There’s a wide variety of literature on gemstones, including opals. Most of it is non-fiction, of course, and talks about how gemstones are found, how they are cut, the history of the most famous gemstones in the world, and so on.
But gemstones are written about in fiction as well, usually in mystery stories where some famous jewel has been stolen, its owner murdered, and the detective has to find the one and discover the other.
Depending on how well written these types of fictions are, the reader may be interested in gemstones in spite of themselves, and become a collector or at least a devote.
(In my own case, I first became interested in gemstones decades ago, when I discovered the book Modesty Blaise, by Peter O’Donnell. A “female James Bond,” we first see her carving a gemstone, as she has lapidary as a hobby. O’Donnell described the process so well that I thought I might like to do it myself. Of course after a few lessons I realized that I had no artistic talent whatsoever. I must remain a devotee and an appreciator of the works of others, unfortunately.)
Anyway, another book that launches the layperson’s interest in gemstones is Straight, by Dick Francis. Dick Francis is the former steeplechase jockey who, after his retirement, went into an incredibly successful career as a mystery author, typically with the horse racing scene as a background.
In Straight, the protagonist is a jockey, whose brother has been killed in an accident. His brother owns a gemstone firm, which the protagonist inherits. While the hero, Derek Franklin, struggles to solve various mysteries, we are also immersed in the world of the gemologist. And Francis certainly makes it sound fascinating.
Particular inspiring is his descriptions of the work of Prospero Jenks, a character who uses a variety of semi-precious gemstones in his work to create a variety of beautiful objects, sort of like a British Faberge.
If you’re interested in gemstones in all its facets, including fiction, give this book a try.