The concept of kindness is not a new one. It is addressed in the holy books of all major religions. In the Quran, believers are instructed to do good without expectations and that kindness and forgiveness are marks of one's faith. In the Torah, believers are told to practice the act of chesed, which means kindness and giving of oneself to helping others without expecting compensation. The cultivation of loving kindness is considered an essential part of Buddhism. In Christianity, kindness is one of the fruits of the spirit and believers are instructed to love one's neighbor as oneself.
Kindness beliefs are not limited to religious practice. 19th century Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran stated "the smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention"; and Aesop, of the fables fame, decreed that "no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted". Acts of kindness are common themes in literature, such as Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist or Great Expectations, Edgar Allan Poe's The Cask of Amontillado and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
Modern figures from the Dalai Lama to Princess Diana also have spoken of the importance of kindness. So why does it matter?
Because it is a fundamental cornerstone of humanity. It is intentional. It is a pebble in a pond, influencing others to acts of kindness. I will continue to explore ways to practice kindness, so stay tuned.
The Curious Lore of Precious Stones by George Frederick Kunz
Kunz was a renowed gemologist and this work rewards the reader with the fruits of his studies.
Jewelry: From Antiquity to Present by Clare Phillips gives the reader a look at the ways in which humans have adorned themselves with jewelry since the beginning of recorded history.
Gem: The Definitive Visual Guide published by the Smithsonian introduces the reader to breadth of gemstones used for adornment and other purposes.
Gem Magic: Precious Stones and their Mystical Properties by Raymond Walters examines how gems have been used for other reasons than adornment, such as for protection in the form of talismans or healing as ground matter added to elixirs or potions.