A dazzling visual guide to precious and semiprecious stones, organic gems, and precious metals that showcases beautiful, specially commissioned images as well as science, natural history, mythology, and true stories of adventure and discovery.
From diamonds and sapphires to emeralds and obsidian, Gem profiles all the key gemstones and other precious materials. Its stunning images show the jewels in their different cuts, colors, and uses. See the exquisite jewelry pieces of royalty around the world, high-society women, and Native American traditions. Visit the Russian Amber Room, study the details of a Faberg egg, and find out what characteristics are needed for a record-breaking gem.
The stories, myths, and legends that surround the most celebrated gems and jewel-laden artifacts from around the world are revealed, from their journeys in the company of royalty, film stars, and thieves to the curse of the Hope Diamond. Follow the history of the world's most famous jewelry houses and their designers, including Cartier, Harry Winston, Tiffany & Co., and more.
For additional information about the world's natural treasures, an 80-page reference section at the back of the book highlights a variety of other rocks and minerals, and a color guide directory groups gems according to their main color.
Created in association with the Smithsonian Institution and featuring a foreword by New York Times-bestselling author Aja Raden, Gem combines lavish photographs with expert knowledge, making it perfect for gift-giving.
When the ancient Greeks saw deposits of giant fossils, they knew they had discovered the battle fields where the gods had vanquished the Titans. When the Chinese discovered buried ivory, they knew they had found dragons' teeth. But as the Age of Reason dawned, monsters and giants gave way to the scientific method. Yet the mystery of these mighty bones remained. How did Enlightenment thinkers overcome centuries of myth and misunderstanding to reconstruct an unknown animal?
The journey to unravel that puzzle begins in the 1690s with the arrival of new type of ivory on the European market bearing the exotic name "mammoth." It ends during the Napoleonic Wars with the first recovery of a frozen mammoth. The path to figuring out the mammoth was traveled by merchants, diplomats, missionaries, cranky doctors, collectors of natural wonders, Swedish POWs, Peter the Great, Ben Franklin, the inventor of hot chocolate, and even one pirate.
McKay brings together dozens of original documents and illustrations, some ignored for centuries, to show how this odd assortment of characters solved the mystery of the mammoth and, in doing so, created the science of paleontology.
"Compulsivo, convincente y autoritario. Una importante adici n a nuestro entendimiento de aniguas cat strofes y su impacto en la consciencia humana. Esencial lectura para el prehitoriador altrnativo."
ANDREW COLLINS, autor de Gateway to Atlantis and From the Ashes of Angels (La Entrada a la Atl ntida y De las Cenizas de los ngeles)
Matthew Fox, autor de Original Blessing (Bendici n Original) En Catastrofobia, Barbara Hand Clow, autora de libros de gran xito, examina legendarios cataclismos y muestra como, contrario a muchas profec as de fatalidades, de hecho estamos en la c spide de una era de incre ble crecimiento creativo. El reciente descubrimiento de los vestigios de arcaicos pueblos enterrados bajo el Mar Negro, es la m s ltima instancia de evidencia en ascenso de que muchas de "miticas" cat strofes de la historia--la ca da de la Atl ntida, el Diluvio B blico--fueron eventos reales. Barbara Hand Clow muestra que una serie de desatres catacl smicos, causados por una masiva alteraci n en la corteza terrestre de hace 11,500 a os, estremeci al mundo y dej la psique humana colectiva profundamente cicatrizada. Somos una especie herida y este miedo sin procesar, que pas de generaci n, es responsable de nuestreas constantes expectativas de la apocalipsis, del Y2K al famoso final del calendario Maya en el 2012. Catastrofobia revela las insidiosas fuerzas globales, que han usado estos miedos colectivos para controlar a la humanidad por miles de a os. Pero estamos a la mitad de un tremendo cambio en el ciclo precesional de la Tierra de 26,000 a os y existe toda la indicaci n de que los cambios en la consciencia durante los ltimos treinta a os son los comienzos de una colectiva curaci n de estos profundos miedos, presagiando que un tiempo de extraordinaria actividad creativa est al alcance de la mano.
In "Mysteries of Terra Firma," James Lawrence Powell tells an engrossing three-part tale of how we came to understand the ground on which we walk, and how that ground holds the key to the greatest secrets of deep space and time. Naming his profound stories Time, Drift, and Chance, he tells of the three twentieth-century revolutions in thought that created the amazing science of Earth -- and of all planets to the edge of the universe.
The riddle that drove the first revolution is obvious and yet in 1904 remained impenetrable: how old is Earth? An encounter between the imperious Lord Kelvin and a New Zealand farm-boy-turned-physicist, Ernest Rutherford, set the stage for the solution and launched a golden century of geology. As a result, scientists learned that if the 4.5 billion years of geologic time were compressed into a single twenty-four-hour period, Homo sapiens would have arrived only in the last second. The geological Revolution of Time reveals how long the ground on which we walk has existed, and how briefly we have trod that ground.
In the early twentieth century, German meteorologist and polar explorer Alfred Wegener proposed a counterintuitive, heretical theory: that terra firma is not so firm; instead of being fixed in place, continents drift. In 1926, petroleum geologists convened in New York City to discuss Wegener's radical idea, where it was met with outrage and skepticism: "If we are to believe Wegener's hypothesis we must forget everything which has been learned in the last seventy years and start all over again," one attendee said. Forty years later, a new generation did exactly that. The Revolution of Drift, the second part of Powell's narrative, showedus how the ground on which we walk moves.
