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RUBY, SAPPHIRE AND SPINEL: AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL, TEXTUAL AND CULTURAL STUDY. Derek J. Content. Brepols Publishers, Turnhout, 2016. Two volumes. 480 pp. ISBN 9782503568089 In English.
Publisher's description: Until about two hundred years ago, no gemological distinction was made between ruby and spinel. Red spinel and red ruby are not infrequently found together and though gem cutters and engravers noticed and commented on the difference in hardness, the assumption was that spinel was simply an unripe version of ruby. Additionally, ruby and sapphire are both versions of the mineral corundum, distinguished only by color and minute traces of the metal oxides that caused these different colors. Sapphires may be pink, yellow, and green as well as blue, while rubies come in many shades of red which, inevitably causes confusion as one person's pale red ruby is another's pink sapphire--there are no absolutes. Consequently, the nomenclature is confused, both within early texts, and also in later translations of those texts. The ancient authors could only report on the basis of the information available to them at the time, while those writing the later translations were fine textual scholars or epigraphers, but not infrequently poor gemologists, not familiar with the mineralogical distinctions between the gems. It has often been difficult to get an overarching view of the many different factors that all played a part in the spread of precious gems and of the dissemination of knowledge about them.
Indexing: Unspecified
Plans: 73
Worldwide Number: 172137
Hardcover $195.00    

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