellous picture on page 58 shows quite literally gigantic 'dunes1 of crude amber being bagged after being extracted from the now defunct Bitterfield mine in Germany. This illustrates better than any list of figures the vast quantities of amber which must have flowed out of this general Baltic region. I have seen a very similar photograph taken of the same scene in the 1995 book 'Stenen som flyter och brinner' authored by Ake Dahlstrom and Leif Brost of the Swedish Amber Museum. This is a book written in Swedish, so it has limited distribution. I am glad that Grimaldi has included this picture here, for those people for whom amber has a special attraction or interest, it is simple awesome, and I use this word carefully. There then follows a rich selection of photographs illustrating the different types of inclusions which can be found within amber. Only the best and rarest are presented here and might give the casual reader the impression that this type of inclusion is present in nearly every other piece of amber ever found. Nothing could be further from the truth. These pieces are only the Creme de la Creme of the amber world. It is only when flicking through these pictures, time and time again and reading where they have come from that one realises the gargantuan task Grimaldi undertook in gathering together so many of these items not only for photography but also for display in the NHM exhibition. As well as the normal photographs in this section there is also a range of electromicrographs. These illustrate the micro preservative qualities of amber rather than the macro aspects which the normal pictures do so well. This leads logically into a section on DNA and its presence within such well preserved inclusions. This latter issue seems to have become a hot topic amongst many journalists, no doubt inspired by Crichton1s Jurassic Park and all the accompanying publicity. What frankly is more interesting I believe are the deductions and insights which can be drawn from the range of inclusions in amber about the ancient forests, their ecological workings, the animals present and the environmental conditions which existed. This too is also addressed in the book with a section on the ancient communities of the amber forests and woodlands. A final chapter in this section addresses amber forgeries and is especially interesting showing the lengths to which some people have gone in creating fake or counterfeit amber pieces with large or rare inclusions. This chapter draws on an earlier article written by Grimaldi et al in the NHM Journal which specifically addresses amber forgeries. This earlier work shows in even greater detail the deviousness of some amber forgers. However, the best photographs have been transferred to the book, with the exception of a Tarantula allegedly found in Dominican amber but which the author was unable to tests for its authenticity. The lack of confirmation one way or the other no doubt accounts for its omission from this volume. The second half of the book looks at Amber in Art. The initial part of this section begins by looking at the uses of amber through the ages starting at the Mesolithic Period. This whole section has a predominantly European slant. Here again are some unique illustrations and diagrams. The famous Hove cup from the Booth Museum in Brighton, United Kingdom is shown. It differs from many I have seen in the way the lighting has been set up to illustrate its translucence and the fine craftsmanship needed to have produced this piece. The text goes into some depth on the histories of amber and gives a broad though not heavily detailed account of its prominence in antiquity. It makes for good light reading without becoming bogged down in too many dates or claustrophobic details. The segment on Medieval and Renaissance amber shows some examples of woodcut prints detailing how amber was obtained in the Baltic but only one 17 century piece of jewellery is actually illustrated. The years leading to the beginning of this century are well structured. Ample information provides a rich description of the uses and the levels to which amber in art aspired during these years. Nothing is present on the contemporary use of amber in art and jewellery and would have been interesting. As DNA in amber has become a focus for many people so too has the 'amber room1, an 18 century concoction of the Prussian and later Russian nobility. In essence this was a room completely covered in amber which mysteriously went missing during the second world war. Russian craftsmen are now in the slow and laborious process of re-creating this masterpiece from old photographs and diagrams. Some of the first pictures I have ever seen of their efforts appear in this book and show the amazing level of opulence they have achieved to date. ... Read more


    7. Structural Geology of Rocks and Regions, 2nd Edition
    by George H.Davis, Stephen J.Reynolds
    list price: $102.95
    our price: $102.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0471526215
    Catlog: Book (1996-01-19)
    Publisher: Wiley
    Sales Rank: 265403
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    When author George Davis conceptualized the cover illustration for the first edition of Structural Geology of Rocks and Regions, he wanted to emphasize that the human adventure of learning comes from doing; and that new insight springs from careful, detailed examination of field relationships, viewed at all scales from rocks to regions. He asked illustrator David Fisher to combine four photos into the single painting, you see here. The geologist is enveloped by challenging structural relationships of folded rocks in outcrop; the curvature of back and neck, torqued as eyes and brain move closer and closer to clipboard, is the classic language of geologic mapping. When George Davis and new co-author Steve Reynolds contemplated the cover illustration for the second edition of Structural Geology of Rocks and Regions, they asked: "Who else is in the picture?" Stepping back, and handing David Fisher a couple of additional photos, the scene suddenly changed. The original geologist who had been sitting on the outcrop recording data is now up and walking around, gathering new data. A second geologist has moved into the new foreground, mapping and sketching a system of small-scale imbricate faults. Again, the head is torqued to handle the requirements of fine description and careful mapping. Like so many structural geologists, she seems to thrive on visualization of three-dimensional relationships. ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars great textbook for the student of structural geology
    I took structural geology at the University of Washington spring quarter 1997. Book was excellent and contributed to a reasonably good grade (3.3) for the course. Recommend for students or professors of structural geology ... Read more


