Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World

Image of Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World
Release Date: 
November 30, 2015
Reviewed by: 

Without question Stoned is a book that can be absorbed or appreciated on many different levels. Aja Raden offers a book infused with sociology, psychology, gemology, geology, economics, anthropology, politics, gossip, and history—and that’s just to name a few of the book’s approaches.

The general tone of Stoned is quite conversational, to the point of being a bit too flip and cheeky.

Raden might be classified as queen of the tangent, and there are so many and so many side stories that at times the reader might forget the intended subject matter. To say the reader will be informed historically is an understatement as the book is exhaustively researched with all sorts of gossipy stories and facts that surround each sub topic, which is not always a particular stone but often a piece of jewelry. In essence there are these tales that take the reader so far afield of the subject that the reader might think he is reading some wise ass retelling of history. The book is interesting without question, it is just a bit too over the top in its sort of valley girl teen language.

Raden speaks of the Hope diamond with all its tales and stories but does not refer to it as such, and then discusses the Peregrina pearl as well as various emeralds and diamonds. But how do Faberge eggs get classified as stones? Odd also: There are no illustrations or photographs to accompany the text.

Stoned is an odd book that can be classified in many genres, but one thing for sure is that if you are looking for a dry, detailed telling of the history and provenance of these “stones” you’d best move on.