Killer Stones uncovers the murders, mischief and cold-blooded malevolence behind the most notorious jewels in history.
Like war, the first casualty of a remarkable jewel is Truth. The more illustrious the provenance a jewel possesses, the more lies, deceit and cruelty it seems to spawn.
Incorporating the phrase Jacques Cartier used to describe his “killer stones” (samples of flawless gems) that he carried with him to assess jewels on Cartier buying trips throughout Asia and the Middle East, Killer Stones reveals the shocking truths behind the discovery and acquisition of history’s most infamous gems and jewellery collections.
Ever since the first precious stones were hacked from caves, fished from oceans, and snatched from the necks of ancient deities, they have asserted a destructive influence over the lives of ordinary men and women.
All jewels corrupt but some jewels are more corruptible than others. The primeval, overwhelming need to possess fantastic gems is intrinsic to their fatal appeal.
Spanning the globe from the opal fields of the Australian bush, to the fabled Golconda diamond mines of India, the Arabian Gulf of Pearls, and the emotion-charged auction rooms of Europe, Killer Stones features an eclectic cast of thieves, adventurers, movie stars, and filthy-rich aristocrats who survived deadly attacks and committed unspeakable crimes simply to possess and protect the most famous gems through time.
Using a careful examination of contemporary accounts, forgotten archival material, and interviews with surviving participants, Killer Stones exposes the calumnies and corruption buried beneath the popularly accepted facades of celebrated jewels and their owners. Some of the chapters and their revelations include:
Armed with an Honours degree from the Australian National University, Richard Wallace became a journalist with the Fairfax newspaper organisation that included The Sydney Morning Herald, The Melbourne Age, The Canberra Times and the Australian Financial Review among its mastheads. Posted to Europe he covered the death of the Duchess of Windsor in 1986 and the subsequent Geneva auction of her jewellery collection in 1987. Leaving Fairfax, Richard joined the UK Independent shortly after its creation in 1986 at the request of eccentric founding editor Andreas Whittam Smith.
His focus was rese...
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