By Rachelle Bergstein

From the writer of Women from the Ankle Down comes a full of life cultural biography of diamonds, which explores our society’s obsession with the world’s such a lot remarkable gemstone and the real-world characters who cause them to shine.

“A diamond is forever.” Who between us doesn’t realize this word and, with it, the fascination that those glossy gem stones carry in our collective mind's eye as symbols of royalty, stars, and everlasting love? yet who gave us this catchphrase? the place do those gems and their colourful legacies originate? How did they develop into our culture’s image of engagement and marriage? Why have they retained their coveted prestige in the course of the centuries?

Rachelle Bergstein’s cultural biography of the diamond illuminates the attractive, frequently astonishing tale of our society’s enduring obsession with the toughest gemstone—and the folks who've labored tirelessly to make sure its persevered attract. From the South African mines the place so much diamonds were sourced because the past due Eighteen Nineties to the corporations who've fought to monopolize them; from the celebs who've dazzled in them to the folk backstage who've rigorously crafted our realizing in their value—Brilliance and hearth offers a glittering historical past of the world’s so much coveted gemstone and its maximum champions and such a lot colourful enthusiasts.

Brilliance and Fire is illustrated with sixteen pages of colour photographs.

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Additional resources for Brilliance and Fire: A Biography of Diamonds

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And Mrs. Bradley Martin sat poised on a dais to greet them, and then finally toward the grand ballroom: a stunning, high-ceilinged expanse of coppery greens and reds, accented with portraiture, hidden balconies, and Corinthian columns. The orchestra played Liszt, Franck, and Wagner, and behind the scenes, cooks hastened to prepare a lavish meal. After the quadrilles—by then, an already old-fashioned folk dance performed by four honored couples at a time—supper was served at midnight, a mix of hot and cold dishes including oysters, chicken with truffles, foie gras, beef jardinière, and ham, followed by dessert.

Guybon Atherstone. Atherstone proclaims Van Niekerk’s klip a diamond, and the next day, the town is buzzing. After that, the diamond eventually finds its way to Garrard—the crown jewelers—in London, where it’s confirmed to be the genuine article. Still, experts roll their eyes at the possibility of any more where it came from. In all of time, significant stores of diamonds have been found only in India and Brazil and this—the Cape Diamond, as Garrard christens it, later known as the Eureka Diamond—is likely no more than a gag, put on by someone with a financial stake in South Africa who planted the gem in order to attract widespread attention.

But even with a substantial financial stake in the diamond fields, the farm owners were often displeased with the unexpected turn their lives had taken, as if a biblical plague of brutish, dirty explorers had been sent to South Africa to uproot their quiet lives. Not only was their land crumbling underneath them, but the Boer temperament—sturdy, contemplative—didn’t mix well with the kind of people who were inclined to leave everything behind in the pursuit of outrageous fortune. They were criminals, deserters, runaways; the town of Kimberley was a veritable Sodom and Gomorrah.

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