Amulets of Ancient Egypt
by Carol Andrews
University of Texas Press, 1994

One of those small but wonderfully rich books. Andrews, a curator in the British Museum's Department of Egyptian Antiquities, presents a comprehensive overview of the types of Egyptian amulets, their symbolism and protective powers. She also includes a section on the types of stones and materials used to fashion the amulets, and what the stones themselves represented.


Spirit in the Stone: A Handbook of Southwest Indian Animal Carvings and Beliefs
by Mark Bahti
Rio Nuevo Publishers, Tucson Arizona, 1999

This is almost the Native American counterpart to Andrews book. Mark Bahti, a scholar and a second-generation owner of a well-known Tucson Native American Art gallery, offers a compendium of information on Native American fetish carvings, their symbolism and the symbolism of the stones they're carved from.


Amulets and Talismans (originally titled Amulets and Superstitions)
by Sir E.A. Wallis Budge
University Books, New York 1968

A classic. Budge who, among his many titles, was known as Sometime Keeper of the Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities in the British Museum, surveys the use of amulets and talismans from ancient Babylonia through the end of the 19th century. In A Rumor of Gems, Alasdair's amethyst bear amulet was inspired by a line in this book.


Gems and Jewels: Fact and Fable
by Christopher Cavey
Studio Editions Ltd., London 1992

A coffee-table book with filled with solid information and history as well as color photos of many amazing gems. The diamond necklace that Lucinda is given by Kama was inspired by a photo in this book. [See Images.]


An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols
by J.C. Cooper
Thames and Hudson, London, 1978

Amazing how much information is packed into these concise entries. I bought this one years ago at the Jung Society in NYC, and it's been on my desk ever since.


The History of Beads: From 30,000 B.C. to the Present
by Lois Sher Dubin
Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 1987

The definitive book on the subject: beads as adornment, as cultural symbols, as medium of barter and trade, and as ritual talismans. This big, beautiful book seems to leave no corner of the globe unexplored. A sensory delight.


Jade: Stone of Heaven
by Richard Gump
Doubleday & Co., Inc., Garden City, New York 1962

Although there are chapters on the composition, carving, and the buying of jade, this is the best book I've found for the lore of the stone. A wealth of stories and beliefs from China, Burma, and pre-Columbian civilizations.


Gemstones: The Visual Guide to More than 130 Gemstone Varieties
by Cally Hall
Eyewitness Handbooks, Dorling Kindersley, London 1994

A portable and excellent layman's guide to gems, precious and semi-precious.


The Healing Power of Gemstones in Tantra, Ayurveda, and Astrology
by Harish Johari
Destiny Books, Rochester, VT, 1988

Drawing on ancient Sanskrit scriptures, Tantric scholar Harish Johari details the healing properties of gems, as proscribed by the interrelated disciplines of Hindu Tantra, Ayurvedic medicine, and astrology.


The Natural History of Gems and Decorative Stones
by C.W. King
Bell & Daldy, London, 1867

Another classic of gem lore. King, not only surveyed stone lore but spent a good deal of effort trying to figure out which stones Pliny was actually talking about and how much of that ancient science actually held up in the Victorian era.


Gems in Myth, Legend, and Lore
by Bruce G. Knuth
Jeweler's Press, Thornton, Colorado, 1999

For a combination of mineralogical profiles of the stones and a comprehensive survey of lore, this is one the best books I've come across. Jeweler and gemologist, Knuth even has sections on gems as they appear in Shakespeare's plays and poems.


The Curious Lore of Precious Stones
by George Frederick Kunz
Dover Publications, Inc. New York, 1913, 1938

The grand-daddy of gem lore, Kunz was a geologist, gemologist, and one of the most assiduous collectors of beliefs about stones, jewels, seals, amulets and magical charms. This book was what started me thinking about writing a novel about the powers of stones.


Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend, Volumes I and II
by Maria Leach
Funk & Wagnalls Company, New York, 1950

A treasure trove, indispensable for anyone who loves or lives by myth and folklore.


