Quick Staff Pick: Stoned by Aja Raden

10 Feb


The cover caught my eye: a huge green emerald. The title, Stoned, by Aja Raden, also drew me in. So I signed on for a book about whopping fat jewels, and got a history lesson with a dollop of psychology and an interesting exposition on diamonds, pearls, Faberge eggs, emeralds, watches and their context in history.

While I don’t usually read nonfiction, the writing style was irreverent and the historical background was interesting enough to keep me engaged. I enjoyed the almost snarky style. It was unpendantic yet informative.

The color photos were also beguiling, but I found myself wanting more. I was able to google images of several of the pieces that weren’t included in the book’s photographs. I was also inspired to go on a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to see the  Crown of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception. While not mentioned specifically in the book, it features over 400 emeralds that seem to drip off a golden domed crown, and dance hypnotically when nearby footsteps in the gallery subtly jostle the display case that houses it.  You can see the crown in gallery 357. The Metropolitan Museum also has some Faberge eggs in gallery 555.

If you are interested in jewelry I recommend Raden’s Stoned as a fun and informative read.

-Written by Victoria Turk, Reference Librarian

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