    8. The Stone of Heaven : Unearthing the Secret History of Imperial Green Jade
    by Cathy Scott-Clark, Adrian Levy
    list price: $24.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0316525960
    Catlog: Book (2002-01-07)
    Publisher: Little, Brown
    Sales Rank: 395017
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Taking us from the imperial courts of ancient China to a squalid mine in Burma today, THE STONE OF HEAVEN-now in paperback-reveals for the first time the bizarre true story of Imperial Green Jade, one of the rarest stones in the world, more precious than diamonds, coveted for its life-extending powers and its aphrodisiac properties as well as for its astonishing beauty-a stone that has shaped the destiny of nations and changed the lives of all who have worn it. ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent and thorough read
    Levy and Scott-Clark are excellent story tellers, and do they ever have a story to tell. Tracing the history of imperial green jade, or jadeite, they begin in the late 18th century with Chinese emperor Qianlong and 400 rivetting pages later end in present day Myanmar. Along the way the reader is exposed to the unrestrained profligacy of the Chinese emperors and the equally unrestrained ignorance and arrogance of the British colonialists. There is scheming and plots within plots as players in the Chinese dynasties kill their own progeny to ensure a malleable emperor will succeed. The plundering by the British of the old Imperial summer palace is shocking, and the primitive warfare of the Kachin in Burma is horrifying. Levy and Scott-Clark's descriptions put the reader right into the midst of the action: the writing is so effective that you can feel the clinging humidity of the Burmese jungle as 19th century British explorers plod along in search for the mines from whence the jadeite is extracted.

    Also of tremendous interest were the passages about the Dowager Empress Cixi. If all you know about the last emperor Pu Yi is from the wonderful movie "The Last Emperor," this book will help round out some of the events and issues driving the Pu Yi story along that were alluded to in the movie. Besides, the movie's only allusion to Cixi is in the very beginning when the toddler Pu Yi is brought to the Forbidden City. Levy and Scott-Clark reveal to the reader from where Cixi came and how her desire for the jadeite was often at the core of her political machinations.

    And then there are the final chapters that reveal a scenario so horrifying, so shocking that even the surrealistic visions of Francis Ford Coppola in "Apocolypse Now" cannot compare.

    This is definitely the best book I've read so far this year, and probably the best book I've read in the past five years. After reading this book you will not be able to look at another piece of jadeite, no matter how beautiful, and not whince because now you know the stone's infamous history. ... Read more


    9. Rocks, Gems and Minerals (A Golden Guide from St. Martin's Press)
    by Paul R. Shaffer, Herbert S. Zim
    list price: $6.95
    our price: $6.26
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1582381321
    Catlog: Book (2001-04-14)
    Publisher: Golden Guides from St. Martin's Press
    Sales Rank: 49355
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    Book Description

    This handy identification guide to the most common kinds of rocks and minerals offers concise and fascinating information on;
    Physical and chemical properties
    Origins and geologic significance
    Gems and semiprecious stones
    How to find and collect specimens

    Illustrated in full color throughout, this is a gem of a guide for rockhounds and mineral collectors!
    ... Read more

    10. Coal: A Human History
    by Barbara Freese
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $10.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0142000981
    Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
    Publisher: Penguin USA (Paper)
    Sales Rank: 122171
    Average Customer Review: 4.12 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In this remarkable book, Barbara Freese takes us on a rich historical journey that begins hundreds of millions of years ago and spans the globe. Prized as "the best stone in Britain" by Roman invaders who carved jewelry out of it, coal has transformed societies, expanded frontiers, and sparked social movements, and still powers our electric grid. Yet coal’s world-changing power has come at a tremendous price, including centuries of blackening our skies and lungs—and now the dangerous warming of our global climate. Ranging from the "great stinking fogs" of London to the rat-infested coal mines of Pennsylvania, from the impoverished slums of Manchester to the toxic streets of Beijing, Coal is a captivating narrative about an ordinary substance with an extraordinary impact on human civilization. ... Read more

    Reviews (16)

    5-0 out of 5 stars To build a world that no longer needs coal . . . . .
    This is a truly remarkable book.

    In time, and hopefully in the not-too-distant future, Barbara Freese will attain the well-deserved stature that Rachel Carson achieved with "Silent Spring" just 40 years ago -- or Sinclair Lewis a century ago when he exposed the horrors of the meat packing industry.

    As Freese so eloquently illustrates, it's hard to dislike coal. Her history credits coal, plus a variety of lucky accidents, with being the foundation of almost everything we love and hold dear in our industrial-intellectual-materialist modern luxury. The ability of coal to produce energy has been known for thousands of years, but it took many new ways of thinking to unleash the latent power of coal as the fuel of industrialization.

    Freese treads lightly though the history of coal, showing how a unique combination of events and circumstances made it the fuel of choice in England at the time of William Shakespeare was writing and Queen Elizabeth I. The US trailed England until the latter half of the nineteenth century when coal made this country the most powerful nation on earth.

    Given that, it's hard to picture the US giving up King Coal to adopt alternatives. After all, could America give up King George III to adopt a democratic alternative? England, in the 1600s, made the change which led to industrialization; at about the same time, China didn't and plummeted from being the world's most powerful economy into a helpless undemocratic giant by 1800.

