Brilliance and Fire: A Biography of Diamonds by Rachelle Bergstein

By Rachelle Bergstein

From the writer of Women from the Ankle Down comes a full of life cultural biography of diamonds, which explores our society’s obsession with the world’s so much terrific gemstone and the real-world characters who lead them to shine.

“A diamond is forever.” Who between us doesn’t realize this word and, with it, the fascination that those glossy gem stones carry in our collective mind's eye as symbols of royalty, stars, and everlasting love? yet who gave us this catchphrase? the place do those gems and their colourful legacies originate? How did they turn into our culture’s image of engagement and marriage? Why have they retained their coveted prestige in the course of the centuries?

Rachelle Bergstein’s cultural biography of the diamond illuminates the engaging, frequently magnificent tale of our society’s enduring obsession with the toughest gemstone—and the folk who've labored tirelessly to make sure its persisted attract. From the South African mines the place such a lot diamonds were sourced because the overdue Eighteen Nineties to the firms who've fought to monopolize them; from the celebs who've dazzled in them to the folks backstage who've rigorously crafted our figuring out in their value—Brilliance and fireplace offers a glittering background of the world’s so much coveted gemstone and its maximum champions and such a lot colourful enthusiasts.

Brilliance and Fire is illustrated with sixteen pages of colour photographs.

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The teenager suffered setbacks from his congenitally weak lungs and heart, and his quixotic temperament didn’t serve him well when it came time to distinguish himself as a budding academic. His grades were inconsistent, and his father couldn’t afford four years at Oxford anyway. So Cecil Rhodes finished high school and saw his future blunted. His parents encouraged him to pursue a religious vocation, but he couldn’t muster any real enthusiasm for the church. Then, his older brother Herbert wrote.

A sign of the increasing self-indulgence of the rich? Or a full-fledged abomination? For weeks, as would-be guests visited their dressmakers and pulled dusty family heirlooms from their safes, the rest of the city—and the world—waited for the who’s who of New York to alight from their carriages on Fifth Avenue and make their debut as the new American gentry. The country was in the throes of a terrible depression. Given the dismal state of things, one local preacher, the Reverend Dr. William Rainsford, had gone so far as to counsel his largely well-off parishioners at St.

Once inside, they were whisked into dressing rooms, where hired professionals fixed any errant hairs or lopsided headpieces resulting from wintertime travel in drafty open carriages. Gathering in the smoking chamber, the men compared swords and chuckled nervously about their short pants and tights—an immodest-seeming style that had gone out of fashion by 1897 but, in the interest of authenticity, was making a gallant return for one night only. Slowly, guests were escorted into the reception room, where Mr.

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