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Emerald City

The Birth and Evolution of an Indian Gemstone Industry

Lawrence A. Babb

Publication Year: 2013

A fascinating study of the gemstone industry of Jaipur, with special emphasis on its ownership class.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

Most of the research on which this book is based took place between August 2005 and January 2006 and was supported by a Senior Short-term Fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies. I would like to thank Professor R. K. Pant and the Department of History and Indian Culture, ...

Note on Transliteration

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pp. xi-xii

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Chapter 1: Introduction

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pp. 1-18

I have to be honest. I was initially drawn to this subject by its simple romantic appeal, not by some abstract theoretical puzzle, and at first I had no notion of doing any writing about it at all. Research on other topics, mainly connected with Jainism and western India’s trading communities, ...

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Chapter 2: Dramatis Personae: Industrial Multiculturalism

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pp. 19-48

Most twenty‑first century industries in fully industrialized economies— and for that matter many industries in India today—do not need to be anatomized in cultural terms. As an example, between those who work in the executive offices and those who work on the shop floors of General Motors ...

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Chapter 3: The Rise of the Emerald Elite

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pp. 49-84

Visitors encountering Jaipur’s gemstone industry for the first time are likely to conclude that it is old and deeply traditional. Certainly that is exactly what superficial appearances suggest. As we know, the industry is centered in Johari Bazar, the Jewelers’ Market, and this is an area of Jaipur that has been devoted to the jewelry business since the city was founded. ...

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Chapter 4: Doing Business

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pp. 85-114

As is true of most things in life, the manufacturing of gemstones can be done well or badly. In Jaipur, there was a time—in the heyday of big profit margins—when doing it badly was doing it well enough. This is no longer true. When done well, it is a complex, absorbing, and challenging undertaking ...

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Chapter 5: Contexts

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pp. 115-148

In the foregoing chapter we examined Jaipur’s gemstone business from the standpoint of how its product is made and traded. We now shift to its cultural and social side. A business—any business—carries a subculture of its own and also takes place within a wider social and cultural context, ...

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Chapter 6: The Decline of the Emerald Elite

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pp. 149-176

As a baseline for the changes of the late twentieth century, I propose to look at one of the most characteristic institutions of the gemstone business during its heyday. This was a system of fixed prices that prevailed in the business for many decades, finally coming to an end in the 1980s. ...

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Chapter 7: Conclusion

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pp. 177-194

Is any business ever “just” business? Can a business, that is, be understood as a purely autonomous behavioral domain shaped entirely by logics and norms of its own? The answer to this question is undoubtedly “no,” but it is equally true that in this, as in all things, there are matters of degree. ...


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pp. 195-200


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pp. 201-204


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pp. 205-220

E-ISBN-13: 9781438445885
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438445878

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2013