- NEW DVD Series – Stone Setting with Bezels
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Daily Wire Tip August 23: Books for Identifying Rocks & Gems
Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
August 23, 2011
Hi, I was wondering what book(s) you would recommend buying to identify rocks and gemstones? Thank you.
-Nikki in Brentwood, California
Hi Nikki, oh my goodness! With so many choices at a variety of prices, I totally understand how difficult this choice can be. My personal research library includes no less than 63 books devoted just to these subjects (and several have been out of print for years!). Some of these volumes I have two copies of, one for the studio and one to take into the field with me.
Good books to throw in a backpack and take into the field with you are two, inexpensive, small paperbacks in the "Golden Nature Guide" series: "Rocks and Minerals" and "Fossils". (When you are beginning to rock hunt in a new area, it is also smart to have copies of their "Snake" and "Venomous Animals" handy.) If you are interested in finding locations to hunt rocks, their "Geology" book is a great beginners’ book that will have you looking out your car windows very differently!
One of my favorite books for helping to identify gemstones that have already been cut is Simon & Schuster’s Guide to Gems and Precious Stones, by Curzio Cipriani and Alessandro Borelli (ISBN 0-671-60430-9) and Minerals of the World by Walter Schumann (ISBN: 0-8069-8570-4) has great "normal" photos of rocks and minerals (rather than images taken by a microscope) that can help you with identifying rocks. One of the books I often use as a reference guide when I am writing the Gem Profiles we feature every Friday is The Audubon Society Field Guide to North America Rocks and Minerals, (Charles W. Chesterman and Kurt E. Lowe, ISBN 0-394-50269-8).
To avoid spending lots of money on books you might think you need, but later find out they aren’t what you wanted, spend an afternoon in a good bookstore and look through their selection. If you want to look for your own specimens, local rock shops will also have good books for your particular area. Several of the online options also provide reviews as well as sample pages of books that you can see before you buy.
How about my fellow wire artists, lapidaries and rockhounds: what are your personal favorites when it comes to rock and gemstone identification books?
Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong
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