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"The French Blue" a Review by John Pollard

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Karl_K

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awesome review of what sounds like an awesome book!
It is on my purchase list!
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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When can we see the movie John?

GIA link is a link to some weaknesses in the Gems & Gemology article recently published. Another of Sergey's moonlight activities. Several of thes famous gems and their models have been scanned on machines designed and built by him.
 

Sagebrush

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Andrey,

Thank you for posting John Pollard''s very thoughtful review of The French Blue.

Giving advise to a young author, Ernest Hemingway once said; "write what you know." After the publication of Secrets Of The Gem Trade, I really wanted the challenge of a novel. Writing about the life, loves and journeys of one of the most remarkable men of the 17th Century, Jean Baptiste Tavernier provided me an opportunity to take my own experience as an international gem dealer together with my love of history to fashion a novel that,I hope, will bring alive the milieu of the 17th Century gem trade.

Tavernier''s six voyages took place over 40 years (1630-1668), the writing of The French Blue took a bit over 5 years.

The book is available on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, Borders and at fine bookstores everywhere. May it provide you many happy hours. Please write and let me know what you think.
 

diagem

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Great article John..., and good luck with your book Richard...
Looking forward to reading it:) I am always fascinated with trade customs practiced in History.
Reading the ''Travels in India'' was an amazing experience for me.

I too noticed a discrepancy in the Gems & Gemology article recently published on the lead cast of the French Blue which was discovered in/by Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris.
I too attempted to point it out to the relevant parties involved but surprisingly found no one is/was realy interested in hearing..., I even cc''d Serg on it, thats how I found out Serg also has his doubts.


 

John P

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Karl - Thanks for the kind words. I think you''ll really enjoy the journey - and the history.

Garry and Yoram - During my research I found this page on the Octonus site, which should thrill any gearheads interested in that G&G link you posted. Really fascinating, and kudos to Octonus for making the blown-up scans and reports available.

Re: G&G, I thought the main thrust of the MNHN reply was > Their position of "practical" vs that of "greatest possible accuracy" is not unlike discussions we see here.

But the above really is a distraction from a book anyone - whether a gem-virgin or the great Gabi - will enjoy and appreciate.
 

John P

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Date: 11/21/2009 11:54:11 AM
Author: denverappraiser

You must be on a different list from me. I pre-ordered it from Amazon as soon as they announced (along with receiving numerous press releases from Richard through various sources) but it hasn’t arrived yet.
Richard was kind enough to send me a pre-release copy in July for the purpose of this review. My good fortune (great book!), but your copy will have the updated edits and photos.
 

John P

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Date: 11/21/2009 10:19:19 AM
Author: Richard W. Wise
Andrey,

Thank you for posting John Pollard's very thoughtful review of The French Blue.

Giving advise to a young author, Ernest Hemingway once said; 'write what you know.' After the publication of Secrets Of The Gem Trade, I really wanted the challenge of a novel. Writing about the life, loves and journeys of one of the most remarkable men of the 17th Century, Jean Baptiste Tavernier provided me an opportunity to take my own experience as an international gem dealer together with my love of history to fashion a novel that,I hope, will bring alive the milieu of the 17th Century gem trade.

Tavernier's six voyages took place over 40 years (1630-1668), the writing of The French Blue took a bit over 5 years.

The book is available on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, Borders and at fine bookstores everywhere. May it provide you many happy hours. Please write and let me know what you think.
Hey Richard,

It was my pleasure. I tend to read a lot of gemological writing and most of it is quite dry. It was delightful to have a page-turner at home. In fact I purposely did not take the book on business trips because it felt more "right" to curl up evenings with no distractions but Jean-Baptiste and a glass of wine. Hard to do that with the GIA Lab Manual.

Congratulations again.
 

diagem

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Date: 11/21/2009 12:40:44 PM
Author: John Pollard

Date: 11/21/2009 10:19:19 AM
Author: Richard W. Wise
Andrey,

Thank you for posting John Pollard''s very thoughtful review of The French Blue.

