Aja Raden

GEM cover


October 4, 2016
DK in partnership with the
Smithsonian Institute
Hardcover, $50.00
440 pages
ISBN: 978-1-465453-56-3



Aja Raden (Beverly Hills)

Historian, jeweler and author



Stephanie Ridge | 512-481-7681 | stephanie@prbythebook.com | @stephanieridge



  • Experienced jeweler, trained scientist, and well-read historian
  • Expertise sits at the intersection of academic history, industry experience, and scientific perspective
  • Author of the New York Times bestseller Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World (Ecco/Harper Collins, 2015); contributed the foreword for Gem: A Definitive Visual Guide (DK, 2016)
  • Worked as the Head of Auction Division at the famed House of Kahn
  • Former Senior Designer for Los Angeles-based fine jewelry company Tacori
  • Studied ancient history and physics at the University of Chicago


  • Why Aja Raden describes her work as “history’s curio cabinet of forgotten jewels”
  • The wildest gem- or jewel-related facts Raden has come across in her research
  • Stories, myths, and legends surrounding the most celebrated jewel-laden artifacts from around the world
  • The most common misconceptions about jewelry and precious metals
  • Raden’s journey as an author writing about gems and jewelry through a scientific perspective
  • The future of precious rocks, stones, and minerals, i.e. the invention and sophistication of synthetic diamonds


Together with the Smithsonian Institution, DK announces the publication of Gem (October 4, 2016), a truly unique conversation piece for every jewelry lover’s coffee table. At six-pounds, 440-pages, this stunning volume is both a compendium of the world’s natural treasures and a fascinating chronicle of our love affair with precious stones.

“Our need to see and possess glowing, shining jewels is as intrinsic to what we are, as who we are,” says Aja Raden, experienced jeweler, trained scientist and author of the New York Times bestseller Stoned (Ecco/Harper Collins, 2015), in the book’s foreword. To know them is to love them, so Gem takes readers inside the world of fine jewelry, semiprecious stones, organic gems and precious metals to provide everything there is to know on the science, history and mythology around them.

From diamonds to sapphires to limestone, this in-depth guide features specially commissioned photography that profiles all major gem types and other precious materials, revealing the riches of the Earth, from raw minerals to exquisite jewelry. Gem goes beyond other reference books by showcasing some of the rarest and most valuable stones and jewel-laden artifacts in history, describing in rich detail the stories and legends that surround them, from their journeys in the company of royalty, film stars and thieves to the curse of the Hope Diamond and Ludwig II’s pocket watch. It also shares the history of the world’s most famous jewelry houses and their designers, including Cartier, Harry Winston, Tiffany & Co. and more.

Crystal-clear photography and illustrations abound on each page to showcase the gems’ different cuts, colors and uses. Gem concludes with an 80-page illustrated directory that provides all necessary comprehensive data to a variety of other rocks and nonprecious stones. Its lavish jacket features a debossed and foiled diamond, making it perfect for gift-giving this holiday season.

Gem Spread

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