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:
(Campbell Bridges in Tsavo, Kenya. Photo: J.B. Senoble, 2005)
Aug. 12, 2009: "A mountain will be missed in East Africa ":
I learned today that Campbell Bridges was murdered near his mine in Kenya. It seems that he was ambushed after a dispute with a group of people over some mining rights controversy. His son Bruce Bridges was also wounded in the event.
An video from the BBC where Bruce explained what happened in an interview can be found at the following link:
This news was a real shock for me as the last time we met we were speaking about meeting each other again in October in Tsavo. Now I feel like lost.
I met Campbell at several occasions in Africa, Paris and recently at the ICA congress in Panyu, China. Meeting him at his tsavorite mine in Taita hills in Kenya in July 2005, Jean Baptiste Senoble and I had some of the best moments of our expedition in Africa. Campbell was a wonderful story teller, and it was an incredible pleasure to listen from his lips the history of his discovery of tsavorite in Kenya around a fresh beer. Thanks to him Tsavorite was named after Tsavo National Park in Kenya. Visiting his mine, we learned a lot about the geology of Tsavorite. But it was not just about the information; he was a real character, a great source of inspiration particularly for the article about tsavorite I wrote few months ago. Campbell Bridges, like John Saul, is one of these East African gemological monuments, people with a great knowledge and who changed the things about gemology and East Africa. I think particularly about people like Campbell when I say that "Gemology is not just about science but also about people".
Today the gemological community world wide is shocked to have lost Campbell. I went to his website www.tsavorite.com this morning: It is a very nice website, an example for the whole industry showing that tsavorite, and particularly the tsavorite from the Bridges mines, is more that just a commodity: There is a lot of information about this beautiful gem and its history. A blog can be found there for visitors to let a message.
It was great to visit these pages again, but next time I will visit East Africa for sure a mountain will be missed:
"What could be more romantic than a superb flashing green gemstone,
that originate from a mysterious and beautiful land
where the roars of the hunting lion shatter the silence of a star-filled African night."
Nothing Campbell, nothing... You are so right!
I just want to add few words:
"Thanks you so much Campbell to have taken the time to receive us and turn two young gemologists into tsavorite lovers. It was a priceless pleasure.
You did so much to promote Africa, Kenya and the gem you loved, and for your family.
Finally your life was brutaly stolen...
What a life!
You have all my admiration.
Now you belong to Tsavo, gemology and history, we will remember you.
Learn more about Campbell Bridges and his discovery of Tsavorite visiting www.tsavorite.com
Wishing that Bruce will recover soon, and that he will be able to look forward.
This sad event show how difficult gem mining in Africa is.
All the best to Bruce Bridges, his family, friends and of course to beautiful Tsavo and tsavorite.
This article written by the author in association with Richard W. Hughes was first published in InColor, Fall 2008, pp. 36–45, the magazine of the ICA (International Colored stone Association).It was a special request from the ICA as they had appreciated another article from the author about tsavorite called "Tsavorite, une pierre Africaine" published in the French gemological magazine: "Revue de gemmologie AFG" in 2005.
"Tsavorite cut, rough and porphyroblast from Tsavo region, Kenya" Stones courtesy: Genson Micheni Musa/ Tsavolite Co Ltd, Photo: V. Pardieu/Gübelin Gem Lab, 2007
Traveling to East Africa in 2005 with Jean Baptiste Senoble, the author priorities were mainly rubies and sapphire, nevertheless Jean Baptiste Senoble had a contagious passion for green stones and motivated the author to add to their visit schedule the tsavorite deposits located in Tsavo near the ruby mines. Things became worse for the author when JB Senoble got the support of African mining veteran Campbell Bridges, then he got into a passion for the "Untamed green beauty".
There is nothing more contagious than traveling to the source with a gem afficionado. Few years after that first adventure, the author was each time he got a possibility, the author was enjoying visiting tsavorite deposits. With this article the authors are trying to explain their interest for this fascinating gem.
A visit to Tsavo ruby and tsavorite mining areas, Kenya (October 2007):
The following "Gemstone mines of Kenya" web pages presents the result of the two gemological expeditions to East Africa in Jul. and Aug. 2005 and Oct. 2007.
The July and August 2005 expedition was a join expedition financed by the AIGS gemological Laboratory in Bangkok, Thailand (where the author was then the Laboratory Director), the Gubelin Gem Lab, in Lucerne Switzerland and Jean Baptiste Senoble, a young gemologist who was interested, after completing his gemological studies at the AIGS, to discover where the gems which were fascinating him where coming from. It was possible thanks to the support of the ICA (International Colored stone Association).
The Oct 2007 expedition was also part of a larger expedition to East Africa initiated by Richard W. Hughes, the author of "Ruby and Sapphire". The author was then gemologist at the Gubelin Gem Lab. Two young gemologists: Guillaume Soubiraa and Michael Rogers, and one of Guillaume friends: Philippe Brunot joined us in this expedition to Kenya.
The purpose of these expeditions was to visit ruby, sapphire, alexandrite, emerald, tsavorite, tanzanite and tourmaline mines in Kenya and Tanzania for gemological research purpose. Origin determination of gemstones like rubies and sapphires is the passion and an important part of the work I had to do while working in gemological labs like AIGS, Gubelin or later GIA. It is then important for a gemologist willing to specialized himself in the origin determination of gemstones to collect data on gems not only studying the reference collection inside the gem lab but also directly at the source. As a former tour guide, turned into a gemologist, it is my pleasure to share the benefit of these expeditions with you and I hope that it will benefit to the people who welcomed and helped us in the field.
"A fine Tsavorite find"
Kenya tsavorite miner Genson Micheni Musa from the Tsavolite mine is proudly presenting to the author a fine tsavorite porphyroblast. Photo: V. Pardieu, 2007
Please visit the following "Kenya Gemstone Mines" pages (All pages in the old design before Dec 2008)
A visit to gem markets and gem mining areas in Kenya (Summer 2005):
Abstract of the Kenya 2005 page (Available at that link):
This web page presents the field expedition lead by Vincent Pardieu (then Director of the AIGS Gemological Laboratory, Bangkok, Thailand) to Kenya in July 2005. This fieldtrip was part of the expedition supported by the AIGS gemological laboratory and the Gubelin Gem Lab with the help of ICA to Asia and Africa during summer 2005. During that expedition the author was helped by Jean Baptiste Senoble, a young French gemologist who studied gemology at AIGS in Bangkok in 2005.
That expedition was planned with the support of ICA Member Suzie Kennedy and her husband Kennedy Khamwathi, a couple of Nairobi based Kenyan gem merchants. We started our visit traveling from Nairobi to Simba, a new ruby deposit on the road linking Nairobi to Voi and Mombasa. Then we continued to the Tsavo area visiting numerous ruby and tsavorite mines. Finally we returned to Nairobi to travel north and visit the Baringo area producing interesting basalt related rubies.
"ICA member Suzie Kennedy presenting a parcel of rough Baringo rubies".
Photo: V. Pardieu/AIGS/Gubelin Gem Lab/ICA, 2005
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.