asterism - Gems with a star
The luminous star-like shape that many gemstones exhibit has fascinated people for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Now, a comprehensive book on the subject has been written by German gemologist and asterism expert, Martin P. Steinbach.
Book Review by Cynthia Unninayar
To say that this extremely impressive oeuvre has been a labor of love would be a great understatement; it is more a life’s work. Taking nearly thirty years to complete, ASTERISM brings together, in one important and very weighty volume (literally at 4.1 kg and nearly 900 pages), all the glowing aspects of these dazzling gemstones, including hundreds of dazzling photos and illustrations.
“In the beginning, the plan was to write a book simply about asterism,” confides Steinbach. “During the many years of the writing process, however, the book grew to include more information on the provenance of these gems in addition to their scientific and gemological properties. And, we added more of the world’s most important gems and their major mining areas as well as lots of interesting stories about these mythical jewels.”
Steinbach’s love affair with gems in general and star gems in particular dates back to 1982 when he traveled to Bangkok and took a gemology course at AIGS. After graduation, he returned to his home country of Germany and moved to Idar-Oberstein, the gem capital of the nation. Over the years, Steinbach traveled to more than forty countries buying, selling and collecting gems.
In ASTERISM, the author starts with a description of star gems throughout history, from the Ancient World to the Mysterious Middle Ages, right up to the present day. He details research on star gems by some of the world’s greatest experts in the field beginning centuries ago.
Some of the planet’s most intriguing and spectacular star sapphires and rubies, among other gems are featured in the second chapter, among them the Star of Ceylon, Star of Asia, Star of Bombay, Rosser Reeves Ruby, Star of India, Black Star of Queensland, and many, more.
A noteworthy section also illustrates engravings on star gems that depict a number of U.S. presidents and celebrities and the stories surrounding them.
Beauty aside, Steinbach delves into the scientific and gemological aspects of the causes and properties of the asterism phenomenon as well as the geology, history and occurrences of star gems. He defines epiasterism and diasterism and talks about the role of inclusions in various types of gems and how they are formed.
And, because of their beauty, star gems have not escaped those who create the gems synthetically. The author explains the various treatments and what to look for when purchasing a star stone, as well as the many imitations that are on the market.
Finally, Steinbach describes Dream Stars that include unusual numbers of rays as well as multiple stars and trapiche stars in gems such as aquamarine, morganite, spinel, tourmaline, garnet, cordierite, quartz, amethyst, peridot and others.
ASTERISM is the ultimate reference book for aficionados of star gems and experts alike. The illustrations are spectacular; the histories and stories are fascinating; and the scientific explanations are rigorous, but clearly understandable. And, one thing is sure… In this enormous and incredible undertaking, the stars are always shining. (www.star-sapphires.com)
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel: +49-6781-509942 Website: www.star-sapphires.com
Price: $199 normal edition, $399 gold-embossed, leather-bound edition
Pages: 898; Weight: 4.1 kg; ISBN: 978-3-00-050494-5