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The Diamond Formula (Inventions: Untold Stories of the Beautiful Era collection)

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  431 ratings  ·  43 reviews

A possible genius, a smidgen of madness, a twist of science, and an invention that very nearly changed the world—all collide in a giddy, unbelievably true mystery set in turn-of-the-century Paris.

In 1905, inventor Henri Lemoine claimed that he’d uncovered the secret to a coveted alchemy: creating diamonds in a laboratory. It intrigued a host of investors, and it soon made

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Kindle Edition, 48 pages
Published March 28th 2019 by Amazon Original Stories
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Average rating 3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  431 ratings  ·  43 reviews


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Jonathan Maas
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A Quick, Impactful Tale of History

Alina Simone gets to the point quickly with this read-in-one-sitting tale, and she might kick off a new trend with this.

Small time investment on the reader's part, but quite a bit of payoff.

Simone shows the characters here, and then shows what happens.

It's difficult to put down, and when you do - it's over.

And then you want more.

I highly recommend this book, and have already started the next in the series - Jump! (Inventions: Untold Stories of the Beautifu
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Kerry
Apr 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Maybe it's my optimistic side that doesn't find stories about charlatans compelling. The particular charlatan in this tale hung out with similarly awful people who made their money off of the misery of diamond mines.

Then we have a cameo by Edison elecrocuting a dog. What a monster.

No inventions here, no real ingenuity. While this short work is not poorly written, neither is it enjoyable. Rather, it's a reminder of human cruelty and greed.
Angela
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Interesting but dull

The history of the diamond market was interesting but the story as a whole was very dull. The characters had no dimension and it reads like a newspaper article.
Lindsay Boitnott
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Amazon’s Inventions: Untold Stories of the Beautiful Era collection may be my favorite discovery of 2019. It consists of three nonfiction novellas covering the inventions and discoveries of the early 1900s. I listened to the audiobook versions which were an interesting mix of audiobook and podcast. Actually, I often felt as if I was listening to a radio broadcast of the events. I enjoyed the format as a nonfiction lover and I feel it will make nonfiction more accessible for those new to the genr ...more
Cale
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the beginning of the 20th century, as the new alchemy is creating diamonds. This book explores an incident in the DeBeers history, where a charismatic scientist purported to create synthetic diamonds. While the outcome of the case is pretty clear from early on, Simone tries to keep the suspense up. She does a good job giving a quick introduction to the key characters and events, but it does suffer a bit from trying to keep the results a surprise for as long as she does. But otherwise, this st ...more
Ursula Johnson
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An Interesting Con, Nearly Perfect

This was an entertaining story of a con man who managed to not only dupe the powerful head of De Beers diamonds out of a substantial sum of money, and become the toast of Paris as well. The backgrounds of both are presented, framing how they met and the con was executed. The subsequent trial is the most interesting part. Even the judge was enthralled. The sheer gumption of the con is impressive. I read this book using immersion reading while listening to the aud
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Kelli Santistevan
* I borrowed this book from Amazon Prime and I just finished listening to it. *

Here is what the book is about:”A possible genius, a smidgen of madness, a twist of science, and an invention that very nearly changed the world—all collide in a giddy, unbelievably true mystery set in turn-of-the-century Paris.

In 1905, inventor Henri Lemoine claimed that he’d uncovered the secret to a coveted alchemy: creating diamonds in a laboratory. It intrigued a host of investors, and it soon made Lemoine an in
...more
Lora Graham
Before the story begins to be even remotely interesting, you're at least 40% into the book. Interesting, and I use the term loosely here, facts about the general invention of simulated diamonds. But more than anything, the story of Henri Lemoine, a scam artist who somehow managed to conjure fake diamonds and ensure the trust of money of rich financiers, is actually the meat of this story. So, if you were only looking for the history of man made diamonds, this isn't it. If you're looking solely f ...more
Mollie
Jun 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Glad for the Audible track

This was an interesting quick history of the diamond trade and the subsequent creation of synthetic diamonds. I am glad that the Audible listening track was available for this title as I dont know if I would have finished it without switching to audio book format. I enjoyed it for its historical relevance but lost interest in the presentation of the information a couple times. Still as a free download from Amazon's inventions collection it was worth the listen!
Pamela Scott
https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres...

