Book review of "Stoned" by Aja Raden

Image credit: @gem_hunt

A lot has been said and written about Aja Raden’s book. It became a best-seller of and New York Times. Madonna and David Duchovny thanked the author for the fascinating journey into the world of jewelry. But experts and historians scolded her for distortion of facts and her own interpretation of events.

The book’s strong points

Working on the project, Raden did a really great job. She raised a huge layer of history. But the result of it should not be taken as ultimate truth. Was the diamond necklace really the cause of the Great French Revolution? And whether the warlike mood of Elizabeth I in relation to Spain was dictated by the desire of the English queen to take possession of “La Paregrina” pearl? Such statements are nothing more than the author’s point of view. But, by the way, it is very curious and has every right to exist.

The book’s weak spots

The biggest part of the book is devoted to several historical events, the supposed cause of which was jewelry. But precious pieces themselves are not the main characters of the narration. There are a lot of inconsistencies with real actions, both historical and geologically-gemological ones. Sometimes the author is too straightforward, and sometimes she bends the stick when “digging for dirt”.

The final conclusion after reading

Charisma, ease of presentation and disclosure of some little-known facts (for example, that the first diamond engagement ring was intended not for the bride, Mary of Burgundy, but for her father Charles the Bold) rightly rewards the publication with a solid four points out of five.

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