Throughout geologic time, meteorites have incessantly bombarded everything in the solar system. Far from serene and predictable, the planets are ruled by random violence on an unimaginable scale. Once a mountain-sized meteorite flew through space, struckthe Earth, killed the dinosaurs and two-thirds of all species, and spared the small hamster-sized creature that happened to be our ancestor. The chance of that happening again is essentially zero. So, the final revolution in Powell's history of a golden century of geology is the Revolution of Chance. Simply put, this revolution in thought has transformed our understanding of how lucky we really are.
If we can learn so much from considering no more than the rocks beneath our feet, what will we learn when we begin walking on other planets? "Mysteries of Terra Firma" is both charming in its storytelling and staggering in its implications. Discovering the ground on which we stand is a fascinating journey into our past -- and our future.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning view of the continent, across the fortieth parallel and down through 4.6 billion yearsTwenty years ago, when John McPhee began his journeys back and forth across the United States, he planned to describe a cross section of North America at about the fortieth parallel and, in the process, come to an understanding not only of the science but of the style of the geologists he traveled with. The structure of the book never changed, but its breadth caused him to complete it in stages, under the overall title Annals of the Former World. Like the terrain it covers, Annals of the Former World tells a multilayered tale, and the reader may choose one of many paths through it. As clearly and succinctly written as it is profoundly informed, this is our finest popular survey of geology and a masterpiece of modern nonfiction. Annals of the Former World is the winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction.
An illustrated, concise reference to the Earth's mountains.
This comprehensive and compact resource begins with an exploration of the powerful geological and other natural forces that create and shape mountains. Environmental sensitivity and unique weather conditions like snow and ice, avalanches and glaciers have lasting effects on mountains, and many diverse societies and economies exist in mountainous regions.
This easy-to-use guidebook features an atlas of the world's major mountain regions that shows topography with detailed descriptions and informative tables of key facts and figures.
Guide to Mountains is an ideal and handy quick-reference book that naturalists, mountain climbers, skiers, hikers, and travelers of all ages will enjoy and find useful.
Smithsonian Handbooks are the most visually appealing guides on the natural world in the book marketplace. Featuring more than 500 full-color illustrations and photographs, along with detailed annotations, Smithsonian Handbooks make identification easy and accurate.
America has more than 250,000 rivers, coursing over more than 3 million miles, connecting the disparate regions of the United States. On a map they can look like the veins, arteries, and capillaries of a continent-wide circulatory system, and in a way they are. Over the course of this nation's history rivers have served as integral trade routes, borders, passageways, sewers, and sinks. Over the years, based on our shifting needs and values, we have harnessed their power with waterwheels and dams, straightened them for ships, drained them with irrigation canals, set them on fire, and even attempted to restore them.
In this fresh and powerful work of environmental history, Martin Doyle tells the epic story of America and its rivers, from the U.S. Constitution's roots in interstate river navigation, the origins of the Army Corps of Engineers, the discovery of gold in 1848, and the construction of the Hoover Dam and the TVA during the New Deal, to the failure of the levees in Hurricane Katrina and the water wars in the west. Along the way, he explores how rivers have often been the source of arguments at the heart of the American experiment--over federalism, sovereignty and property rights, taxation, regulation, conservation, and development.
Through his encounters with experts all over the country--a Mississippi River tugboat captain, an Erie Canal lock operator, a dendrochronologist who can predict the future based on the story trees tell about the past, a western rancher fighting for water rights--Doyle reveals the central role rivers have played in American history--and how vital they are to its future.
From the author of the bestselling The Professor and the Madman comes the fascinating story of William Smith, the orphaned son of an English country blacksmith, who became obsessed with creating the world's first geological map and ultimately became the father of modern geology.In 1793 William Smith, a canal digger, made a startling discovery that was to turn the fledgling science of the history of the earth -- and a central plank of established Christian religion -- on its head. He noticed that the rocks he was excavating were arranged in layers; more important, he could see quite clearly that the fossils found in one layer were very different from those found in another. And out of that realization came an epiphany: that by following the fossils, one could trace layers of rocks as they dipped and rose and fell -- clear across England and, indeed, clear across the world. Determined to publish his profoundly important discovery by creating a map that would display the hidden underside of England, he spent twenty years traveling the length and breadth of the kingdom by stagecoach and on foot, studying rock outcrops and fossils, piecing together the image of this unseen universe.In 1815 he published his epochal and remarkably beautiful hand-painted map, more than eight feet tall and six feet wide. But four years after its triumphant publication, and with his young wife going steadily mad to the point of nymphomania, Smith ended up in debtors' prison, a victim of plagiarism, swindled out of his recognition and his profits. He left London for the north of England and remained homeless for ten long years as he searched for work. It wasn't until 1831, when his employer, a sympathetic nobleman, brought him into contact with the Geological Society of London -- which had earlier denied him a fellowship -- that at last this quiet genius was showered with the honors long overdue him. He was summoned south to receive the society's highest award, and King William IV offered him a lifetime pension.The Map That Changed the World is, at its foundation, a very human tale of endurance and achievement, of one man's dedication in the face of ruin and homelessness. The world's coal and oil industry, its gold mining, its highway systems, and its railroad routes were all derived entirely from the creation of Smith's first map.; and with a keen eye and thoughtful detail, Simon Winchester unfolds the poignant sacrifice behind this world-changing discovery.