From emeralds to pearls and necklaces to rings, jewelry has been an integral part of humanity for millennia. It’s no wonder, then, that these beautiful baubles would find their way into works of literature. Below are eight novels and nonfiction books that celebrate all things bling, including some of the world’s most famous jewels. So put on your favorite pieces, sit back, and enjoy some fabulous reads.
All That Glitters: 8 Dazzling Books about Jewelry
There are plenty of famous jewels, but few are as well-known as the allegedly cursed Hope Diamond. As vivid as the diamond itself and amidst the glamor and grit of Gilded Age New York City, CARTIER’S HOPE follows a female journalist as she investigates schemes to increase the diamond’s value after its recent sale—only to discover she could be at risk of losing everything.
In this “heady tale of romance, intrigue, and empowerment” (Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author) during the Gilded Age, a determined and remarkable female journalist is determined to uncover the truth of the legendary Hope Diamond—from the New York Times bestselling author of Tiffany Blues.
New York, 1910: A city of extravagant balls in Fifth Avenue mansions and poor immigrants crammed into crumbling Lower East Side tenements. A city where the suffrage movement is growing stronger every day, but most women reporters are still delegated to the fashion and lifestyle pages. But Vera Garland is set on making her mark in a man’s world of serious journalism.
Shortly after the world-famous Hope Diamond is acquired for a record sum, Vera begins investigating rumors about schemes by its new owner, jeweler Pierre Cartier, to manipulate its value. Vera is determined to find the truth behind the notorious diamond and its mysterious curses, especially when her reporting puts her in the same orbit as a magazine publisher whose blackmailing schemes led to the death of her beloved father.
Appealing to a young Russian jeweler for help, Vera is unprepared when she begins falling in love with him…and even more unprepared when she gets caught up in his deceptions and finds herself at risk of losing all she has worked so hard to achieve.
“Vivid…[and] memorable” (Publishers Weekly), Cartier’s Hope is “a twisting tale of greed, revenge, and masked identities that put love and lives at risk. A fast-paced historical novel that shines with as much intrigue and mystery as the Hope Diamond itself” (Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author).
A luxury hotel in Manhattan. A vault filled with priceless jewels. A group of gentleman thieves and an unsolved crime. This may sound like the stuff of Hollywood but it’s the true story of the largest hotel robbery in history. Based on exclusive interviews and in-depth research, this is the ultimate read about what could be considered the perfect crime.
New York City, 1972.Bobby Comfort and Sammy “the Arab” Nalo were highly skilled jewel thieves who specialized in robbing luxury Manhattan hotels. With the blessing of the Lucchese Crime Family, their next plot targeted the posh Pierre Hotel—host to kings and queens, presidents and aldermen, and the wealthiest of the wealthy. Attired in tuxedoes and driven in a limousine, this band of thieves arrived at the Pierre, seized the security guards and, in systematically choreographed moves, swiftly took the night staff—and several unfortunate guests who happened to be roaming about the lobby—as hostages.The deposit boxes inside the vault chamber were plundered and the gentlemanly thieves departed in their limousine with a haul of $28 million. But then matters began to deteriorate. The authorities immediately suspected Comfort and Nalo of masterminding The Pierre ambush and arrested them, but the veteran criminals kept their mouths shut. The Lucchese Family funneled a $500,000 bribe to the presiding judge to quash the charges—and to this day The Pierre Hotel caper remains unsolved.
This transportive and passionate work of historical fiction imagines the inspiration behind one of the most famous paintings of the Dutch Golden Age. Tracy Chevalier brings the world of artist Johannes Vermeer to colorful life, helping us to appreciate the beauty of art anew.
Two generations are connected by an extravagant necklace and long-buried secrets in this sparkling novel. When a young woman is left a lavish necklace by her late great-aunt, she must contend with jealous relatives, a mysterious provenance, and hidden family history from the 1920s. THE NECKLACE is a dazzling read you won’t be able to put down.
In this “glittering, Gatsby-esque” (Publishers Weekly) novel, two generations of Quincy women—a bewitching Jazz Age beauty and a young lawyer—are bound by a spectacular and mysterious Indian necklace.
