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Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World

Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World

Written by Aja Raden

Narrated by Justine Eyre


Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World

Written by Aja Raden

Narrated by Justine Eyre

ratings:
4.5/5 (12 ratings)
Length:
10 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 16, 2016
ISBN:
9781515973164
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

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, glamour 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.
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 16, 2016
ISBN:
9781515973164
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Aja Raden studied ancient history and physics at the University of Chicago and, during that time, worked as the head of the auction division at famed House of Kahn Estate Jewelers. For more than seven years, she worked as a senior designer for Los Angeles–based fine jewelry company Tacori. Raden is an experienced jeweler and a trained scientist. She lives in Beverly Hills, California.


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Reviews

What people think about Stoned

4.3
12 ratings / 5 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    this was a remarkably fun book! So much history in jewelry.
  • (4/5)
    Written in a witty and easy to read manner and imparting some very interesting history and facts, this is the type of nonfiction book I love to read. Starting with the use of glass beads by the Dutch to buy what is now known as Manhattan, through Tudor history and Queen Elizabeth's love of pearls, through the infamous necklace that started the downfall of the French monarchy to the Faberge eggs of the Tzarina Alexandria and the Bolsheviks. One of the parts I will not forget is the part on diamonds, the DeBeers monopoly and how it came to fruition, a monopoly that still holds true in current days. Diamonds are a girl's best friend, a motto coined by the advertising firm hired by DeBeers to ensure that diamond rings were a must for every newly engaged woman. What a snow job they did on the public and we bought it and still do. All out lackluster Republican candidates in the USA should run out and hire this firm. Thankfully, I myself have never liked diamonds being an opal and garnet type of gal. Anyway many interesting factoids in this well researched books. Well done.
  • (3/5)
    The author is a gifted writer and gives a superb history of gems and the human desire for them. I found that I was not so interested in a lot of it so, after the first of 3 sections, I selectively read chapters. But i do think it's a terrific book.
  • (3/5)
    Stoned covers a few examples of shiny rocks and why we love them so. It's written in an easy, breezy style, like you're sitting with the author for drinks and listening to her talk about the latest gossip. Sometimes that casual tone clashes with the material being discussed. I also could have done without the casual misogyny against certain royal women being discussed, but that seems to be standard.
  • (3/5)
    Fun, breezy, occasionally overreaches (as when it attempts to explain, in just one page, why communism will never work), but generally entertaining.