    Granted, such decisions don't hinge on the next election - - or the last one. The basic change may take a century; but, Freese argues, unless fundamental changes are made in our source of energy, we face certain disaster. Of course, England, China and every coal-based economy faces similar challenges within the same time frame.

    The problem, as Freese points out, is that dramatic global climate change hinges on a few degrees in temperature. The last Ice Age, some 10,000 years ago, was only 5 degrees Celsius colder than today; and that change occurred within a decade. Within another century, unless energy policies change, global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels could send temperatures up another 5 degrees Celsius and melt the last of the ice caps - - which are already melting.

    One possibility is rising oceans, which drown out coastal regions where most people now live. The other is rising oceans, putting vastly more moisture and carbon dioxide in the air which cuts off sunlight, chilling the planet enough to trigger massive snowstorms that create another Ice Age. Take your pick. That is the future we face if we don't act.

    England, some 400 years ago, faced a similar "energy crisis" due to over-cutting of forests to provide basic energy plus the charcoal needed to smelt iron. Coal was quickly adopted to provide heat, but it took a century to learn how to make coke to smelt iron. The result produced the Industrial Revolution.

    Freese says we must find an alternative . . . . . or else. Carson said as much in "Silent Spring" -- find an alternative to DDT or face the consequences of widespread environmental poisoning. The beauty of America is its ability to overcome such challenges and improve results for everyone.

    She is also wise enough to point out that well-meaning, sincere and sometimes intelligent people will say nothing new needs to be done. A century ago, some even argued that coal smoke was healthier than fresh air because coal smoke, having been through the fire, was not germ-laden as was fresh air.

    Freese is objective enough not to advocate solutions. Instead, she clearly and concisely illustrates the problem. Carson had a simple answer, "Ban DDT." Now, the environmental challenge is vastly different, and more immense. Today, "coal" is the problem, "Ban coal" is not the answer. Instead, we need a better alternative. When that happens, coal will disappear due to competition from a superior product.

    What could be more American?

    Our challenge is to build a world that no longer needs coal, before nature creates a world that doesn't need us.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Well-written and comprehensive
    From the premise that coal is stored solar energy, Barbara Freese examines the role that coal has taken in the development of human history. She manages to lay out the "connections" between the discovery and exploitation of this resourse and the resulting economic, social, and political changes. All this is done in a very readable format.

    The only mild criticism I can assign is that, toward the end of the book, she looks to the future and projects what the ultimate result of all this may be. To be fair, that analysis completes the "history" she sets out to profile, and is obviously the point of the book. However, the projection is not nearly as fascinating as the history.

    When I have loaned this book to friends, my advice has been to read as long as it interests you, and then put it away without guilt. It will be well worth the read, no matter how far you go.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Coaldust
    Freese does a middling job with Coal: A Human History. The first part was well-written, certainly well-researched, and included many interesting facts about coal. The text takes a tangent in the latter half, however. Her critique is really an unsuccessful attempt to explore the effects of coal to contemporary material and cultural history - which is implied in her title. For example, when earlier she shares historical quotes of the sublime quality of coal fogs in urban areas and its modern allure, later she critiques its negative environmental impacts without engaging these earlier anecdotes - there's a troubling disconnect in her analysis between past and present.

    Freese has spliced a valid contemporary environmental critique onto a strong historical look at the effects of our relationship to coal on cultural and industrial development. I should direct my critique at her editors because she is an excellent writer and supports her theses well. I believe readers would be better served with two pieces - a more fully explored environmental history of coal, and a follow-up companion treatise on the contemporary situation.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Coal... a slightly different perspective
    This is a truly insightful and fluid book. The story line is very well written and highly informative. It brings out the history of the black rock and weaves it quite compellingly into the history of modern western civilization. The differentiation between anthracite and bituminous coal serves to illustrate the differences between the East and the Midwest of the US.
    The book takes an odd turn, however, when it turns into political commentary and develops the themes espoused at Kyoto. There is no mention of all of the big coal towns that have sprung up over the last few decdades in the modern American West. Places like Gillette, Kemmerer, Craig or Rock Springs where truly world-class, state-of-the-art technology has come to the fore to mine the rock as economically and sensitively as possible. Similarly, there is no mention of the state-of-the-art rail systems that serve these hubs to bring coal to major metropolitan communities. And to, there is no discussion of new fluidized bed systems designed to burn the pulverized coal as cleanly as possible.
    When I finished the book, I felt somewhat diasappointed that the theme of "A Human History" was truncated after Kyoto. If I had wanted to read a natural resources poli sci book, I would have bought one.
    Nonetheless, the author is to be commended for her first attempt here and this reader looks forward to reading her next work.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Well balanced book
    A very good account of the history of coal, The author explains the basics, the different types of coal and how they are formed, The book progresses onto early societies and their treatment of the "burning stones". As can be expected the major part of the book is about the industrial revolution and the struggle of cities such as London and Pittsburg to maintain a habital city..The coal industry became "King Coal" and became the industrial lifeblood in many countries. A vital industry over which industrial sectors were formed and labor rights were gained. The Final chapters of the book deal with the pollution problems brought on by the burning coal. Two serious points are brought up;
    1) Society can engineer away most of the pollution problems to the point where coal approaches almost perfect combustion. It will result in a much higher cost to utilize coal, and perfect combustion will still leave us with a massive Carbon dioxide output problem. Perhaps accelerating the global warming scenarios
    2)The China question, as a large developing nation China is also heavily dependent on coal as a cheap and readily available energy source, and because of China's scarce resources it applies minimal polution control.
    This combination does not bode well for the future. This reader thought the material was presented in a very professional manner. It was not a "the sky is falling" type of book. It is in fact a good book to obtain a balanced view. It explains how humans have lived with coal in the past and states that societies may have major decisions to make in the future. ... Read more