Always the black sheep of the tight-knit Quincy clan, Nell is cautious when she’s summoned to the elegantly shabby family manor after her great-aunt Loulou’s death. A cold reception from the family grows chillier when they learn Loulou has left Nell a fantastically valuable heirloom: an ornate necklace from India that Nell finds stashed in a Crown Royal whiskey bag in the back of a dresser. As predatory relatives circle and art experts begin to question the necklace’s provenance, Nell turns to the only person she thinks she can trust—the attractive and ambitious estate lawyer who definitely is not part of the old-money crowd.
More than just a piece of jewelry, the necklace links Nell to a long-buried family secret involving Ambrose Quincy, who brought the necklace home from India in the 1920s as a dramatic gift for May, the woman he intended to marry. Upon his return, he discovered that May had married his brother Ethan, the “good” Quincy, devoted to their father. As a gesture of friendship, Ambrose gave May the necklace anyway.
Crisp as a gin martini, fresh as a twist of lime, The Necklace is the charming and intoxicating story “written with wit, compassion, and a meticulous attention to period and cultural detail” (Kirkus Reviews) of long-simmering family resentments and a young woman who inherits a secret much more valuable than a legendary necklace.
It’s not every day that a piece of jewelry can help bring down a monarchy, but when it’s a piece related to Marie Antoinette, anything can happen. HOW TO RUIN A QUEEN tells the astonishing true story of how a necklace and a scandalous trial divided a country and helped change European history. This is an engrossing and masterful work of nonfiction told in vibrant detail.
Investigator Alex Turner embarks on a thrilling caper into the high-stakes world of blood diamond trading when a valuable pink diamond appears around the neck of a presidential candidate’s wife. Featuring double agents, international intrigue, and plenty of deadly deception, THE RUSSIAN PINK is a white-knuckle roller-coaster ride.
An explosive debut featuring renowned diamond expert caught in a web of deception and malice while trying to uncover the secrets behind the most expensive diamond in the world.
When "The Russian Pink"—a stunningly large rose-hued diamond—makes a surprise appearance around the neck of Honey Li, the wife of surging presidential candidate Harry Nash, Alex Turner, an investigator for the Treasury Department’s diamond division and former C.I.A. agent, finds himself spiraling down a seemingly endless rabbit hole. A diamond like that always carries secrets, but the web of mystery behind "The Pink" is more complex than Alex could ever image.
Starting with the trail of damage from botched sting operation, Alex wavers between legal and illegal tactics, friends, family, and foes to find out why a mysterious Russian double agent betrayed him and the diamond ended up on a potential path to the White House. For wherever the Russian Pink goes, secrecy, deception, and death surely follow.
With echos of both John Le Carre and Jason Matthews, The Russian Pink is a stylish and fresh page-turner that catapults the reader into the world of blood diamond trading, a world that Matthew Hart, the author of the critically acclaimed Diamond, navigates with authoritative authenticity and wit.
When a wealthy woman is discovered dead onboard a luxury cruise ship and her prized emerald necklace missing, it is up to a jewelry expert to solve the murder and recover the treasure. The Queen of Suspense brings her signature twists and turns to this spirited caper in the Alvirah and Willy series.
From the Queen of Suspense and #1 New York Times bestselling author comes a thrilling mystery aboard a luxurious but deadly cruise.
Fleeing the disastrous and humiliating last-minute arrest of her fiancé on the eve of their wedding, Celia, an expert on gems and jewelry, is hoping to escape from reality on a glamorous cruise ship.
But it is not to be. On board in the most luxurious suite is the elderly and world-famous Lady Emily Harworth. Immensely wealthy, Lady Em is the owner of a priceless emerald necklace that she intends to leave to the Smithsonian on her death.
Three days later Lady Em is found dead—and the necklace is missing. Is it the work of her apparently devoted secretary, or her lawyer-executor, both of whom she had invited on board for the cruise?
Celia, with the help of her new friends Willy and Alvirah Meehan—who are splurging on their wedding anniversary—sets out to find who the killer is, not realizing that she may have put a target on her back.
Inspired by the incredible true story of the accidental discovery of a stockpile of priceless jewelry, THE LOST JEWELS is a thrilling historical mystery. Taking us from the present day to Edwardian London, family secrets, political intrigue, and buried treasure come together to weave an unforgettable tale.
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