Brilliance and Fire: A Biography of Diamonds

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9780062323774: Brilliance and Fire: A Biography of Diamonds

From the author of Women from the Ankle Down comes a lively cultural biography of diamonds, which explores our society’s obsession with the world’s most brilliant gemstone and the real-world characters who make them shine.

“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 its 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.

Brilliance and Fire is illustrated with 16 pages of color photographs.

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From the Back Cover:

“A diamond is forever.”

Who among us doesn’t recognize this slogan and, with it, the fascination that diamonds hold in our collective imagination as emblems of royalty, glamor, and eternal love? Rachelle Bergstein’s cultural biography illuminates the enticing, often surprising story of our society’s enduring obsession with diamonds—and the people who have worked tirelessly to ensure their continued allure.

Whether in the gilded ballrooms of New York City at the end of the nineteenth scentury or on the red carpets of today, diamonds have retained their coveted status throughout history. Along the way, they have also become our culture’s abiding symbol of  true love and marriage (with more than a little help from an advertising agency, hired to accomplish just that).

From the South African mines where most diamonds have been sourced since the late 1890s to the companies that have fought to monopolize them; from the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Kanye West, 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.

Advance Praise for Brilliance and Fire

“Across oceans and centuries, citizens and kings, the diamond has reigned as the lion of jewels. The reasons why, and how, sparkle—with intimate, historical, authoritative detail—all through Bergstein’s sweeping tale of the destructive and restorative powers of beauty, and our love affair, even obsession, with this enigmatic rock.”—Sam Wasson, author of Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.

Praise for Women from the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us

“A fleet-footed social history.”—New York Times

“If style defines the woman, and shoes a woman’s style, then oh la la, here’s the definitive history and guide—everything from Chinese bound feet to Ferragamo, from Hollywood favorites to running up one’s credit card on the sine qua non of fashion.”—Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don’t Get Fat

“A lively look at the history of stilettos, sneakers, and sundry other leather-and rubber-soled objects of swoon. . . . Chatty yet authoritative.”—USA Today

About the Author:

Rachelle Bergstein, the author of Women from the Ankle Down, works at a literary agency in New York. She lives with her husband and their son in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2016. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. From the author of Women from the Ankle Down comes a lively cultural biography of diamonds, which explores our society s obsession with the world s most brilliant gemstone and the real-world characters who make them shine. 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 its 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.Brilliance and Fire is illustrated with 16 pages of color photographs. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780062323774

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