DeeDee Cunningham, FCGmA, FGA, DGA, and author of this book, became interested in gems during the 90s and subsequently qualified as a gemmologist with the Canadian Gemmological Association and with the British Gemmological Association. She served as a tutor for the Canadian diploma course, assisted as labratory teacher for the diploma course and for a short time served as the Association's Chairman. Aside from the subject of gemmology, DeeDee has an extensive academic background in various subjects including: human factors and psychology, expert witness testimony and research methodology.

Since her student days when she was taking the British Gem Diamond diploma course, and graduating with a distinction, DeeDee has been planning a definitive work on diamond. It was evident to me even then that the quality and depth of research in her course assignments was intended as a framework for a book. Such a book would strike a balance between a scientific work in which diamonds are studied to determine aspects of their origin and formative conditions, and gemmological analysis, which is typically limited to non-destructive indentification of natural, synthetic and treated diamond and its simulants.

The resulting book, The Diamond Compendium, contains a rigorously researched set of chapters readable either as scientific monographs or as descriptive gemmological texts. This approach is followed, for example, in chapters such as "Famous Diamonds" which contains the names and histories of many large rough or polished diamonds, some of which may have disappeared into private ownership or, if stolen, have been cut up to make them less easy to identify. The chapter on "Synthetic Diamond" as a further example, charts the long, painstaking and occassionally explosive lead-up to successful and repeatable synthesis. Similarly the chapter on "Colour" deals extensively with the science and perception of colour and its relevance to diamond and colour treatments. Each chapter ends with a "References and Further Reading" section.

The subject range covered by The Diamond Compendium makes it a suitable textbook for use with gemmology and diamond courses worldwide. It is also useful as an up-to-date work of reference for the researcher and anyone requiring an accurate account of all the latest synthesis methods and enhancement treatments. Anyone who has ever been interested in diamonds, as a business or hobby, can benefit from the wide fund of information contained in this book.

Seven years in the making, it is specifically tailored to serve as the "definitive" work on the subject.

Peter Read, C. Eng, FGA, DGA
Bournemouth, England