    11. Collector's Book Of Fluorescent Minerals
    by Manuel Robbins
    list price: $215.00
    our price: $215.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0442275064
    Catlog: Book (1983-11-01)
    Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers
    Sales Rank: 445818
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Early book with lots of easy reading
    Manny's first book on Fluorescent minerals and a great read. Not as technical as his later book, but good stories about the mines and the miners. I am the author of "Collecting Fluorescent Minerals" and I really enjoyed learning from this book. It is expensive because it is out of print, but if you are serious about collecting Fluorescent Minerals, then this should be in your library (along with my book which is due out by June, 2004)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fluorescent Minerals books
    Although quite a bit of information in this expensive book is contained in Manuel Robbins later less expensive book, this is really a book that you should own or at least read. If you are intrigued and excited about collecting fluorescent minerals, this book is extremely easy to read and contains a wealth of information. I especially liked the story about his friend who worked in the Sterling Mine and collected interesting minerals. It put the rarity (although many are not that tough to find an example of) of the NJ fluorescent minerals into perspective. When you look at a piece of Hardystonite or Espirite, you really appreciate that you are looking at something rare and wonderful. The color charts in the book are handy and easy to work with. I am an author of books on antiques and collectibles and would love to write a book to identify fluorescent minerals. There is so much good, easily understandable material in this book that I would have trouble doing better. When the author M. Robbins wrote his next book, his technical buddies must have asked him to include lots of technical information. The second book is more like a graduate school textbook. I am not a geologist. I like to understand what I am reading. I enjoyed this book a great deal. ... Read more


    12. Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & Minerals (Smithsonian Handbooks)
    by Chris Pellant, Helen Pellant, Harry Taylor
    list price: $20.00
    our price: $13.60
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0789491060
    Catlog: Book (2002-09-01)
    Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing
    Sales Rank: 5734
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The Smithsonian Handbook of Rocks and Minerals combines 600 vivid full--color photos with descriptions of more than 500 specimens. This authoritative and systematic photographic approach, with words never separated from pictures, marks a new generation of identification guides. Each entry combines a precise description with annotated photographs to highlight the chief characteristics of the rock or mineral and distinguishing features. Color--coded bands provide a clear, at--a--glance facts for quick reference. In addition, each mineral entry features an illustration showing the crystal system to which the mineral belongs. Designed for beginners and experienced collectors alike, the Smithsonian Handbook of Rocks and Minerals explains what rocks or minerals are, how they are classified, and how to start a collection. To help in the initial stages of rock identification, a clear visual key illustrates the differences between igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks, then guides the reader to the correct rock entry. A concise glossary provides instant understanding of technical and scientific terms ... Read more

    Reviews (10)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great for Identifying Rocks and Minerals!
    When I took Geology in college, I loved the course. I only had one problem. It was very difficult for me to identify rocks and minerals in the field. If I had had this pocket field guide, the course would have been a snap.

    Now, I enjoy taking my children to study outcroppings, and this book will be a great addition to our investigations.

    First, the photographs are stunning. In fact, any temptation I might have had to develop my own samples is set aside by having these wonderful images to use.

    Second, the information is detailed and thorough. There is a lot about the crystalline structure of each mineral, the hardness, and many tests that are specific to that particular mineral. There is a very good section that describes how to apply the hardness tests (I always had trouble memorizing that area for some reason). There is plenty of good safety information for how to use the various acids that can be employed to identify minerals. Everything is nicely summarized so it is easy to find.

    Third, all those subtle distinctions about various kinds of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks that used to puzzle me are very clear here. Whew!

    Fourth, the book has great directions for locating good spots to examine rocks.

    Fifth, you also receive a wonderful description of the equipment you need, and ways to use it safely.

    Whether you think you like rocks or not, you should give this book a try. It will open up a very interesting world full of ways to locate and identify interesting rocks and understand the stories they can tell. As a result, you will have immensely more understanding of the world around you.

    I also suggest that you read up on plate mechanics as well, so that you understand more about how the landscape is formed before erosion takes over. The combined knowledge of these two areas will greatly add to your understanding and appreciation of evolution.

    Get in touch with the physical world around you as foundation knowledge!

