Introduction: Gems in the Early Modern World

  • Michael Bycroft
  • Sven Dupré
Part of the Europe's Asian Centuries book series (EAC)


This chapter introduces the history and historiography of gems in the early modern world. We set the scene by analysing how Europe and Europeans became integrated into the global trade in gems in the early modern period. We then survey the changes that occurred in the art, science, and technology of gems in Europe in the same period. The connections between these changes and the growing global trade in gems were subtle but significant. Elaborating on these connections is one aim of the chapters in this volume. Another is to focus on knowledge about gems, with a view to unifying a secondary literature on gems that is divided along disciplinary lines. Finally, we aim to show the importance of the materiality of gems to their history.


Global trade Interdisciplinary Materiality Knowledge Gemstones 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Bycroft
    • 1
  • Sven Dupré
    • 2
  1. 1.History DepartmentUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK
  2. 2.History of Art, Science and TechnologyUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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