I started with the book Color: A natural History of the Palette Victoria Finlay a few years ago and I cannot explain how amazing this book is. It goes though colors by chapter explaining where the pigments in paints, dyes, glazes and more come from throughout history and throughout the world (Eastern and western). Not only is it an informative well written book but it also goes through this woman's travels in order to find out this information. In many cases she is the first woman to be in some of the quarries and caves that stones are mined from. The book goes from Australia, Afghanistan to the Buddhas of Bamiyan, Chartes Cathedral in France, and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul just to name a few. It is a great book for artists, Art historians, and anyone interested in travel. A similar book, Jewels: a Secret History, is a search for where the 10 rarest gemstones come from. Did you know that Sapphires, Emeralds, Rubys, and Diamonds are just atomically only different by 1 carbon molecule? Also that in the past years they have found 4x the amount of diamonds but the price continues to rise? Both books are on Google books for free and only $11 on Amazon.