"THEY ARE THE STARS OF THE EARTH, AND SHINE IN COMPETITION WITH THOSE OF THE FIRMAMENT": CHAPPUZEAU'S THE HISTORY OF JEWELS, 1671 FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH—THE COPY OF CHARLES MORDAUNT, EARL OF PETERSBOROUGH AND MONMOUTH
[CHAPPUZEAU, Samuel]. The History of Jewels, and of the Principal Riches of the East and West. Taken from the Relation of Divers of the Most Famous Travellers of Our Age. London: Hobart Kemp, 1671. 12mo, contemporary full dark brown calf; pp. [viii], 128. $12,500.
First edition in English of this rare and important early work, which provides some of the first reliable information on the international jewelry trade, with information on trade in America and the West Indies and mining in Peru. The copy of Sir Charles Mordaunt, Earl of Petersborough and Monmouth, with his bookplate, in contemporary calf.
Chappuzeau's survey includes chapters on diamonds; on colored stones, such as rubies, emeralds and opals; on pearls; on coral; on amber; and on metals, ambergris, bezoar, indigo and other valuable luxury goods. Chappuzeau mentions some particularly notable diamonds that he came across in his researches: "In the year 1657 L'Escot of Orleans ventured to go thither, by reason that he had learned that the Raja had a Diamond of 42 Carats, he was courteously received by the Prince, who shewed it to him and had a mind to sell it him, upon condition that L'Escot would pay for it in ready money" (p. 10). "Mirgimola Chief Minister of State, and General of the Armies of the King of Golconda, a man of great parts… presented the Great Mogol with a vast Stone of nine hundred carrats in weight: yet being full of flaws, it was reduc'd to 300 by Hortensius a Venetian Lapidary, who cut it, but could not do it so well, but there remained a flaw in it, which makes it something unhandsome" (pp. 19-20). First published in French, in Geneva, 1665. Wing C1959. Sabin 32140. Engraved armorial bookplate of army officer and diplomatist Sir Charles Mordaunt, third earl of Petersborough and first earl of Monmouth (1658-1735), on verso of title page. "For both contemporaries and historians, Peterborough's activities have seemed more fable than history… Irritating and inscrutable to some, a romantic hero to others, Peterborough became a notable figure in English political, military, naval, diplomatic, literary, and gardening history" (ODNB).
Interior generally clean. Front joint starting, with small loss at spine head, cords holding. A very good copy of this scarce title, especially desirable in contemporary calf, with a nice provenance.