Do you want a coffee table book that’s visually stunning AND has useful information? If you answered “Yes!” to that question then GEM: The Definitive Visual Guide is for you. It’s a book about the Smithsonian’s gem collection. As such, it’s nothing short of spectacular. If you don’t have easy access to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., this book is an impressive substitute.

I’m lucky to live close enough to go to the Smithsonian, so you’ll be seeing some of my own pictures of their collection in this blog too.
This book REALLY is the definitive visual guide. It’s got everything. I mean EVERYTHING. The pictures are blow-your-mind fantastic, but instead of being just a pretty picture book, it’s got really useful information in it too, both technical and historical.

There are enough satisfyingly nerdy specifications in it to keep a gemologist turning the pages, but instead of being dry and dull, it’s presented in a strikingly visual way. The book gives you amazing images AND cool fun facts presented in an easy-to-digest format. It’s a great book whether you are a beginner collector or a gemstone dealer. You can spend an amusing five minutes with the book or delve into it for a five hour study session. There’s something in it for everyone.

The book covers every gemstone from the Big Three (Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald)…

…to organic and semiprecious stones.

It has every phenomenal stone in it from August’s semiprecious birthstone, Labradorite…

…to Opal and everything else in between. Do you want to see color change gems? Gems with asterism? Gems with cat’s eyes? Pleochroic gems like Tanzanite and Andalusite? They’re all in the book!

Star Trek fans, do you like minerals that look like crazy, crystal Tribbles? They’re in the book!


Do you want to see particolored Tourmalines having a big party? They’re in the book!

What if you want to read about tiaras? There are some in the book along with crowns and the famous Royals who wore them.

There’s information on gold and silver and other metals used in jewelry through the ages.

Your Significant Other will also find useful information in this book!

There are pages filled with gemstones contained in antique jewelry and modern jewelry alike. You can see something made by Cartier on one page and Verdura on another.

You will gasp at ancient jewelry along with the up and coming designers of today. There are fantasy cut gemstones by modern gem cutters and rough material as it came out of the earth.

It’s all in this one grand book and it needs to be on your coffee table!