    5-0 out of 5 stars GeoNewbie
    I am new to the study of geology and have found this book to be indispensable in identifying rocks and minerals in the field. It even has a few tips at the beginning about how to do tests, and each mineral suggests tests to further aid in identifying them. It has also been a great reference when reading texts about geology. I use it to look up the rocks and minerals mentioned there. Very helpful for later field study. The least I can say is: buy this book, it is EXCELLENT!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars the ultimate reference series
    Rockhounds, Crystal Healers, Students- here it is! The photos & scientific information are "just what the doctor ordered". A perfect addition to a library or guide for a collecting expedition. Also, an EXCELLENT way to see all those stones you keep reading about in texts.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful photography
    Dorling Kindersley's Handbook of Rocks and Minerals is a more systematick approach to identification. Each entry has a sharp color photo, group name, composition, hardness, SG, cleavage, fracture, formation and tests for id. Thes is a nice basic reference book and a good size (8.5"x6") to tote along. A glossery defines technical terms, common in scientific descriptions.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Accurate but quite problematic
    A fascinating work, quite complete with excellent photographs, nature, morphology, and basic geology skills, that is totally despoiled by the fact that it presents no way to identify the samples. Unlike other works which feature hardness scales and allow you to narrow down your search by the streak color, all that is featured in here is the chemical formula of the mineral. What are we to do? Taste the rocks! ... Read more


    13. Healing Crystals and Gemstones: From Amethyst to Zircon
    by Flora Peschek-Bohmer, Gisela Schreiber
    list price: $12.98
    our price: $11.03
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1568524420
    Catlog: Book (2004-11-01)
    Publisher: Konecky & Konecky
    Sales Rank: 38667
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Heal yourself with power of crystals and gemstones. Hundreds of vivid color photographs make it easy to identify and distinguish between different varieties. Listing for over 140 stones tell you which stones to use for particular illnesses, how to use them most effectively and how stones relate to the chakra system and the signs of the zodiac. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very informative book
    This book fell into my hands and I am grateful! The pictures are a big help in identification and suggested uses are very interesting. It is my belief that most health issues do not have a diffinitive cure and that a combination of approaches can work together for the good of all. It can't hurt. The mind is a wonderful tool. Use it as you see fit, to believe or not to believe.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Healing gems
    This hardcover English translation of a German text is profusely illustrated with photographs of gemstones, mostly in their natural state, although some specimens are tumbled or polished. The eponymous focus of the book is on healing. Each alphabetical stone entry includes a succinct description and claims about which diseases it "cures." I do not have any personal experience with gemstone healing to know whether or not these claims are valid, but they are interesting andencourage experimentation. The book is a great reference for its illustrations, and is certainly worth having if you are interesting in alternative forms of healing or are curious about the potential curative properties of gemstones. ... Read more


    14. Introduction to Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology, An
    by John D. Winter
    list price: $100.00
    our price: $100.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0132403420
    Catlog: Book (2001-02-09)
    Publisher: Prentice Hall
    Sales Rank: 124599
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Providing enough background to be rigorous, without being exhaustive, it gives readers good preparation in the techniques of modern petrology; a clear and organized review of the classification, textures, and approach to petrologic study; and then applies these concepts to the real occurrences of the rocks themselves. Requires only a working knowledge of algebra, and makes extensive use of spreadsheets. Includes an accompanying diskette of programs and data files.This book offers unique, comprehensive, up-to-date coverage of both igneous and metamorphic petrology in a single volume and provides the quantitative and technical background required to critically evaluate igneous and metamorphic phenomena. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best resources on this subject!
    As a former student of John Winters, I can honestly say that this book does a terrific job with a subject that can be very complicated! After reading this text (and taking his class!) I came away with a clear understanding of the concepts discussed. And, of course, a little humor here and there helps. The chapters flow well together yet can be read individually, and I plan on keeping this text for future reference. Highly recommended!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great book for all studing geology
    This is a really great book for all students who want to learn sometfing about igneous and metamorphic petrology. Written exeptionally well, with good sence of humor, it covers all the topics related to the formation and evolution of igneous and metamorphic rocks, gives you comprehensive (and comprehensible -- that is also inportant) information about rock types, their classification, textures, structures, rock forming minerals, magmaism, volcanism, metamorphism, their relationships to the tectonic settings and global lithosphere plate motion, etc. It contains so much useful information that can even been used as a handbook for those who work in or study geology, petrology, geochemistry, and geophysics. Reading this book greatly improves your understanding of the subject, so, eventually, you feel you can easily get complicated concepts and ideas, even find beauty in them, and hence enjoy your reading -- the situation which is not usually met for petrology texts.
    I used this book as a textbook when I took a course in petrology last year -- and it was great help for me. And I would like to say thanks to John Winter for his really good work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and useful
    This book is well worth its cost. It is full of information about the many fascinating minerals found on our planet's surface and below. ... Read more


    15. Encyclopedia of Sediments & Sedimentary Rocks (Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences)
    by Gerard V. Middleton, Michaelj. Church, Mario Coniglio, Lawrence A. Hardie, Frederick J. Longstaffe
    list price: $390.00
    our price: $273.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1402008724
    Catlog: Book (2003-07)
    Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers
    Sales Rank: 1077732
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    Book Description

    Sedimentology studies the properties, origins, and historical interpretation of sediments and sedimentary rocks. Such materials are formed by physical, chemical, and biological processes, at temperatures ranging from below freezing to about 150-200 degrees C.

