Resource

Cartier Rare Book Repository and Archives



The nucleus of the RTL Library, this highly important collection represents almost every major work on gems and jewellery ever written or published.

  GIA Library staff member perusing a rare book in the Cartier Rare Book Repository and Archives

John and Marjorie Sinkankas Gemmological and Mineralogical Collection

At the nucleus of the Richard T. Liddicoat Library are the rare book collections, notably the world-renowned John and Marjorie Sinkankas Gemmological and Mineralogical Collection of books and other publications. Housed in the specially designed Cartier Rare Book Repository and Archives, where humidity and temperature are strictly controlled, the Sinkankas collection was acquired in January 1988, and represents virtually every major work related to the study of gems and jewellery. Accumulated over 40 years by noted author and lapidary, John Sinkankas and his wife, the collection's 14,000 items survey the historical development of gemmology - as a science, in art and in society.
 

GIA Rare Book Collection

Prior to the purchase of the Sinkankas Collection, the Library was also collecting, and continues to collect, rare books, magazines and journals, original jewellers’ drawings, mineralogical stamps, postcards, etc. Between the two collections, there are now approximately 25,000 items. Included among these rare and important books are:
 

Pliny's Naturalis Historia

31 different editions of Pliny's Natural History, ranging from a Latin incunabulum, 1496, to a 12-volume set in French. C. Plinius Secundus, who died in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D., wrote one of the earliest, and most celebrated, academic treatises of all time.


Jean Baptiste Tavernier's Les Six Voyages

Published in three volumes between 1676 and 1679, Tavernier combined travel writing and gemmology to chronicle his exciting journeys through Turkey, Persia and the East Indies. In one volume, he tells the story of a large, dark blue diamond that he buys and later sells - reputedly the parent stone of the notorious Hope.


David Jeffries' A Treatise on Diamonds and Pearls

Published in 1750, this work is one of the earliest guidelines for evaluating and pricing both of these highly prized gem materials.


George Frederick Kunz’s Gems and Precious Stones of North America

A prolific writer, this is Kunz’s first major work.  Even today it is one of the most important works on gems, and was first published in 1890.


Russia's Treasure of Diamonds and Precious Stones

One of the very few surviving catalogues promoting the sale of Russia's crown jewels. Published in 1925 by A. E. Fersman for the Bolshevik government, it is among the most thorough inventories of Czarist treasures in existence. Russia's crown jewels were later removed from the market and only a few were sold. (Volume under restoration.)

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