Morgan discusses the origin of the emerald, its peculiar structure, and its strange allure. The story weaves across several continents and thousands of years. It is a tale of conquistadors, treachery, shipwrecks, and alchemy. Along the way, we meet scientists and kings and bear witness as the great emeralds are born, mined, smuggled, cut, and sold. The book also discusses the modern art of making synthetic emeralds. From the fastnesses of Afghanistan to the steamy jungles of Colombia and Zimbabwe, from the sands of Egypt to the bitter Urals, this is the story of a stone whose strange journey reflects the yearnings, greed, passions, and longing for beauty of the human race.