Gems still exert a powerful influence on the modern world, enlightened though it is said to be: once poverty-stricken, Botswana has recently found sudden wealth under the desert sands, where diamonds have been hiding for a hundred million years. In the Congo, Zaire, and Angola, civil war in our times has been inspired partly by mineral riches. And the rivalry of East and West over the African continent is concerned almost entirely with natural resources. This absorbing and often astonishing history of legendary gems is told with style and wit by expert gemmologist Eric Bruton. Amid legends and intrigue are hard facts about gems - classification, valuation and engraving. Prospecting and mining details, plus the inside (and sometimes sordid) stories of how enormous stones were cut and dispersed in great secrecy, make this book a 'must' read for the gemmologist and jeweller.