I usually do book reviews on Saturdays, but couldn’t think of a book with diamonds in the title that I wanted to read.  But later I found I had one for next Saturday that needs mentioning today as well…  Read on!

DD is for Diamonds in my journey through natural phenomena.  They’re just a chunk of carbon, really.  So is coal, graphite, corundum…  If you look at a chunk of black coal (a purer version than brown coal) you can see wonderfully sleek planes where the structure has sheered, but otherwise, well, it’s a lump of black stuff, isn’t it?  (read the Wikipedia entry for the mineralogy of diamond)

How come diamonds are so amazing that people will kill for them?  I suppose I’m lucky that I’m not hugely attracted to them; I’m not lured by them or spellbound by them – not that I’ve had huge experience.  I’ve seen big ones in the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, and they do look nice, very sparkly, and I do have some industrial sized ones in a ring my mother left me, but that’s more the memory than the look or value.

But the history surrounding these special forms – allotropes – of carbon is intriguing.  Symbols of power and wealth, often exchanged for obscene sums of money (or obscene suffering of others).  The mystique of diamonds is legendary – and controversial.

MoonfleetSo it is with Blackbeard’s diamond, which is the root of the action in J Meade Falkner’s Moonfleet.  I re-read this recently, having read it as a kid, and having always been fascinated by smuggling (and the Dorset coast) I was surprised to find that I’d forgotten entirely the heart of the story was not the smuggling of brandy, not really, but the finding of Blackbeard’s treasure and the ruin that it brought on people who handled it.

It’s told in that mannered way of classics of its time, like Treasure Island it takes a bit of getting used to.  But it flows and ebbs with the tide, and I found myself writing lyrically after reading it, in a way that sort of sticks in your soul.  But the adventure – and the cruelty – are amazing.  If you want a good adventure story, this is it.

I’ll finish reviewing it next week, which was when I originally planned to use it.  Come back next Saturday to see what amazing phenomenon my J stands for!

Diamond pic from www.joyeriakohinoor.com; scan of the book cover my own (bought for 50p in the Wroxham station bookshop).

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Diamonds (and half a book review)
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17 thoughts on “Diamonds (and half a book review)

    • 5 April, 2015 at 12:01 pm
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      So true, Sophie…

  • 4 April, 2015 at 2:44 pm
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    Hello, I have never heard of that book. Definitely putting it on the TBR, I’m a sucker for Children’s Adventure literature.

    I am one of those people who loves diamonds…however, I would NEVER kill for them! 😀

    • 12 April, 2015 at 3:49 pm
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      Sorry for the delay in replying, SMJ – your comment got into my spam for some strange reason. Yes, do read the book 🙂

  • 4 April, 2015 at 6:43 pm
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    I do like those sparkly things! Got a nice one in a wedding ring!

    • 4 April, 2015 at 8:41 pm
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      I must admit that one in the picture looks very pretty

  • 4 April, 2015 at 7:08 pm
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    Moonfleet is one of those books that school killed for me. Perhaps I should try it again 45 years later! Diamonds are beautiful, but I’m not bothered about owning them. I get compliments on my (cheap) jewellery because it’s always colour co-ordinated and interesting, rather than a status symbol.

    • 4 April, 2015 at 8:43 pm
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      That’s a good point about jewellery, Anabel. And yes, I suspect the bits I remembered about Moonfleet were the bits that really got me (mostly the early part) – the rest school did for….

  • 4 April, 2015 at 9:32 pm
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    I must admit I’m very much attracted to diamonds but wouldn’t kill for one. Thanks for sharing your D with us Jemima!

    • 5 April, 2015 at 12:01 pm
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      and thanks for visiting, Fran 🙂

    • 5 April, 2015 at 12:02 pm
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      Well, I know someone who’s written Death by Ice-cream (5 stars); maybe Death by Chocolate is on the agenda….

  • 5 April, 2015 at 5:40 am
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    Sounds like a great book to read. I’m always curious to read more about Blackbeard. I’m also not a huge diamond person, especially knowing the trade and politics surrounding them. Give me a fire opal any day!

    BTW, I found this and thought you might enjoy it: https://youtu.be/TGadVbd-C-E 🙂

    • 5 April, 2015 at 12:09 pm
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      Ah, the original bridge-walking video! Thanks, Alex 😀

  • 6 April, 2015 at 9:00 pm
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    I can admire a diamond set in a piece of jewellry that is stunning or even exotic, but it doesn’t mean that I necessarily want to wear something like that… 🙂
    I’m not sure I agree with “diamonds are a girl’s best friend”… maybe for other girls…

  • 12 April, 2015 at 3:48 pm
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    Sorry for the delay in replying, SMJ – your comment got into my spam for some strange reason. Yes, do read the book 🙂

  • 17 May, 2015 at 2:00 pm
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    Hi Jemima … I was surprised to learn about Cratons – hadn’t known about them and that’s where the diamonds are found … sorry! but you’re taxing my brain to remember things … which I’d heard about, but which come up in Geology with the U3A talks I go to … I’m glad I remembered the word. I don’t much like diamonds either .. but they are stunning to look at. I was surprised to find that the diamonds on Elizabeth I’s dress were painted black – known as ‘black fire’ … it wasn’t until the Huguenots worked out how to cut diamonds that we got them .. in the 17th C … I found that out from the Cheapside Hoard exhibition …

    Cheers Hilary

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