    More than 75% of the earth's land surface is covered by sediments and sedimentary rocks. Near-surface sediments constitute the reservoirs for almost all groundwater, and are vitally important substrates for soils, wetlands, and shallow marine environments, while more deeply buried sediments provide most of the world's reserves of fossil fuels. The study and understanding of sediments and sedimentary rocks is therefore strongly multidisciplinary, and forms part of several academic disciplines (such as geology, geomorphology, stratigraphy, and civil engineering).

    This encyclopedia, which constitutes a wide ranging and authoritative collection of academic articles, covers the sedimentological aspects of sediments and sedimentary rocks. As such the encyclopedia provides a comprehensive, one-volume reference work for students and faculty in universities, and for professionals in geology and allied disciplines (geography, engineering, environmental studies), as well as informed lay readers. ... Read more


    16. A Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals (Peterson Field Guides)
    by Frederick H. Pough
    list price: $20.00
    our price: $13.60
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 039591096X
    Catlog: Book (1998-01-15)
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
    Sales Rank: 42547
    Average Customer Review: 3.67 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The definitive guide to rocks and minerals, completely updated for the fifth edition, includes 385 color photographs showing rocks, minerals, and geologic formations. Hundreds of minerals are described, with details such as geographic formations.Hundreds of minerals are described, with details such as geographic distribution, physical properties, chemical composition, and crystalline structures. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    2-0 out of 5 stars a great handbook but a cheap binding
    This is the definitive handbook for the rockhound. Nicely updated with more and better pictures to help in identification of rocks and minerals. Too bad that Peterson's decided to save a nickel on the binding -- my copy of "Rocks and Minerals" was splitting out within a week.

    I've had other Peterson's Field Guides which were softcover but HARD bound. These are useful handbooks that will last a lifetime.

    If you buy a cheap paperback to read once, the binding isn't of much concern. A "field guide" deserves better.

    The "Cambridge Guide to Minerals Rocks and Fossils" is just about as good, is about the same price, and has sewn in pages.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for serious rock hounds & geology students
    This book is arranged according to the mineral classifications, which is good if you know your minerals. The mineral testing section (flame tests, bead tests, etc.) is not found in very many field guides. As a professional Geologist, I would recommend this to other geologists, not to rock hounds. The National Audubon Society's field guide is better for rock hounds; there are more photos and they are arranged by color. The Audubon's minerals are still by classification, but the testing information is not included.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A classic useful to beginners and experts alike.
    This Field Guide has been, and still is, The classic and useful Field Guide. Despite its title, this is mainly oriented toward minerals. Well organized and interestingly written, this is one of the few mineralogy texts which is both readable for enjoyment, and useful to both the beginner and the expert.

    Part I includes an introduction on the philosophy and adjuncts of the collecting and study of minerals, briefly reviews geology and its rocks, discusses the physical properties of minerals (such as may be used to help distinguish the various species), introduces crystallography, a chemical classification of minerals written for the layman, and finally Tests, Techniques, and Tips, with many useful down-to-earth hints.

    Part II is Mineral Descriptions, each one with name, formula, crystal system, and visual aids in the plates which include both diagrams and photographs. Several headings in each description are in boldface: Environment, Crystal description, Physical properties, Composition, Tests, Distinguishing characteristics, Occurrence, and Interesting Facts.

    Also includes glossary, bibliography, index. Well organized and accurate, this little book has been used by some amateur mineralogists who, although using several more technical books during years of study, still find this one useful. Although another well-known text is the most commonly used one for college mineralogy courses, I have recommended that students also get a copy of the Field Guide. For the amateur exercising a bit of Emersonian self-reliance in the testing of his own specimens, this Field Guide is one of the very few remaining guides including good Tests (which have actually been tried before including them) under each species. Appeals to collectors to first try a few tests on extra material before turning specimens over to others such as over-burdened professionals. Also appeals to study some phase of the subject for ones' own edification and enjoyment, as one will get as much out of it as he or she puts into it. This Field Guide shows you how. ... Read more


    17. Rock and Gem
    by Ronald Louis Bonewitz
    list price: $40.00
    our price: $26.40
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0756609623
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-16)
    Publisher: DK ADULT
    Sales Rank: 195335
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    Book Description

    From glittering gemstones to fascinating minerals and fossils, Rock and Gem is an incredible celebration of the Earth's buried treasures. Including specially commissioned photographs of more than 450 illustrious specimens and information-rich text, this book illustrates each stone¹s unique characteristics and its relationship to humankind through the ages. ... Read more


    18. Carbonate Sedimentology
    by Maurice E. Tucker, V. Paul Wright
    list price: $92.95
    our price: $92.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0632014725
    Catlog: Book (1990-06-01)
    Publisher: Blackwell Science
    Sales Rank: 671033
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    19. How to Buy a Diamond: Insider Secrets for Getting Your Money's Worth (4th Edition)
    by Fred Cuellar
    list price: $16.95
    our price: $11.87
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1402200013
    Catlog: Book (2002-05-01)
    Publisher: Casablanca Press
    Sales Rank: 34501
    Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Buying a diamond can be one of the most important and intimidating purchases you ever make. Whether you're getting engaged or buying for an anniversary, investment or "just because," How to Buy a Diamond will take the pressure and uncertainty out of getting the best diamond for your money.

