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Far surpassing all earlier lapidaries and the basis for all that followed

BOODT, Anselm Boetius de.
Gemmarum et lapidum historia, qua non solum ortus, natura, vis & precium, sed etiam modus quo ex iis, olea, salia tincturae, essentiae, arcana & magisteria arte chymica confici possint, ostenditur.
Hanau, Claude de Marne and heirs of Johann Aubry (printed by the heirs of Andreas Wechel), 1609. 4to. With Wechel's elaborate woodcut device on the title-page and the otherwise blank final page, 34 woodcut illustrations in the text (some with multiple figures), and 2 folding letterpress hierarchical tables. Contemporary sheepskin parchment. 8, [8], “288” [= 284], [16] pp. plus 2 folding ll.
€ 3,950
Rare first edition, in the original Latin, complete with the folding hierarchical tables (often lacking), of a comprehensive account of precious stones and their origin, cutting and tooling, use and properties, along with other stones and crystals, as well as things we would not now call stones, including coral, fossils and shells. "By far the most thorough and complete up to date, easily surpasses [all earlier works] in quantity and quality of information; ... further distinguished by its intimate knowledge of the art of the lapidary ... an impressive work by any standard" (Sinkankas). It is the first attempt to systematically describe minerals, "in many respects the most important lapidary of the seventeenth century and exerted a widespread influence" (Adams). The illustrations show equipment, the stones themselves (including several fossil teeth), and a few diagrams. Boodt was physician to the emperor Rudolph II in Prague and also acted as his advisor in all matters relating to gems and precious stones.
With an early owner's name(?)stamped below the end of the text: "Cernaza". Browned throughout (as usual) and with worm holes (primarily in the title-page and the margins of the first four and last four leaves), the title page also with further damage, repaired by backing the title-page with modern wove paper, a tear repaired in one other leaf and in one folding table, and an occasional stain. These defects cause no loss of text or illustrations and the book has generous margins. The boards and endleaves show additional worm holes (fairly extensive at the front) and the binding is somewhat soiled, but it remains structurally sound. Rare first edition of a landmark lapidary. Adams, Birth and development of the geological sciences, pp. 162-163; Bibl. Partington II, pp. 101-102; Riviniana 7289; Sinkankas 778; Thorndike VI, pp. 318-324; USTC 2106041 (7 copies); VD17 23:292164Z (7 copies); Ward & Carozzi 251 (lacking folding tables); for Boodt: DSB II, p. 295.
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Related Subjects:

Art, architecture & photography  >  Gems & Precious Stones
Science & technology  >  Earth Sciences | Mineralogy & Gems