Giving advise to a young author, Ernest Hemingway once said; ''write what you know.'' After the publication of Secrets Of The Gem Trade, I really wanted the challenge of a novel. Writing about the life, loves and journeys of one of the most remarkable men of the 17th Century, Jean Baptiste Tavernier provided me an opportunity to take my own experience as an international gem dealer together with my love of history to fashion a novel that,I hope, will bring alive the milieu of the 17th Century gem trade.

Tavernier''s six voyages took place over 40 years (1630-1668), the writing of The French Blue took a bit over 5 years.

The book is available on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, Borders and at fine bookstores everywhere. May it provide you many happy hours. Please write and let me know what you think.
Hey Richard,

It was my pleasure. I tend to read a lot of gemological writing and most of it is quite dry. It was delightful to have a page-turner at home. In fact I purposely did not take the book on business trips because it felt more ''right'' to curl up evenings with no distractions but Jean-Baptise and a glass of wine. Hard to do that with the GIA Lab Manual.

Congratulations again.
Did you have a chance to read J. B. Tavernier''s Travels in India?
 

diagem

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Date: 11/21/2009 12:24:14 PM
Author: John Pollard
Karl - Thanks for the kind words. I think you''ll really enjoy the journey - and the history.

Garry and Yoram - During my research I found this page on the Octonus site, which should thrill any gearheads interested in that G&G link you posted. Really fascinating, and kudos to Octonus for making the blown-up scans and reports available.

Re: G&G, I thought the main thrust of the MNHN reply was << Our goal was not to conduct an analytical study of the lead cast per se but to help reconstruct a mythic diamond. >> Their position of ''practical'' vs that of ''greatest possible accuracy'' is not unlike discussions we see here.

But the above really is a distraction from a book anyone - whether a gem-virgin or the great Gabi - will enjoy and appreciate.
I am certain...

But when the official article says "...Models of both the lead cast and the Hope
diamond confirm that the latter could have been recut from the French Blue."

I assume the word ''could'' may reflect their position of ''practical''...
 

Sagebrush

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Well, yes of course, I have read Tavernier''s Six Voyages, I have a first English edition that includes the Persian travels that are not part of the Ball or Crook editions.

Sorry to hear pre-ordered copies have not yet been received. Not sure what the problem is but I think you should have your copy soon. I was told that a shipment just went out to amazon.

The signed 1st edition is available on the French Blue website listed in the review: http://www.thefrenchblue.comhttp://www.thefrenchblue.com
 

AprilBaby

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It sounds like a lovely Christmas gift for all my diamond loving friends!
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Date: 11/21/2009 12:24:14 PM
Author: John Pollard
Karl - Thanks for the kind words. I think you''ll really enjoy the journey - and the history.


Garry and Yoram - During my research I found this page on the Octonus site, which should thrill any gearheads interested in that G&G link you posted. Really fascinating, and kudos to Octonus for making the blown-up scans and reports available.


Re: G&G, I thought the main thrust of the MNHN reply was << Our goal was not to conduct an analytical study of the lead cast per se but to help reconstruct a mythic diamond. >> Their position of ''practical'' vs that of ''greatest possible accuracy'' is not unlike discussions we see here.


But the above really is a distraction from a book anyone - whether a gem-virgin or the great Gabi - will enjoy and appreciate.

The crazy thing John is that had MNHN taken Sergey''s advice then there is less doubt the French Blue could have been cut into the Hope.
 

John P

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Date: 11/21/2009 5:43:01 PM
Author: AprilBaby
It sounds like a lovely Christmas gift for all my diamond loving friends!
You know, I had not considered that. And I have a lot of friends in that category. Nice.
 

Sagebrush

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Gary,

"A Great Historical Frolic" That was the idea. Some guys would quibble over a cheese sandwich. BTW Amazon has finally gotten its act together and the book is in stock.



Best,
 

kenny

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Richard those links won't work for me.

My browser gives me this message:

Safari can’t open the page “http:localhost/” because the page’s address isn’t valid.
 

Sagebrush

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Links,

My apologies, Facebook links don''t seem to work here. Suggest you just go to Facebook.com and look up the French Blue fan page.