Love Is in the Earth — A Kaleidoscope of Crystals
by Melody
Earth-Love Publishing House, Wheat-Ridge, Co. 1995

I admit it. When this was first recommended to me, I couldn't believe a book with a title like Love Is in the Earth could be anything but hokey. I was wrong. I now consider Melody to be the Metaphysical Queen of Minerals. No one else has explored the range of minerals and their metaphysical gifts so clearly, thoroughly, and knowledgeably. There's something in her approach to the minerals that is, for lack of a better word, pure. Many who work with stones today consider this the encyclopedia, if not the bible. Melody has since published two supplements to the original book plus a guide to the Laying-On-of-Stones.


The Mystery of the Crystal Skulls: Unlocking the Secrets of Past, Present, and Future
by Chris Morton and Ceri Louise Thomas
Bear & Company, Rochester, VT 1997

Wild and entertaining. There are quite a number of crystal skulls that have now surfaced and a wide range of claims being made about them. Morton and Thomas do a good job of sifting through the history, the science, and the attendant personalities.


An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry
by Harold Newman
Thames and Hudson, London, 1981

My only reservation about this one is that so many of the plates are by necessity black and white; a wonderful reference all the same.


Natural History: Volume X, Books XXXVI-XXXVII
by Pliny
translated by D.E. Eichholz, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1962

During the reign of the emperor Vespasian, Pliny the Elder (A.D. 23–79) was a Roman military administrator of Gaul and Spain, who also happened to write the 37-volume Naturalis Historia which collected the facts of natural history as they were known in his day. The two books above contain a great deal of information on minerals and gems, and remain the source of many of the beliefs about the powers ascribed to stones.


Turquoise: Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences, Volume XII, Part II
by Joseph Ezekiel Pogue
The Rio Grande Press, Inc. New Mexico, 1915, 1974

As the publisher says, "the work contains everything you might want to know about Turquoise but were always afraid to ask." From the geology and varieties of turquoise to the places it's mined to lore that spans Africa, the Middle East, Tibet, South America, and the American Southwest.


Rock Crystal Treasures: From Antiquity to Today
by Sylvie Raulet in collaboration with Alain Boucheron
Vendome Press, New York, 1999

A big, gorgeous coffee-table book about quartz crystal, from ancient Egyptian times to the present, including a chapter on Curiosity Cabinets in the European courts (1400 to 1700). The text is well-researched and intriguing, but it's the photographs that are truly amazing. Many of the pieces came from Boucheron's rock crystal collection; what an eye for beauty he has.


Dictionary of Gemmology
by P.G. Read
2nd edition, Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd, Oxford, 1982, 1994

An excellent reference, whether for crystal systems, the cut of a stone, or ancient or deliberately misleading gem names.


The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Your Life
by Geshe Michael Roach
Doubleday, NY, 2000

Geshe Michael Roach is an American-born teacher and scholar of Tibetan Buddhism. In addition to being a Buddhist lama, he spent 17 years working in New York City's diamond trade. This book is a wonderful hybrid: It begins with a translation of the ancient Diamond Sutra, explains how Roach took those Buddhist principles and applied them to the business of selling diamonds, and then goes one step further offering a model for all contemporary businesses. Roach's approach is both sane and wise; he has a gift for making the complex and abstract seem simple. Beyond that, though, the book provides fascinating insights into the secretive diamond business and the nature of the stone itself.


The Earth, the Temple, and the Gods: Greek Sacred Architecture
by Vincent Scully
Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1962

Scully, a professor of Art History at Yale, studies the Greek temples and their connection to the landscapes in which they were set. This book has had a great influence on my visions of the Source Place.


Mineralogy for Amateurs
by John Sinkankas
Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, et al. 1964

The structure beneath it all.


Dictionary of Ancient Dieties
by Patricia Turner and Charles Russell Coulter
Oxford University Press, New York, et, al., 2000

Just what the title says, a thorough and terrific guide, particularly useful when researching deities who go by more than one name.


Traditional Jewelry of India
by Oppi Untracht
Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York 1997

From the Paleolithic to the present, this book interweaves the cultures of India with its rich history of adornment. Mehndi, flower garlands, animal ornaments, beads of ivory, shell and glass, and the Greater and Lesser Gems and their relations to the Nine Celestial Hindu Dieties ... like Dubin's bead book, this a richly illustrated encyclopedic volume that is endlessly fascinating.