    Newly revised and completely updated, How to Buy a Diamond is a simple-to-use insider's guide to buying the right diamond at the right price. This valuable resource provides the information you need to understand the terms of the industry, choose a jeweler and get a stone that won't leave you feeling cheated.

    Important sections include:
    Matching your funds with the perfect diamond
    Wholesalers' secret pricing guides (charts the public never gets to see!)
    The four Cs explained: clarity, color, cut and carat size
    Ring styles and settings
    Insuring and caring for your diamond
    Picking the right jeweler, including a Jeweler Questionnaire Sheet
    Jewelers' tricks of the trade

    • How to Buy a Diamond and its national diamond information line are endorsed by the National Bureau of Fraud Prevention in Washington, D.C.

    • Author is the official diamond advisor to The Knot.com on America Online, Weddingpages.com and The Wedding Network END ... Read more

    Reviews (46)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Read this book before buying a diamond!
    Simply put, anyone who is in the market for a diamond, in particular for an engagement ring, must read this book. In about 200 hundred pages Mr. Cuellar explains everything you need to know to get a great stone at a great price. I was so fascinated by the book that I read it in one sitting. After reading the book, I knew more about diamonds than a number of the people who were trying to sell them to me. He exhaustively reviews the 4 C's and talks about tricks of the trade to protect yourself from getting ripped off. A great asset of the book is the price guide that is included. It gives you a good idea of how much you should expect to pay for a diamond of a given size and quality. Mr. Cuellar also provides a phone number so that you can call and talk to one of his associates about a stone that you are interested in. In fact, I got to speak with Mr. Cuellar himself this week about a stone that I just purchased. I thought I was getting a good deal; he said I got a great deal. I owe it all to his book and the fantastic jeweler I was fortunate enough to do business with. Five stars all the way!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Very Informative & Highly Recommended
    I found & read this book along with "Diamond Ring Buying Guide" by Renee Newman. Fred Cuellar really gives you insight on how diamonds are rated "The 4 C's" and gives you suggestions on what to look for based on what type of buyer you are. I found his inside information on what goes on in the diamond buying/selling business very helpful. He also provides you with questions to ask a Jeweler to interview them and see if they are a legitimate company to deal with. I like his no-nonsense approach and recommendations of pricing for different cuts, clarity and color. One thing the book lacked was actual pictures for examples. I found Renee Newman's book "Diamond Ring Buying Guide" was excellent in providing color/B&W picture examples but Fred's book was better laid out in educating the reader. After reading Fred's book and looking at Renee's pictures, I felt very confident in going into a jeweler to look at diamonds. In fact, once I went into a jeweler for the first time and explained in detail what I was looking for, I was treated completely different than the other customer's. The sales rep brought out the manager, and both of them treated me with respect. In fact, make sure you use Fred's example of asking the manager if they would GIA certify the diamonds. This tells you alot about the jeweler you are doing business with.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Life saver
    I am so glad that I found this book. Before reading "How to Buy a Diamond" I was the textbook definition of a diamond novice, I mean I had never even purchased jewelry besides a watch before. After reading the book, I began my search for a jeweler. I used the Jeweler Questionnaire Sheet, found in the book, to help me select a competent jeweler. Once I located a jeweler, the price guide, also found in the book, gave me the reassurance that I was not going to get ripped off. I have read most of the other reviews where people are commenting on how this book does not include color photos of inclusions, blemishes or diamonds. But as I read through the book, I simply used the supplied web-link on page 10 to access www.thediamondguy.com. Using both the website and the book in combination, I was able to view the digital photos of common inclusions and blemishes while reading about them in the book. The website includes numerous photos, articles, a section for readers to get their questions answered and other opportunities to further explore the wonderful world of diamonds. The advice and knowledge I gained for the website and book was the ultimate combination. Through months of painstaking research, I even discovered a bonded jeweler online, www.fullybondeddiamonds.com. Thanks to this book and Fred Cuellar, I proposed the day after Thanksgiving and Jessica said yes. Not a day goes by where she does not get complimented on her ring.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book & Info
    Good and informative. This book has illustrations included; but no "real" pictures. But this book was so good, it did not matter. This book is a good addition, but best complimented with Renee Newman's book, "Diamond Ring Buying Guide: How to Evaluate, Identify and Select Diamonds & Diamond Jewelry (6th edition)". Both books are a must, as I learned a lot from both. Fred Cuellar's book had the price lists where as Renee Newman's did not. They both mentioned "fluorescence", even though both books only covered the subject very slightly. I am still not sure what to look for - Hmm? The book did not mention the Vatche/Lucida X-Prong setting, or the Floating / Tension setting. I had to learn about these on the web on my own. I did however learn about the bezel and half bezel setting, which is what I am going to aim for. Nice to know there's an alternative to the usual prong settings. Another subject that was not mentioned was when calculating the depth; it never mentioned the measurement of the girdle. Without this measurement, one cannot get an accurate number on the depth. I searched throughout the book and could not find this. Another discrepancy is the ideal measurement for a brilliant stone - both books have slightly different numbers when looking at the ratios. All in all, this is a great resource and can help a novice gain some good knowledge in buying a stone. This book is so good I read it twice. I will continue to use this as resource for years to come. The author is colorful and has great wit, which makes his book fun & original- you won't find sterile bland info here. Fred's tips throughout the book are invaluable. I went as far as to buy my own jeweler's loupe!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone even considering making the purchase
    This book is excellent. It does lack in pictures, but the clear and concise way Fred Cuellar explains the 4C's is priceless. I had no idea that Cut was so important and that is one thing that most Jewelry stores will not discuss. I even talked to the resident Gemologist at one "reputable" store that did not have a clue what a Class II cut was. Thank You Fred!! ... Read more