Allow me to share the first "professional" trade review from the prestigious Midwest Book Review:

5.0 out of 5 stars A fine piece of historical fiction, highly recommended, December 8, 2009
By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA) - See all my reviews

Gems have always been items of great worth. "The French Blue" tells a fictionalized story of the historic French blue diamond and the man who brought it to France, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier and his associate, Madeleine de Goisse, who traveled throughout India and Persia. The French blue is the focus of the story, but the adventures of Jean and Madeleine are what keeps the story moving. "The French Blue" is a fine piece of historical fiction, highly recommended.

I will be giving talks at both AGTA and TGMS in Tucson. Love to meet any Pricescope members who are coming to the show. Andrey, when will there be a Pricescope meeting at Tucson?
 

Sagebrush

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vhrhokie,

Thanks, clearly I need a course in links 101.
 

Pandora II

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Just wanted to add my 0.02 pence...

My husband bought me a copy of this for xmas and despite not having many reading hours due to the baby, I have been enjoying this book immensely.

A fantastic tale - Tavernier is brought to life and I am as excited as he must have been to see what discoveries each voyage will bring. Richard, you have done a sterling job in bringing together historical fact, a big dose of gemmological education and wrapping it all in a totally believable and face-paced narrative. I''ve learnt a lot.

I have yet to finish it - Tavernier - and I - are about to set sail on our 6th voyage... and I''m already sad that the book will soon end :(

Perhaps someone will turn it into a movie? It has everything needed to be a blockbuster.

Anyway, I highly recommend it to all as a ''rattling good yarn''! I''m almost tempted to seek out Tavernier''s own book although I understand it''s a chronological nightmare.
 

diagem

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Date: 2/8/2010 6:45:25 PM
Author: Pandora II
Just wanted to add my 0.02 pence...

My husband bought me a copy of this for xmas and despite not having many reading hours due to the baby, I have been enjoying this book immensely.

A fantastic tale - Tavernier is brought to life and I am as excited as he must have been to see what discoveries each voyage will bring. Richard, you have done a sterling job in bringing together historical fact, a big dose of gemmological education and wrapping it all in a totally believable and face-paced narrative. I''ve learnt a lot.

I have yet to finish it - Tavernier - and I - are about to set sail on our 6th voyage... and I''m already sad that the book will soon end :(

Perhaps someone will turn it into a movie? It has everything needed to be a blockbuster.

Anyway, I highly recommend it to all as a ''rattling good yarn''! I''m almost tempted to seek out Tavernier''s own book although I understand it''s a chronological nightmare.
True, but well worth it
 

Sagebrush

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Thanks for your very kind words. The French Blue was a labor of love and my "baby" as well.

Tavernier''s book is "well worth it." It was written at the behest of The Sun King and can be a bit tedious particularly in the first volume, but there are many hidden "gems", most of which I incorporated into The French Blue---a bit of book trivia, before editing to 584 pages, my book was over 1300 pages long and ended at Tavernier''s death.

Still, some of Tavernier''s accounts of the culture and mores of India and Persia are well worth reading. The Six Voyages (1689) was a best seller and was translated into English, Dutch and Italian. I have first English and Dutch editions. The 2nd translation by Valentine Ball, edited by William Crooke is available in an India reprint edition for about 30 bucks, you can also find the Oxford edition for a couple of hundred. Lots of very interesting additions by Ball...You get the smell of the warehouse it was stored in at no extra charge.
 

diagem

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Date: 2/9/2010 9:54:05 AM
Author: Richard W. Wise
Thanks for your very kind words. The French Blue was a labor of love and my 'baby' as well.

Tavernier's book is 'well worth it.' It was written at the behest of The Sun King and can be a bit tedious particularly in the first volume, but there are many hidden 'gems', most of which I incorporated into The French Blue---a bit of book trivia, before editing to 584 pages, my book was over 1300 pages long and ended at Tavernier's death.

Still, some of Tavernier's accounts of the culture and mores of India and Persia are well worth reading. The Six Voyages (1689) was a best seller and was translated into English, Dutch and Italian. I have first English and Dutch editions. The 2nd translation by Valentine Ball, edited by William Crooke is available in an India reprint edition for about 30 bucks, you can also find the Oxford edition for a couple of hundred. Lots of very interesting additions by Ball...You get the smell of the warehouse it was stored in at no extra charge.
Interesting and absolutely correct..., he never mentioned a potential candidate to the Wittelsbach in his book...

