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The Diamond Deception
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A Gem of A Story Online
A Gem of A Story Online is the Web component to a live, interactive, televised field trip to the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The site offers a "virtual tour" through the Smithsonian exhibits, educational activities, online archives, and resources.

American Gem Society
The Web site of The American Gem Society (AGS), like the society itself, offers information to protect consumers interested in purchasing gems. Learn the basics of buying a diamond, starting with the "4-C's." Individual questions can be emailed to AGS representatives via the Martha Stewart Web site (

Molecular Expressions Photo Gallery
This gallery of color photographs taken of precious gems and metals through an optical microscope showcases the beauty of these items' molecular structures.

Professional Gemologist
Read a profile of a gemologist along with descriptions of how some beautiful jewelry pieces were constructed to gain a better understanding of the modern professional world of gems.

Encyclopedia Smithsonian: Hope Diamond
Read the story of the dazzling Hope Diamond, a premier attraction of the Smithsonian Institution since 1957.

Gemstones: An Overview of Production of Specific U.S. Gemstones
The United States Geological Survey offers introductions to gemstones found in the United States. Included are sections on garnets, opals, pearls, sapphires, and turquoise.

National Museum of Natural History: Department of Mineral Sciences
Learn more about the geology of gems at this site, which also includes information on the National Meteorite Collection, and the National Rock and Ore Collection.

Smithsonian Gem and Mineral Collection
View images and read descriptions of several specimens from the Smithsonian's extensive collection.

The Diamond Makers: A Compelling Drama of Scientific Discovery By Robert M. Hazen. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
This highly readable book chronicles the long and checkered history of the pioneers of synthetic diamond-making. The mad Swedish inventor Baltzar von Platen and the irrepressible American scientist George Kennedy are just two of the many brilliant characters whose stories are told here with flair and an eye for eccentricity. See our excerpt, "The Science Behind the Sparkle."

The Nature of Diamonds Edited by George E. Harlow. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Published in association with the American Museum of Natural History, where Harlow is a scientist and curator of gems and minerals, this is a coffee-table-sized yet authoritative book of essays by leading geologists, gemologists, physicists, and others. Beautifully illustrated with photographs and artwork.

Gems: Their Sources, Descriptions, and Identification By Robert Webster. Oxford, U.K.: Butterworth-Heinemann, 1994.
The massive fifth edition of this classic work begins with a description of diamond and moves onto other gems and ways to identify them, including measuring their hardness, optical effects, and specific gravity, among other methods.

Special Thanks
Robert Hazen
Paul Lahti, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Steve Lyons
Dr. Brian Skinner
Cambridge University Press

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The Science Behind the Sparkle | Diamonds in the Sky
A Primer of Gemstones | See Inside a Diamond
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