Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World

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9780062334695: Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

As entertaining as it is incisive, Stoned is a raucous journey through the history of human desire for what is rare, and therefore precious.

What makes a stone a jewel? What makes a jewel priceless? And why do we covet beautiful things? In this brilliant account of how eight jewels shaped the course of history, jeweler and scientist Aja Raden tells an original and often startling story about our unshakeable addiction to beauty and the darker side of human desire.

What moves the world is what moves each of us: desire. Jewelry—which has long served as a stand-in for wealth and power, glamor and success—has birthed cultural movements, launched political dynasties, and started wars. Masterfully weaving together pop science and history, Stoned breaks history into three categories—Want, Take, and Have—and explains what the diamond on your finger has to do with the GI Bill, why green-tinted jewelry has been exalted by so many cultures, why the glass beads that bought Manhattan for the Dutch were initially considered a fair trade, and how the French Revolution started over a coveted necklace.

Studded with lively personalities and fascinating details, Stoned tells the remarkable story of our abiding desire for the rare and extraordinary.

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Review:

An Amazon Best Book of December 2015: Most of us have probably heard the expression “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” — but have we ever asked ourselves why? Yes, they are sparkly and beautiful, but so is cubic zirconia at a fraction of the price. Indestructable? Yet another brilliant ad campaign has been telling us for years that “diamonds are forever.” But, in fact, at around 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit a diamond will literally vanish. So what is it really that makes a diamond, an emerald, a Fabergé egg, or even glass beads so desirable? In Stoned, Aja Raden sifts through the psychology, neuroscience, and mythos behind the human desire for beautiful things and why we treat some objects as more precious (and therefore valuable) than others. Lest you imagine this as some boring academic tome, fear not—Raden’s cheeky attitude and fascinating anecdotes about everything from Holland’s Tulipomania to various jewel-encrusted royal scandals and dazzling legends make Stoned a treasure trove of fun narrative history. --Seira Wilson

From the Back Cover:

What does the diamond on your finger have to do with the GI Bill? Why is green-tinted jewelry exalted by so many cultures? Why were the glass beads that bought Manhattan for the Dutch initially considered a fair trade? And how did a coveted necklace start the French Revolution? In this delightful account of how eight jewels shaped the course of history, jeweler and scientist Aja Raden tells an original and often startling story about why we covet beautiful things and how that desire has transformed the world as we know it.

What moves the world is what moves each of us: desire. Jewelry has long served as a stand-in for wealth and power, glamour and success: It has birthed cultural movements, launched political dynasties, and started wars. With a sharp wit and a light touch, Raden weaves together history, science, and economics to explore our enduring love affair with beautiful things and shows us that, just like their glittering surfaces, jewels have a singular power to reflect our desires back at us and show us who we really are.

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Book Description Ecco Press, United States, 2015. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 234 x 160 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER As entertaining as it is incisive, Stoned is a raucous journey through the history of human desire for what is rare, and therefore precious. What makes a stone a jewel? What makes a jewel priceless? And why do we covet beautiful things? In this brilliant account of how eight jewels shaped the course of history, jeweler and scientist Aja Raden tells an original and often startling story about our unshakeable addiction to beauty and the darker side of human desire. What moves the world is what moves each of us: desire. Jewelry--which has long served as a stand-in for wealth and power, glamor and success--has birthed cultural movements, launched political dynasties, and started wars. Masterfully weaving together pop science and history, Stoned breaks history into three categories--Want, Take, and Have--and explains what the diamond on your finger has to do with the GI Bill, why green-tinted jewelry has been exalted by so many cultures, why the glass beads that bought Manhattan for the Dutch were initially considered a fair trade, and how the French Revolution started over a coveted necklace. Studded with lively personalities and fascinating details, Stoned tells the remarkable story of our abiding desire for the rare and extraordinary. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780062334695

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Book Description Ecco Press, United States, 2015. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 234 x 160 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER As entertaining as it is incisive, Stoned is a raucous journey through the history of human desire for what is rare, and therefore precious. What makes a stone a jewel? What makes a jewel priceless? And why do we covet beautiful things? In this brilliant account of how eight jewels shaped the course of history, jeweler and scientist Aja Raden tells an original and often startling story about our unshakeable addiction to beauty and the darker side of human desire. What moves the world is what moves each of us: desire. Jewelry--which has long served as a stand-in for wealth and power, glamor and success--has birthed cultural movements, launched political dynasties, and started wars. Masterfully weaving together pop science and history, Stoned breaks history into three categories--Want, Take, and Have--and explains what the diamond on your finger has to do with the GI Bill, why green-tinted jewelry has been exalted by so many cultures, why the glass beads that bought Manhattan for the Dutch were initially considered a fair trade, and how the French Revolution started over a coveted necklace. Studded with lively personalities and fascinating details, Stoned tells the remarkable story of our abiding desire for the rare and extraordinary. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780062334695

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