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By Lookout Staff

January 26, 2017 -- Those who wonder what makes a stone a jewel or why some jewels are considered priceless will get some fascinating answers next Thursday at the Santa Monica Library.

The library will present "Gem: A Dazzling Discussion of Precious Rocks, Stones and Minerals" with Aja Raden, jeweler, scientist and best-selling author of "Stoned," at 7 p.m. in the Main Library’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium.

Raden will relay tales of "her sparkling journey through the world of jewels and gems" and share "the wildest gem- and jewel-related facts she has come across in her research, as well as the most common misconceptions about jewelry and precious metals," event organizers said.

Raden also will discuss the future of precious rocks, stones and minerals, including the invention and sophistication of synthetic diamonds, which use the same materials but are produced in an artificial, rather than geological, process.
Raden "Stoned" book cover

Raden's 2015 book "Stoned" traces the story of eight jewels that shaped the course of history and explores "our unshakable addiction to beauty and the darker side of human desire," according to Harper Collins, the book's publisher.

It tells, among other fascinating stories, how a Hungarian Countess' desire to make a splash led to the first wristwatch and how the machine guns used in World War I helped popularize them.

Book cover of Raden's book "Stoned" (Imaage coourtesy of Harer Collins)

"What moves the world is what moves each of us: desire," the book's publisher wrote. "Jewelry -- which has long served as a stand-in for wealth and power, glamour and success -- has birthed cultural movements, launched political dynasties, and started wars.

"Studded with lively personalities and fascinating details, Stoned tells the remarkable story of our abiding desire for the rare and extraordinary."

A book sale and signing provided by Book Soup will follow the program, which is free and open to all ages.

Seating is limited and on a first arrival basis. The Santa Monica Public Library is wheelchair accessible. For special disabled services, call Library Administration at (310) 458-8606 at least one week before the event.

The Main Library is served by Big Blue Bus routes 1, 7, R7, R10 and 18 and provides bicycle parking racks.

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