Page:Handbook of Precious Stones.djvu/14

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PREFACE.


(To THE First Edition).


A revised Catalogue of the Townshend Collection of Precious Stones in the South Kensington Museum originated this Handbook, in which an attempt has been made to associate, if not to combine, the scientific with the artistic study of precious stones. It has been necessary to confine this work within somewhat narrow limits, and hence to omit much which might fairly find a place in a comprehensive treatise on the subject. The writer, however, trusts that what is here offered for the consideration of students and amateurs may increase the intelligent appreciation of precious stones, and further their more judicious treatment in jewellery. Notwithstanding the exquisite skill of a few modern artist-workmen, it must be affirmed that there is room for improvement in the ordinary productions of jewellers' shops, with respect to knowledge, taste, and finish. Chiefly in fault, however, are the purchasing public, who still tolerate the horseshoes, anchors, and clumsy cables of a debased time, and are not quick to appreciate refinement and originality in the selection and artistic mounting of precious stones. So a few words about these beautiful materials their nature variety, and employment—may prove of wider service than a mere descriptive catalogue of the specimens belonging to the South Kensington Museum.

A. H. C.

Kew, Nov., 1882.