"on pesche les perles ... dans le Golfe Persique, principalement ... aupres de Baroyn"

Berquen, Robert de. Les merveilles des Indes orientales ou nouveau traitté des pierres precieuses & perles, contenant leur vraye nature, dureté, couleurs & vertus: chacune placée selon son ordre & degré, suivant la cognoissance des marchands orfévres. Auquel est adjouté une petite table fort exacte, pour connoitre en un instant à quel tiltre les marchands orphevres de Paris, & les autres dans toutes les principalles villes presque de toute l'Europe, travaillent l'or & l'argent.

Paris, C. Lambin, 1661.

4to. (12), 112 pp. With engraved portrait frontispiece of Anne Marie Louise d'Orleans and numerous pretty woodcut initials and tailpieces. Contemporary richly gilt calf, leading edges and spine gilt (tiny defect to upper spine-end and hinge). Marbled pastedowns.


First edition of this rare work on precious stones and pearls found in the East and West Indies, written by a Parisian "marchand orphèvre". Dedicated to "La Grande Mademoiselle" Anne Marie Louise d'Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier and niece of Louis XIII, with her finely engraved portrait by L. Boissevin (which, according to Graesse, is frequently lacking). This "very early, and important treatise on gemstones, gold & silver" (Sinkankas) includes a chapter dedicated exclusively to pearls, a subject with which the author was especially familiar (cf. ibid.), and the Gulf is stated as one of the main locations of pearl fishing: "on pesche les perles en divers endroits du monde. Dans le Golfe Persique, principalement aux environs de l'Isle d'Ormus & Bassora: aupres de Baroyn [i.e., Bahrain], Catiffa, Iuffa, Camaron, & autres lieux de ce Golfe [...]" (p. 74). "The first chapter attempts to reconcile differing views of various writers, as cited by Berquen, on the origin of gemstones and precious metals, with following chapters taking up the principal gemstones, and some minor ones, as diamond, sapphire, topaz, ruby, spinel, emerald, amethyst, aquamarine, hyacinth, opal, chrysolite, iris, vermeille, garnets, carnelian, turquoise, quartz varieties, pearl, coral and amber, and lastly, a chapter on gold and silver [...] Both [the first and the second edition] are rare" (Sinkankas, p. 97f.).

Insignificant waterstain and occasional slight worming, mainly confined to upper margin. A good copy in an elaborately decorated contemporary French binding.


Sinkankas 592. Sabin 4957. Brunet VI, 4780. Graesse I, 348. Ferguson II, 295 (note). Cf. Duveen 71 (1669 second ed.).