Important Note: The author: Vincent Pardieu is an employee of GIA (Gemological Institute of America) Laboratory Bangkok since Dec 2008. Any views expressed on this website - and in particular any views expressed by Vincent Pardieu - are the authors' opinions and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GIA or GIA Laboratory Bangkok . GIA takes no responsibility and assumes no liability for any content on this website nor is GIA liable for any mistakes or omissions you may encounter. GIA is in particular not screening, editing or monitoring the content on this website and has no possibility to remove, screen or edit any content.
We are gemologists (gemmologists) sharing a passion for gemstones, gemolology (gemmology), gem people and traveling.
You will find in this website gemological expedition reports and some studies of gemological interest.
Visiting many gem mining areas we saw that people in remote mining and trading areas have difficulties to access to gemological publications. As today the Internet can be accessed in most of these gem mining areas and trading centers, the author started to build this website to give gem people living there the opportunity to see the result of the gemological expeditions they were associated in. It is a way to thanks them for their time and collaboration and to help them to get access to more gemological information.
At the same time the author hope that these expedition reports will please the people from consuming countries interested in gemstones and fascinated by their mysterious origins. Our purpose here is to help people facing difficulties to get quality first hand information about gems and their origins to get the information they need through this website and its links.
With our field expeditions to gemstone mines and gem markets around the world, we intend also here to share our passion for photography, gems and our fascination for the work of the "Gem People" bringing gemstones from the ground to magnificent jewelry.
From the gems external beauty to the intimate beauty of gemstone inclusions, from gem lore to the mines, the people and the landscapes gems origin from, we expect to share with you our passion for gemstone beauty.
We also invite you to join us on some gemological forums we are active in as they are convenient tools to get rapid answers to your questions as they are regularly visited by many other passionate gemologists, jewelers, hobbyists and professionals willing to learn more and share their knowledge about gemstones.
Index page: Vincent Pardieu's Blog
About the Author
About me : How did a countryside Frenchman became a "Shameless travel addicted gemologist"? ( Under construction)
Sep. 2005: Madagascar with Richard W. Hughes and Dana Schorr (Will be available one of these days...)
Summer 2005: Gemological expeditions to South East Asia (Vietnam) South Asia (Sri Lanka) and East Africa (Kenya, Madagascar and Tanzania) with J.B. Senoble and Tanguy Lagache with the support of the AIGS, the ICA and the Gubelin Gem Lab:
- Introduction to AIGS/ICA/Gubelin Gem lab 2005 Expeditions
Special THANKS for their support for our field expeditions since 2005:
about gems, gemology, field expeditions, studying gemology, minerals, jade, pearls or jewelry? We recommend these FORUMS where the author is contributing:
Do you want to STUDY GEMOLOGY?
Here are some recommended institutes where the author studied gemology in Thailand ... and was happy about his investment!
For those willing to go further after their gemological studies: Recommended Advanced Gemological Courses:
To finish here are some BOOKS about gemology the author have read and appreciated and would like to recommend to people willing to learn more about gemstones, gemology and the places where gemstones are found:
GIA FE07 (GIA Laboratory Bangkok Field Expedition 07): Apr. 24 - Apr. 25, 2009: Khao Ploy Waen and Bo Rai
Last week end we decided with Richard W. Hughes to continue scouting the former gem mining areas in the Chanthaburi - Trat province. Our goal was this time to visit again the places around Bo Rai Richard visited at the end of the 1990's when he wrote for his website: www.ruby-sapphire.com an article about the Death of the Thai ruby. (Note from the author: After this join expedition Richard W.Hughes recently put online an update of that article: "Red sky at Dusk: Hunting the last Siamese ruby miner".) For that new week end expedition we had as travel companion two veterans from our expedition to the Phnum Trop volcano near Pailin (FE04): Philippe Ressigeac and Olivier Segura: Olivier and philippe just finished their gemological studies at GIA Thailand.
We started our expedition with a visit as usual around Khao Ploy Waen. There we were able to visit and spend some time at two small mechanized sapphire mining operation. It was nice to meet the mine manager, an English speaking and very friendly character with a big black star sapphire ring and many gold amulets as necklace!
(Details on the black star sapphire ring of the Khao Ploy Waen mine owner: The stone was reported to have been mine here. Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok, 2009)
After visiting Khao Ploy Waen we left to Bo Rai. There we started to enquiry about any remaining gem mining area, local people told us to go near the Cambodian border, there may be we could find something. We drove on the road Richard took several years ago while searching for the last ruby mine of Thailand at a time when, along the Thai-Cambodian border, the "Khmer rouge" were still fighting the Cambodian government and its Vietnamese allies. Richard was then stopped by the Thai military and could not see the gem mining there. This time if we saw and passed many military check points, nobody stopped us to go further to the border. Driving on dirt roads through the mountainous jungle we saw many signals warning us about mines... A bamboo cutter, who lost his leg in the area, confirmed to us that these signals were not here for decoration or to warn "travel addicted gemologists" visiting the area about ruby mines: They were here to warn about land mines which are still numerous in the area.
(My travel buddy Richard W. Hughes and one of the red "danger mines" signals we saw all along the dirt road cutting through the Thai jungle near the Cambodian border... If ruby mines are not dangerous, land mines on the other hand are with malaria one of the nasty threads of the area.
Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok, 2009)
Finally as the mountain road was too steep, we had to abandon our "songteaw", the typical small pick up we hired in Chanthaburi to take us around. We continued then walking to the border where we met few friendly soldiers who gave us some useful information for our quest: There was nearby one place where people were probably still searching for gems: A place called "Pai Khwai". Asking regularly our way to different groups of local people cutting bamboo in the forest we found our way to "Pai Khwai" which turned to be a cashew nut plantation. There we stopped as there was no way to go further and we started to speak with the people working at the plantation. Two guys got immediately excited and told us that they were indeed searching for rubies each day. Sadly it was already late in the afternoon and they had finished their day. The good point was that we could see and buy their production and that we will be able to come back one of these week end to get more samples directly from the mines for our studies at GIA. They were very friendly and were working here for 5 years going once or twice a month to Bo Rai in order to sell their gems. They were working using very simple hand tools: An iron stick and a hand made sieve... Ruby mining was for them a good way not to loose their time, a way to get an additional income as we commonly saw in many parts of Asia and Africa, and a way to have a chance to find some good stone and to eventually become rich! "Hope" is everywhere the gem miner's mistress... and "hard work" his daily life!
("The last ruby miners of Thailand", a Cashew nut plantation worker present us the small rubies he found that day in the area. Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok, 2009)
They were possibly the last ruby miners of Thailand: Richard W. Hughes was able to add and end to his old story about the last ruby mine of Thailand and I had some good samples to bring back at the GIA lab. We will have great time studying them. Great week end!
Important Note: Vincent Pardieu is an employee of GIA (Gemological Institute of America) Laboratory Bangkok since Dec 2008. Any views expressed on this website - and in particular any views expressed by Vincent Pardieu - are the authors' opinions and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GIA or GIA Laboratory Bangkok. GIA takes no responsibility and assumes no liability for any content on this website nor is GIA liable for any mistakes or omissions you may encounter. GIA is in particular not screening, editing or monitoring the content on this website and has no possibility to remove, screen or edit any content.