**edited by moderator.No links to trade blogs allowed**

The only issue I dont agree with you is on your writting here:

"Though some experts have said that re-cutting the diamond was a travesty that would destroy its historical provenance, it is hardly without precedent. The gem’s big brother, the 45.52 carat Hope Diamond, originally 116 metric carats when Jean Baptiste Tavernier brought it from India, has been entirely refashioned not once but twice. The first recut, the gem that came to be known as The French Blue was ordered by Louis XIV and supervised by his court jeweler Jean Pitau. This reduced the stone into a shield shaped gem of 68 metric carats. The second recut occurred sometime after The French Blue, then set in the Medal of The Golden Fleece, was stolen from a French warehouse in 1792."

It is true about the Taverier Blue which was recut twice..., but as I understand it..., the Wittelsbach is the first known 'brilliant cut specimen", and if that is the case than Graff did destroy something...

 

diagem

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Date: 2/9/2010 3:22:42 PM
Author: DiaGem

Date: 2/9/2010 9:54:05 AM
Author: Richard W. Wise
Thanks for your very kind words. The French Blue was a labor of love and my ''baby'' as well.

Tavernier''s book is ''well worth it.'' It was written at the behest of The Sun King and can be a bit tedious particularly in the first volume, but there are many hidden ''gems'', most of which I incorporated into The French Blue---a bit of book trivia, before editing to 584 pages, my book was over 1300 pages long and ended at Tavernier''s death.

Still, some of Tavernier''s accounts of the culture and mores of India and Persia are well worth reading. The Six Voyages (1689) was a best seller and was translated into English, Dutch and Italian. I have first English and Dutch editions. The 2nd translation by Valentine Ball, edited by William Crooke is available in an India reprint edition for about 30 bucks, you can also find the Oxford edition for a couple of hundred. Lots of very interesting additions by Ball...You get the smell of the warehouse it was stored in at no extra charge.

Interesting and absolutely correct..., he never mentioned a potential candidate to the Wittelsbach in his book...

**edited by moderator.No links to trade blogs allowed**

ETA= "Tavernier’s relationship to The Wittelsbach is tenuous at best. The French gem merchant, the man who brought the great blue diamond that subsequently became the Hope to France and sold it to Louis XIV, wrote a 17th Century bestseller called The Six Voyages of jean Baptiste Tavernier that I have just released in novel form called; The French Blue, never mentions the stone. To be fair he never mentions the Great Blue either but he does include an invoice which pictures the blue in his book. The first mention I have seen of Tavernier’s possible relationship to The Wittelsbach appeared in a recent New York Times article. The Times writer, Guy Trebay, admits that the relationship is little more than a possibility."

The only issue I dont agree with you is on your writting here:

''Though some experts have said that re-cutting the diamond was a travesty that would destroy its historical provenance, it is hardly without precedent. The gem’s big brother, the 45.52 carat Hope Diamond, originally 116 metric carats when Jean Baptiste Tavernier brought it from India, has been entirely refashioned not once but twice. The first recut, the gem that came to be known as The French Blue was ordered by Louis XIV and supervised by his court jeweler Jean Pitau. This reduced the stone into a shield shaped gem of 68 metric carats. The second recut occurred sometime after The French Blue, then set in the Medal of The Golden Fleece, was stolen from a French warehouse in 1792.''

It is true about the Taverier Blue which was recut twice..., but as I understand it..., the Wittelsbach is the first known ''brilliant cut specimen'', and if that is the case than Graff did destroy something...

 

Sagebrush

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The Hope and The Wittelsbach are very similar, both can be called brilliants. The French Blue was a brilliant as well.
 

diagem

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True, but when did King Louis IV commission the cutting of the French Blue? I believe it was later than the first public records of the Wittelsbach Brilliant cut.
Again, as far as my understanding goes, the Wittelsbach is considered the firtst known specimen cut in the brilliant faceting design..., and if that is true, something was definitely destroyed in the recutting of the Wittelsbach.
 
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