The first determinative gemology worthy of that name (Sinkankas)
HAÜY, abbé René-Just
Traité des caractères physiques des pierres précieuses pour servir à leur détermination lorsqu’elles ont été taillées
Paris, veuve Courcier, 1817.
8vo (195 x 123 mm) VIII, XXII, 253 pp., 3 engraved plates. Slightly later green sheep backed boards, spine decorated with the monogram ‘F.G.’ at foot.
1 600 
Wheatland 111 ; Sinkankas, I, 2811.

In stock

First edition of this work of fundamental importance in the science of gemology.

Typically precise and detailed in his statements, Haüy here provides the first determinative gemmology worthy of that name. The lengthy introduction discusses progress in mineralogy, especially in respect to the now outmoded idea that gemstones by virtue of their superior hardness and resistance to traditional methods of chemical decomposition, were mineralogically in a class distinct from other species. Recent work in chemistry and crystallography clearly demonstrated that gemstones are no more than purer specimens of common species, citing the work of Klaproth in recognizing zirconium in zircon and of Vauquelin who found glucinum (beryllium) in beryl… A work of fundamental importance in the science of gemology and marking the transition from a purely descriptive method to accurate determination of properties and applying them to identification” (Sinkankas).

The three plates by Cloquet show stones and minerals as well as instruments, including Nicholson’s hydrometer.

Very good copy despite some occasional foxing. With the bookseller’s catalogue by Asselin bound between pages 250/251.