This is a nicely-made, 6″x9″ paperback with a soothing, New-Age-friendly sky blue cover bearing a picture of assorted tumbled stones and an attractively-clouded crystal on the cover. Unlike some books on stones I could mention, this one will not plunge the reader into a bunch of malarkey about how the markings on the crystal indicate that it contains the history of Lemuria. It also benefits from competent copy-editing.
The first quarter of the book contains an extended essay by Stuart Weinberg on “Crystals and the New Age.” Most of this is taken up with the commonly-known history of some selected figures from Theosophy and Spiritism, forerunners of what we commonly call the New Age, with some material that sites crystal lore within that tradition and gives suggestions for further reading. Skimming this part turned up nothing to raise suspicions or hackles; if this interests you, it will be worth a read (actually, he does uncritically credit Blavatsky’s “Tibetan Masters,” apparently unaware of K. Paul Johnson’s 1994 book, The Masters Revealed: Madame Blavatsky and the Myth of the Great White Lodge.)
Isidore Kozminsky’s 1922 classic takes up the rest of the book. This is one of those wonderful, expansive books of lore that meanders here and there, connecting this to that and that to everything, in a delightfully Hermetic fashion. Stones are traced from the breastplate of the Aaronic priesthood, through many other traditions. After the general narrative, whose end made me wistful, there is an extensive section of stone-by-stone specifics. Fortunately, beyond the factual tabulation for each stone, quite useful in itself, there is more delightful and well-informed narrative.
I once asked if there was a good crystal encyclopedia without all the fluffy BS (and have since seen one or two): this is the book someone should have pointed me to at that time.
Put this on your bookshelf next to Book I of Agrippa and a good magical herbal, and you’ll have enough on natural magic to be getting on with. Even if you already have your own weight in such books, you should indulge here.
[Complimentary review copy from the publisher gratefully acknowledged, opinions my own, your mileage may vary, etc.]