Purely Paraiba

Posted on August 31, 2022 by Reviewed by Richard B. Drucker, GIA GG, Honorary FGA

Purely Paraiba Doris Hangartner Reviewed by Richard B. Drucker, GIA GG, Honorary FGA ISBN 978-3-9525387-0-8 Available through dorishangartner.com CHF 150.00 149 pp, illustrated, hardcover   When I opened the box that the book was shipped in, inside was a gift. Yes, the book was gift wrapped. I wondered if it were just for me but the paper was specially made wrapping paper with a colorful scene from the book contents and the book title printed on the special wrapping paper—definitely a nice touch. I did not know the author, but Doris is a graduate gemologist and a jeweler in Zurich, Switzerland, specializing in colored gemstones and handmade jewelry. I share her admiration for Paraiba tourmalines and in her case, she has written a book on the singular stone. The book is not so much educational as it is a viewing book for enjoyment. The exceptionally large pages (14 1⁄2 x 11 inches) are filled mostly with photographs of gems and back- ground graphics, often bright, busy, and even psychedelic in appearance. The book is very light on text. Even the website acknowledges this by stating this to be, “a gorgeous coffee table book introducing the new gem of gems, the spirited neon blue and green Paraiba Tourmaline.”Indeed, it is a coffee table book. The book will not teach gemology and barely touches on the science of this gem. It is pure and simple. When I say that this is light on text, it truly is from the very opening. Her journey from a young age to current is told in only a one-page summary. Several pages in the book contain only a quote, followed by pages of photos and most of those pages have only one gemstone, very large on the page or possibly a pair of gems. There are few “chapters” of sorts, which are all only one or two pages of text on a topic. For example, the Gem of Gems chapter describes the history of Paraiba from its discovery in 1980 by Heitor Dimas Barbosa (whom she is lucky enough to have met and who wrote the foreword to the book), to its real production after seven years of digging, and to the discovery of the Mozambique gems in 2001. The chapter does go into some detail about the presence of copper and manganese, and the heating of cuprian tourmalines to improve color, but again, understand that this is not a gemology book so only a brief overview is covered. As it is personal to me and my writings of the past, I would have liked more on the origin distinction, as Doris leaves it with the amount of copper to be called Paraiba. Later she mentions the colors, trace elements, and copper concentrations may vary by location. The chapter on the Language of Gems, shows her spiritual side as she relates all of our senses to gems. The final chapter is Gems and Their Personalities. Here there are six gems, each named according to what she sees in them or feels, such as Starlet, Solo, Confidence, and Love. While this book is light on text, I cannot really fault it much as it was not intended to be much more than a coffee table book as she describes it herself. It is obvious that Doris has a passion for this gem and a connection that she attempts to share with the readers. Paraiba enthusiasts will likely add this to their library, or more likely to their display tables.

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