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Glittering jewels and precious stones, diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires have from time immemorial held a special fascination because of their rarity and beauty. This book examines the techniques involved in mining, cutting and trading in gems - the incredible transformation of precious stones from works of nature to works of art - and the legends associated with such famous stones as the Koh-i-Noor diamond in the British Crown Jewels, the unlucky Hope Diamond and the immense Star of India sapphire. Equally absorbing are the people whose lives have been entwined with famous gems, personalities as diverse as Aztec emperors, Great Mughals, the merchant princes of Florence, European royalty, film stars and duchesses in exile.
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