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Linda Hilton

Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic

Currently reading

Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America
Nancy MacLean
Progress: 134/574 pages
The Secular Scripture: A Study of the Structure of Romance
Northrop Frye
Progress: 43/200 pages
All the President's Men
Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward
Progress: 73/383 pages
Women's Gothic and Romantic Fiction: A Reference Guide (American Popular Culture)
Kay Mussell
Progress: 17/157 pages
The Looking-Glass Portrait
Linda Hilton
Really Neat Rocks: A casual introduction to the rocks & gems of Arizona and the lapidary arts
Linda Hilton
Progress: 61/61 pages
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
Jon Krakauer

Beautiful Frauds

For those who love beautiful cover art:



Though the book was originally compiled in 1989, the current Kindle edition is an unbelievable $78.44.  I just ordered a used hard-cover copy for $4.37, including shipping AND Arizona sales tax.  This is therefore a preliminary review, but with a purpose.


The gems depicted and discussed in this book are NOT frauds.  Beautiful, yes.  Frauds, not likely.


As many of my followers know, I love rocks almost as much as I love books, and believe it or not, I've loved rocks even longer.  I tried to share some of my love for rocks and gems in my own little book -- which does NOT cost $78.44 or anything close to it -- Really Neat Rocks.


One of the issues I discuss in that little book is frauds.  It's one thing to get suckered into buying a book because it has a pretty cover and then find out the writing is crappy.  Sure, it's disappointing to waste both the time and money on a crummy (but pretty!) book.  It's quite another thing to buy an expensive piece of jewelry only to find out it's not what you thought it was.  You can tell if a book is good or bad (a subjective determination anyway) just by reading it.  Most consumers, however, can't tell if a gem is really a gem or not.  They have to trust the person they're buying it from.


Some of you also know that I've recently started up my little arts-and-crafts business on Etsy.com, where I sell my own hand-crafted jewelry.  I don't deal in diamonds and emeralds, rubies and sapphires, but even so I try to be as careful as I can in describing my gems accurately and honestly.


We've just passed the biggest gift-giving season of the year, but there's another important one coming up.  Valentine's Day has been a traditional time for declarations of love and proposals of marriage.  Those proposals often come with the offering of a ring, and the traditional stone is the diamond.


How shocked would you be, whether as the proposer or the proposee, to learn that the lovely ring offered as the token of undying love and everlasting commitment was not a diamond at all but a sliver of a common beach stone?


I'm not sure exactly why, but I've always felt there was something particularly and innately honest about readers.  (The same does not always hold true for writers.)  Maybe that's why the whole fiverr thing outraged and enraged me.  But even the fiverr shills didn't quite irritate me as much as this:



I won't post a link, but anyone who is really curious can locate the Etsy shop.


The stone in the ring is not a diamond.  The full description of the ring includes the word "quartz" a couple of times, but the implication is still very clear that the stone is a diamond.  A Lake County, California, diamond.  The seller describes it as,

"Lake County Diamonds are mostly clear and very hard, ranking from 7.5 to 8 (and possibly as high as 9) on the Mohs Scale, and like all diamonds, they can cut glass."


The original text, taken from the web page "Fun Facts" about Lake County, is slightly different:

While not equal in hardness to real diamonds (rated 7.5 to 8 compared to a diamond’s 10 rating), Lake County diamonds have been used commercially and are capable of cutting glass.


My copy of Consumer Guide to Colored Gemstones should be here within a week or so.  I'm going to to oooh and aaaahhhh like crazy over the pictures.  I may compare them to the four small Lake County diamonds I was given many years ago by one of my creative writing students.  Or to the jars of Cape May diamonds I picked up off the beach in New Jersey.  Or to the dozen or so Herkimer diamonds I've acquired here and there over the years.  Or to the handful of Payson diamonds in a collection given to me.  But the comparisons will be unfair, because these diamonds aren't real diamonds and shouldn't be expected to compare.


They should instead be valued for what they are: lovely, affordable gems that aren't going to cost anyone half a year's salary and aren't ever going to finance brutal wars.  Quartz gems are good, honest, beautiful stones.  What's not so good is for someone to turn them into frauds.