Rock crystal as material, mineral, symbol, and ornament.
Harder than glass, but softer than diamonds, rock crystal has sparked countless legends concerning its origins and strengths. For a long time, people assumed that this variety of quartz was water that had been solidified to form eternal ice. Since antiquity, rock crystal has been used as a remedy, for fortune-telling, in churches, and at courtly banquets. Artisans used it to create objects with a divine aura. This book assembles breathtaking artworks from antiquity to the Middle Ages, including vessels, crosses, chess pieces, amulets, and magnifying glasses. Contributors draw on a range of fields—art, mineralogy, archaeology, philology, and optics—to explore rock crystal’s many angles.
About the Author
Manuela Beer is the deputy director at the Museum Schnütgen in Cologne.