Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Brillinace and Fire: A Biography of Diamonds


Today's post is on Brillinace and Fire: A Biography of Diamonds by Rachelle Bergstein. It is 384 pages long and is published by Harper Collins. The cover is blue with white lines making diamond shapes and cuts. The intended reader is someone interested in the history of diamonds both scientifically and socially. There is no foul language, no sex, and no direct violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book-  A diamond is forever." Who among us doesn’t recognize this phrase and, with it, the fascination that these shiny gemstones hold in our collective imagination as symbols of royalty, stars, and eternal love? But who gave us this catchphrase? Where do these gemstones and their colorful legacies originate? How did they become our culture’s symbol of engagement and marriage? Why have they retained their coveted status throughout the centuries?

Rachelle Bergstein’s cultural biography of the diamond illuminates the enticing, often surprising, story of our society’s enduring obsession with the hardest gemstone—and the people who have worked tirelessly to ensure their continued allure. From the South African mines where most diamonds have been sourced since the late 1890s to the companies who have fought to monopolize them; from the stars who have dazzled in them to the people behind the scenes who have carefully crafted our understanding of their value—Brilliance and Fire offers a glittering history of the world’s most coveted gemstone and its greatest champions and most colorful enthusiasts.

Review- This was an interesting account of the history of jewels and diamonds in particular. Bergstein covers the basic history of diamonds without getting stuck in the details. We move back and forth over the course of history with different diamonds and people. She talks about diamonds in her own family's lives and how diamonds came to be seen as forever. Bergstein explains how diamonds were not the once preferred gems that they are today and about the people who changed that. All this information is given in a well written and easily digested manner. I enjoyed this book and I feel that I have a better idea about the general history of diamonds now.

I give this book Five out of Five stars. I was given this book to review by Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review.