I found this quite an interesting read. I’d never heard of the belle époque so it was interesting to read about an era I was unfamiliar with. The tale deals with the invention of cubic zirconia, fake diamonds rather than the real ones. This isn’t made clear until almost the end though I had my suspicions that real diamonds weren’t being made so easily. This is well research and fascinating though not quite enough to earn 4-stars.
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Marsha
Sep 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
I thought this had to be fiction but it’s a true story. In 1905 man named Henri Lemoine managed to convince De Beers diamond mine executives and Marcel Proust to invest in his invention. He said that he could create synthetic diamonds from coal in about 30 minutes that they could all make a fortune.
The men agreed to place the secret formula in a safe to be opened after Lemoine’s death.
His con brought him what today would be millions. Made him an international celebrity. Then he disappeared.
I lis
...more
Bookphile
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have a bit of a weakness for books like these, particularly when they tell the story of some famous historical swindler. This one was weird and interesting, and though it's specific to the Belle Epoque, it could have been written today and been just a relevant, as far as tales of corporate greed go.
Jasmine Davis
Mar 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Just ok

Interesting story, but not sure how accurate it is considering by her own account, that there was not much research available and based on one actual book detailing the history. Also she doesn't know what happened to Lemoine after his prison sentence. It just felt incomplete to me
Lisa
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Man-made diamonds or an elaborate hoax?

This was my favorite of the "Belle Epoque" series as a humble man claims to have created man-made diamonds and the potentially catastrophic effects such a talent would have on the diamond industry.
Jennifer
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Invention, intrigue, a famous court case, swindlers and plutocrats- all the key elements of a French scandal... even better, it’s true. If you enjoyed “A Mind of Her Own,” Paula McLain’s piece on Madame Curie, you’ll likely enjoy this one as well.
Kent Winward
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I probably found this more enjoyable than most would with the nice parable/commentary on economics and gems, couched in a true crime/con narrative because of my brother's work as a gemologist and diamond hawker and my work in consumer based financial trauma.
Susan Cadwallader
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fun. Very interesting.

Snippet of unknown, or little known, man-made diamond hoax. Historical treatment of story with citations made the fraudster’s shenanigans funnier then if it was fiction.
Aaron Bellamy
Nov 01, 2019 rated it liked it
The Diamond Formula (3.5) is an interesting story well told. There’s a kind of glossing over of many cruelties here that I felt could have been illuminated, but that would have probably sunk the tale’s obvious intent to charm. A good con, like its protagonist, and entertaining.
Mark
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Charming story of how a turn of the century con man convinced the DeBeers diamond company he could manufacture synthetic diamonds. Recommended.
Johannes J Smith
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Ha! He got ya

A tale of a confidence trixter and how he got away with it. Interesting reading well told. Recommended for all readers type

Mike
Apr 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting,quick little read
Iver Band
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Good Quick Read

Great combination of history, science, true crime and drama. Gives a good feeling for its historical period while portraying timeless human foibles.
Jim Gleason
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fun driving material as a listen
Yet another short listening read from Audible about a swindler claiming to create diamonds. Fun read as I drove. Short but enjoyable.
Janet Moulton
Apr 13, 2019 rated it liked it
The Inventions

One of three non-fiction novels, each written by different authors, available with Amazon Unlimited. I enjoy listening and learning while getting my chores done.
Jen
Apr 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting short story about a scam on DeBeers (or was it a scam?). Free on Amazon Prime Reading
Donna J Corboy
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Brief History of man made diamonds

A short glimpse into the mystery and magic of making synthetic diamonds. I like quick little history lessons like this short story.
Allison
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had no idea the early 20th century diamond industry was so exciting. What a fun telling of a true story! There’s trickery and science and adventure! Oh my!
Ed
Apr 20, 2019 rated it liked it
My first of these amazon short stories. Blood diamonds and bad blood indeed.
Erin-Joi
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Story 5
Narration 3
Overall 4
Jesse
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Crazy interesting and engaging!

I really enjoyed this book. I listened to the vast majority of it in my car while driving rather than reading it. The narrator was excellent!
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Alina Simone is a critically acclaimed singer who was born in Kharkov, Ukraine, and now lives in Brooklyn. Her music has been covered by a wide range of media, including BBC’s The World, NPR, Spin, Billboard, The New Yorker, and The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of the book You Must Go and Win. Note to Self is her debut novel.

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