Diamonds and Precious Stones
by Patrick Voillot, Discoveries Series
Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York 1997

A full-color pocket-sized overview of the history of precious stones. Voillot is a French gemologist and a lively raconteur. With wonderful photographs and illustrations, and an index of gem-related documents that includes excerpts from the letters of Marco Polo and 17th-century gem dealer, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, the book is a true bargain; highly recommended.



The Malachite Casket: Tales from the Urals
by Pavel Bazhov, trans. Alan Moray Williams
Hutchinson & Co., Ltd., London
[There is no copyright date on the book]

Tales from the copper mines in the Urals at end of the 19th century, many of which feature the magical Malachite Girl or the Mistress of the Copper Mountain. This contains what may be the original version of the "Silvershod" tale, "Silver Hoof."


Arabian Nights
adapted from Sir Richard F. Burton's Unexpurgated Translation by Jack Zipes
A Signet Classic, published by The Penguin Group, New York 1991

Zipes's modern translation restores the rich sensuality of Sir Richard Burton's unexpurgated translation of the original Arabic.


The Orange Fairy Book
by Andrew Lang
Dover Publications, New York 1906 and 1968

And the Blue and the Red and all the others in the classic and enchanting collection.


The Golden Book of Fairy Tales
translated by Marie Ponsot; illustrated by Adrienne Segur
Simon and Schuster, New York, 1958

My aunt Dolly gave me this book when I was eight years old, and I've never gotten over it. The source of magic in my life. The story of "Silvershod" which I adapted and expanded on in A Rumor of Gems came from this book.


The Diamond Tree: Jewish Tales from Around the World
Selected and Retold by Howard Schwartz and Barbara Rush
HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1991

One of Schwartz's books for children, fifteen stories simply and beautifully re-told.


Miriam's Tambourine: Jewish Folktales from Around the World
Selected and Retold by Howard Schwartz
Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1988

One of Schwartz's adult collections which, I confess, I prefer. A scholar and a poet, Schwartz is at the full range of his power here. There are a number of stories in this collection that deal with gems but my favorite is "The Palace Beneath the Sea" about the tzohar, the legendary stone that contained the last bit of the primordial light.


Pakistanti Folk Tales: Toontoony Pie and Other Stories
by Ashraf Siddiqui and Marilyn Lerch
Hippocrene Books, Inc., New York , 1998

"The Ruby Prince" in this book is a delight of a gem story.



The Moonstone
by Wilkie Collins
Dover Publications, New York, 1868, 2002

The moonstone of the title is not a moonstone at all but a yellow diamond stolen from an Indian temple and given to an innocent young woman as an act of revenge. Although slow-moving by the standards of contemporary thrillers, Collins's Victorian detective story, which, may or may not be an indictment of British colonialism, is a classic example of the legends of cursed gems.


Seizing Amber
by Jonathan Harris
Sourcebooks Landmark, Naperville 2001

A contemporary thriller based on the premise that the legendary Amber Room — created in the early 1700s for Frederick of Prussia, traded to Peter the Great in exchange for 1,200 giants, and mysteriously disposed of when the Nazis marched on Leningrad during WWII — has surfaced. If you're at all intrigued by the Amber Room — what it looked like and what might have happened to it — this novel is worth reading.


Jewelry Talks: A Novel Thesis
by Richard Klein
Pantheon Books, New York 2001

I don't even know where to start with this one — erudite, funny, and a pure delight for those of us addicted to jewelry — this book almost defies categorization. It is a novel and a thesis and a string of obsessive ruminations, blending literary research and plenty of wicked gossip on legendary jewels and their famous owners, among them Coco Channel, Wallis Simpson, Princess Di, and Elizabeth Taylor. But it's the narrator's meditations on jewelry that charm. Where else do you find sentences like: "Whenever you wear jewelry you are telling the world you have something to hide — a mystery whose shadows lie deep in your heart. It's a bold way of keeping a secret" or "Pliny tells us that Roman women fashioned wearing two or three pearl drops hung from the ear, which rattled gently as they moved their head, and hence were called crotalia, the Latin word for rattle-snake. To hear a lulling rattle in the ear is a way of dancing to your own beat."


Stones of the Sky
by Pablo Neruda, translated by James Nolan
Copper Canyon Press, Port Townsend, 1987

In my humble opinion, no one has ever written more beautifully about stones or gotten closer to the heart and mystery of them. See also Neruda's The Stones of Chile, translated by Dennis Maloney and published by White Pine Press.