A beautifully illustrated book jam-packed with information about a myriad of stones. The author has certainly done his homework! Although billed as a pocket guide? Not at all. It's more like a field study. That's not to detract from the useful information, It's just that it's more like information overload. If you're heading out to your local metaphysical shop or gemstone dealer, you probably want to tote along a fairly small booklet to help identify the stones and decide which ones you need. You 'll want to know color, description, cost and which healing properties the stone may have. At this point you just need a guide that gets the job done and isn't too costly. A Ford or a Chevy as compared to a Cadillac or Mercedes.

However this book is all-encompassing. The author provides the stone's description, its scientific formula, the hardness, which crystal system it belongs to, its formation process and several other points. If you're a die-hard rock hound, I'm sure you'll appreciate all that in-depth information but it's really not necessary in a pocket encyclopedia.

Really helpful, and worth the price of the book, especially if you're a neophyte gemstone collector is the glossary section on the scams and misrepresentations, Opalite is artificial glass, Gaia stone is volcanic glass dyed green,. very dark brown smokey quartz has usually been irradiated, sometimes amethyst has been heat-treated to produce either citrine or ametrine. And all too often dyed howlite is passed off as turquoise. The author cautions you to only deal with reputable people.

While I questioned the title, I have no quarrel with this book in general.. As I said, the author did his homework and presents this as a labor of love. He said he was able to photograph specimens in his friends' collections which meansĀ  the stones were top quality. Sometimes the Cadillac version was hard to distinguish from the more everyday version. Sodalite, for instance, had very little white streaking. The malachite/azurite photo was very dark.

In the A's alone, there are 65 varieties but part of that is because if a stone has more than one color variation, each is listed separately. Like green jade, lavender jade,black jade, That's because each color has its own meaning. Even colors are thoroughly explained. This is where the author gets very thorough.The stone is further referenced to a specific chakra and astrological sign. There's so much useful information on each stone.

The book does start at the beginning and gives helpful tips, advising you on selection. cleansing, displaying, charging, programming, etc. There's a part on dispelling myths. And the glossary has a quick reference table, a part on artificial gems and mistaken identities.

Highly recommended on quality of information alone.

~review by Judy Blackstone

Author: Nicholas Pearson
Destiny Books, 2023
288 pp., $19.99

See also: Crystal Basics: The Energetic, Healing & Spiritual Power of 200 Gemstones, by the same author.