Gem Stones A–Z is Diane Stein’s most recent book (she has more than 30) and it does not start auspiciously. She takes ten pages to warn the reader about all the possible scams and rip offs one may encounter when buying stones, it is a very critical and negative way to begin and will likely frighten away any beginner – not to mention all of the merchants! Most importantly, it takes her ten pages to even bring up the amazing energy and feeling of tapping into the feel of a stone. Moreover Stein spends a lot of time in the introduction discussing her other books, negating the premise that an introduction is designed to draw the reader forward into the book they have in their hands. Self promotion is an acceptable practice but start with an amazing product that the reader already has in their hands.Stein relates some interesting information connecting color, stones and chakras. She also has a couple of very helpful diagrams later in her introduction. Sadly she fails to refer to these charts which would give her readers a wonderful visual cue to the connections she’s trying to make. She is firm (nearly commanding) about dedicating all stones to the “light” and keeping stones clear of all energy. She seems to think stones need cleansing every time they are used, although my experiences have been that when you put your stones down whether on actual earth or on a table, they typically release the energy back to the earth. Additionally not everyone follows her path so this process may not be appropriate for each stone. For instance, if you are using a stone for its protective qualities you don’t necessarily want to clear it of these energies after each use. Building layers in a protective stone adds to its power and strength. Stein is very demanding when it comes to cleansing. She comes across as excessive on a practice which may not suit each stone or person.
Most troubling, her information came from channeling. Stein admits that when she wrote this book she did not have some of the stones on hand. The skeptic in me takes a giant step back from trusting this information. Nothing replaces proper research when presenting this type of book. In my opinion, personal intuition is more trustworthy and reliable than channeled information. Not doing the supporting research shows a lack of connection to stones and professionalism as an author. This lack of basic knowledge shows in her content as well as the descriptions for each stone lack depth and clarity.
While the format is well set up and organized, Stein doesn’t provide pictures of each stone. There are some pictures in the center of the book but she doesn’t provide the visual cue by having pictures for each stone. Regardless of how the information was obtained, Stein’s definitions and associations seem to be off. While she gets some things spot on, it is obvious she lacks experience or connection with the stone and the proper research and background information.
There are many good reference books out there on stones. This one falls far short of the mark.
~review by: Eileen Troemel
Author: Diane Stein
Crossing Press, 2008