Brisbane, Flavelle, Roberts and Sankey, 1908.
Small octavo, 114,  (recto blank, with the device of the printers, Outridge Printing Co., on the verso) pages.
Original olive-green cloth lettered in gilt on the spine ('Noble Opal' and the author's surname) and front cover (the full title); cloth slightly marked, lightly rubbed at the extremities and a little bumped at the top corners; first and last few leaves a little foxed; an excellent copy.
Flavelle's Gem Series Number 1. Sydney Skertchly (1850-1926) arrived in Brisbane in 1891 after a successful career as a geologist in places as varied as the Fenland and East Anglia, Egypt, California, Burma and China. In 1895-97 he was assistant government geologist in the Geological Survey of Queensland; he was President of the Royal Society of Queensland in 1898, and a founder and first president of the Field Naturalists' Club in 1906. The author's end-note to the reader states that the publishers 'asked me to write a series of little books on gemstones, and gave me an entirely free hand. As this, the first of them shows, they will not be mere gatherings from other harvests, but original works embodying the results of my own experience'. An early, rare and important work on the subject (and we know of no other volumes in the Flavelle's Gem Series). We currently have for sale two variant copies of this item, sourced from a significant collection on the subject. This version does not have the advertisement for 'Queensland, the Queen of the Colonies' (verso blank) tipped in at the rear, and it is printed on textured (and coarser) paper, resulting in a noticeably thicker volume (14 mm as distinct from 11 mm).