    20. Diamond Ring Buying Guide: How to Evaluate, Identify and Select Diamonds & Diamond Jewelry (6th Edition)
    by Renee Newman
    list price: $17.95
    our price: $12.21
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0929975324
    Catlog: Book (2002-01-01)
    Publisher: International Jewelry Publications
    Sales Rank: 35679
    Average Customer Review: 4.47 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The Recognized Authority on Selecting and Buying Diamond Rings!

    Newman's Diamond Ring Buying Guide has become the standard guide for buyers shopping for diamond rings.Renee Newman, herself, has been recognized frequently as the leading expert on stones and jewelry and her expertise has been used extensively by national bridal magazines and websites, alike.

    Now expanded and updated to reflect new trends in the diamond and jewelry market, the Diamond Ring Buying Guide offers step-by-step instructions on how to evaluate diamonds and settings. With sections on price comparison, fake stones, synthetic diamonds, proper gem care, and selection of gold and platinum settings, this guide will provide consumers with all the information needed to make an educated purchase.

    More full-color photographs and examples of diamond rings showing new cutting styles and diamond clarity are now included. ... Read more

    Reviews (17)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A fabulous resource for the novice buyer!
    It's amazing how Newman makes diamond learning so easy and fun. She outlines what to look for when buying all types of diamonds, and gives clear, concise explanations of all the price factors, not just the 4 C's. Then she illustrates her points with lots of helpful photos. You'll learn things about diamonds from this book that you won't find elsewhere.
    But this book is more than just a top-notch diamond book. It helps you choose the right ring mounting and setting style for your needs. It gives tips on buying custom-made rings and it has information on gold and platinum that I haven't seen elsewhere.
    I've been to a lot of jewelry stores, but none were able to explain diamonds as well as this book. In fact, if you read this book, you'll know more about diamonds than many of the salespeople. You'd be making a big mistake if you bought a diamond without first reading the Diamond Ring Buying Guide. It helped me save a lot of money

    4-0 out of 5 stars The pictures show what others try and explain
    This book is definitely a great resource to have when you're buying a diamond. I picked this up near the end of my search, so I had come to know most of the basic diamond information like acceptable table ranges, clarity and color ranges. The photos were extremely helpful because no other source I have come across provides you with full color close ups and defections of inclusions. What's a knot, feather, facet? What do they look like? Are they bad?

    *Princess Cut*
    I was looking for a princess cut diamond (the square one) and unfortunately this book mostly focuses on rounds. That's important insofar as the acceptable table and depth proportions are slightly different for princess cuts (FYI-get below 80%, around 70% is even better). Don't disregard the dimensions! At first I only judged size by carat weight, but a lot of that weight can sit below the diamond-hence you want a lower depth percentage. For example, a 2.0 carat princess cut that's 7.11 x 7.14 will look bigger than a 2.30 carat that's 6.69 x 7.30. With princess cuts, you also want to be as square as possible-anything with a length to width ratio bigger than 1.04 starts looking rectangular.

    Another thing to keep in mind is the difference in Gemological Certificates. I found out early that an EGL G SI1 is just not the same as a GIA G SI1. Make sure you're comparing apples to apples here. There should never be a $1000 difference in price for the same cut, color and clarity. I found GIA much more consistent and rigid than EGL and eventually just ruled out the EGL certified diamonds. Try it yourself: ask to see the same size, color and clarity in GIA and EGL, 9 times out of 10 the GIA is more colorless and has fewer inclusions.

    ...

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent resource
    The Diamond Ring Buying Guide proved to be a valuable resource and the color photos were very helpful (much more detailed than anything on the Internet). Reading the book and learning about the process of evaluating and buying a diamond made us feel more confident and actually made it a fun experience to look at different diamonds and discuss them with the jeweler. Overall, well worth the money and highly recommended.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good Info
    Good and informative. This book has good "real" pictures included; where as others did not. This book is a good addition, but best complimented by Fred Cuellar's book, "How to Buy a diamond: Insider Secrets for Getting Your Money's Worth". Both books are a must, as I learned a lot from both. They both mentioned "fluorescence", even though both books only covered the subject very slightly. I am still not sure what to look for. The book did not mention the Vatche/Lucida X-Prong setting, or the Floating / Tension setting. I had to learn about these on the web on my own. I did however learn about the bezel and half bezel setting, which is what I am going to aim for. All in all, this is a great resource and can help a novice gain some good knowledge in buying a stone. I went as far as to buy my own jeweler's loupe!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Buy it just for the pictures.
    In my Opinion "How to Buy a Diamond" by Fred Cuellar is a much more educational and useful book than this one but this book is a very short read and has great pictures that I felt gave me something that "How to Buy a Diamond" didn't. If you only have time for one book get Fred's book, if you have time for both then get them both. ... Read more


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