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Emerald book cover

Emerald book cover

Zambia’s emerald resources and the spectacular esteem in which they are held worldwide has come to the fore in a new glossy book launched in London recently.

The 318-page hardback coffee-table book, entitled Emerald, features 400 colour illustrations and is billed as the definitive guide to the world’s most valuable precious gemstone.

It is packed with hundreds of examples of fabulous emerald jewellery and tells the story of this fascinating, enduring and magnificent gem. A gem that is 20 times more rare than diamond and which was first discovered more than 5,000 years ago.

Emerald is divided into three sections, and includes a full chapter on the largest emerald mine of all time, which is in Zambia’s Lufwanyama district and owned by Kagem Mining, in a partnership between the Zambian government and London-listed Gemfields.

The chapter is part of the third and final section of the book, in which author and globetrotter Jonathan Self uncovers the secrets of the emerald trade. In addition to visiting Kagem, he visits Cleopatra’s lost emerald mines in the Sahara Desert, interviews gem hunters and jewellers, investigates legends and myths and traces the gemstone’s long and frequently romantic history.

The book begins with a searching and historical piece by Hettie Judah on the power, allure and status conveyed by gemstones.

The second section is a showcase of the finest emerald jewellery, ancient and modern, ever created. The selection of over 200 outstanding pieces – many of which have never been seen by the public before – has been made by jewellery and gemstone expert Joanna Hardy, who explores royal emeralds and the royal beauties, from Cleopatra to Empress Josephine, for whom they meant so much, as well as the extraordinary commissions by grand Maharajas of the nineteenth century and heiresses of the twentieth. Historic creations up to 5,500 years old are seen alongside pieces from Cartier, Boucheron and Bulgari and contemporary designers such as Hemmerle, Leo de Vroomen and Sevan Biçacki.

The book’s author, Joanna Hardy, is an independent gemmologist and jewellery specialist, formerly of Debeers, Philips and Sothebys. She lectures widely and writes for many international magazines and newspapers, and features on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. Hettie Judah is a British author who has written extensively about fashion, art and design in various international publications. Jonathan Self has been passionate about emeralds and their enigma for more than thirty years. He has written for The Times, Country Life and Vanity Fair, and is the author of over a dozen books. Franca Sozzani is editor of Vogue Italia.

The book is published by Thames and Hudson and is priced at £75.00 (around K675).

Below are some links to reviews of the book and media coverage on how the book has been received around the world:

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