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:
This post is not about one of the author expeditions or about an article he collaborated with, but it is about one friend who was a constant source of inspiration for the author for many years. He was an inspiration before we actually met and he is still today as he is one of my most regular travel buddies: From 2005 to last month we visited Madagascar, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam ... That post is about my friend and mentor Richard W. Hughes.
Today I received the following press release (follow that link) from Sino Ressources Mining Corporation Ltd (Sino RMC) a mining company with a very interesting approach of gem mining. Richard W. Hughes has become CEO of the Sapphminco Division, and Senior Vice President of SinoRMC. Last Saturday he left Bangkok to Hong Kong where he will be based. This is sad news but also and good news.
Sad news as it will now be less easy for the author to meet Richard and benefit from his knowledge and experience about ruby and sapphires.
Good news as Richard will work on a very interesting project: Few months ago we visited together that mining operation on the Mekhong River banks near the city of Houay Xai in Laos. I visited already Houay Xai three times before that visit. Nevertheless that visit was a great surprise and one of the most interesting visit I had. The reason is simple: They were obviously trying to do there what I'm believing could be a great chance (and also a great challenge) for the gem industry:
I mean "conservation gem mining".
For several months visiting East Africa during summer 2009, the author visited several areas dedicated to conservation where gems were also produced. After spending 3 days under arrest in the Niassa National Reserve, trying to visit a ruby deposit in Mozambique, the author started to think seriously about concepts like "conservation gem mining" or "conservation gems". Nevertheless I was not thinking that just few months after I would visit a mining operation trying already to work for several years on such a project.
Nevertheless Simon, the CEO of SinoRMC asked me to stay quiet for a while, as he was not yet feeling ready to communicate about what they were doing. They had first to be able to present some results, not only a nice project. No problem: For the GIA Laboratory Bangkok, the important thing is to be able to collect reference samples for our research projects on origin determination of gemstones. I can stay quiet for months or years if necessary.
But recently Sino Resources Mining Corporation has put a website online, hired Richard and sent that press release: It will be very interesting to follow what will happen between Laos, Australia and Hong Kong... So it is now time for this blog to go online and reveal a glimpse of what is going on near the great Mekhong River.
"On the move again!"
(Richard W. Hughes on the Great Mekhong river between Houay Xai (Laos) and Chiang Khong (Thailand)
Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok, 2010)
With Richard on board, I wish SinoRMC all the best as, if succesful, their mining concept in Laos could be used as a very interesting case study to extend conservation gem mining to other ruby and sapphire deposits in Asia and Africa.
This post is not about one of my expeditions but about one person who was a constant source of inspiration for me since the day I bough and read his book "Ruby and Sapphire". I mean American gemologist Richard W. Hughes the author of Ruby and sapphire and the webmaster of www.ruby-sapphire.com.
After returning from an expedition near Mogok in Burma, I found that book and after reading it I discovered a true passion for gemology as "gemology is not just about science but it is also about art, history, culture, people, language, traditions..."
I got in contact with Richard for the first time through an Internet gemological forum and few months after we met in Bangkok during the ICA congress in February 2005. We became instant friends and Richard was since then one of the best friend a young gemologist could have: His priceless advises, his permanent support were all the time very useful to me in order to make the right choices. In many aspects Richard W. Hughes is a key founderand one of the driving forces behind field gemology.org.
Richard hired me as a tour guide to take him to Madagascar in September 2005 and during that two weeks expedition to Ilakaka and Andilamena we had the time to brainstorm about many different subjects including this website.
Without Richard I would probably not be the gemologist I'm today, traveling around the world to visit gemstone mining areas and collect reference samples for the GIA. Without Richard this website would not be what it is now and also I would probably not have been able to visit some of the mining areas I visited since 2005. The fact is that one of the most important thing while traveling to gem mining areas is to have a good, motivated, enjoyable and reliable travel buddy. In fact traveling together and writting articles together as we did about spinel, tsavorite and tanzanite is a way to motivate each other to continue doing some good work.
Thanks to Richard constructive comments, Field Gemology.org looks better, my photos are also better and it is a pleasure to continue working on this concept.
"Congratulations Mister Hughes!!!"
Richard W. Hughes getting a happy birthday congrats from some sparkling travel buddies (left Mike Rogers, right "Guji" Soubiraa) just returning from an underground visit in Merelani Bloc D Tanzanite mining tunnels in October 2007.
Photo: V. Pardieu, 2007
So well done Richard! Congratulations for all your efforts to promote gemology, and gemological research, to disseminate useful information through all your publications on paper and on the Internet.
You are the man!
I'm hoping that this award will give you even more motivation to continue all the good work you are doing... and (lets be selfish a little bit...) that we will see soon a new edition of your masterpiece: Ruby and Sapphire!
Expedition to gemstones mining areas in Tanzania: (October 2007):
Introduction: This report (in two parts) presents the details of the field expedition to Tanzania lead by the author in October 2007. The author was then working as a gemologist for the Gubelin Gem Lab in Lucerne, Switzerland when his friend Richard W. Hughes (working then at the AGTA GTC Laboratory) asked him if he could help him to visit Tanzanian gem deposits in East Africa. After some difficult negociatiosn with his laboratory the author was allowed to take some holidays and travel to Tanzania with Richard W. Hughes and his group.
The group was composed of Richard W Hughes, the author of "Ruby and Sapphire", Warne and Monty Chitty, Mike Rogers, Guillaume Soubiraa and Philippe Brunot. For the expedition we got the support of Mark Saul (From Swala gem traders) and Abdul Y. Msellem a young Tanzanian broker who was already the author guide in Tanzania during his previous visit in 2005.
We started our visit in the north of the country in Arusha.
We travelled first to Morogoro where we visited some moonstone (I should probably say "peristerite"...) and corundum deposits. Then we continued to Mahenge to visit ruby and spinel mining areas. The visit was interesting as it was just few months after the discovery of several huge spinel crystals. Then we took the road to Songea and Tunduru famous for their sapphire mines. After that we continued to Ruangwa to visit its tsavorite mines. We returned then to the north of the country where we visited the Tanzanite mines at Merelani, emerald and alexandrite mines at Manyara, tsavorite mines near Komolo village and tourmaline mines near Lendanai in the Massai steppe.
Two reports are available on fieldgemology.org (with the old design of fieldgemology.org, before Dec 2009)
Eric Saul, (from Swala Gem Traders) presents proudly to the author an exceptional red spinel from Mahenge. The stone weighting more than 10 carats is exceptionally clean and is believed to have been cut from one of the giant crystals found in Mahenge during summer 2007. Photo: V. Pardieu, 2007
This expedition to Tanzania was in fact very succesful not only for the areas visited and the samples collected but also for the contact created with local miners and traders. Few weeks after the author return in Switzerland, his local contact Abdul Y. Msellem informed him of the discovery of a ruby deposit near Winza.
These expedition reports were also the base of two publications in collaboration with Richard W. Hughes:
"Working the Blueseam: The Tanzanite Mines of Merelani" about Tanzanite mining at Merelani, available both of fieldgemology.org and ruby-sapphire.com
- "Downtown: Gem hunting in Central & Southern Tanzania"
about our expedition to the south of the country, available also both on fieldgemology.org and ruby-sapphire.com
A visit to gem markets and gem mining areas in Madagascar (Autumn 2005):
Abstract of the Madagascar Autumn 2005 expedition: For that expedition the author was asked by Richard Hughes and his friend Dana Schorr if he could take him to visit the sapphire deposit in Ilakaka and the ruby deposit in Andilamena the author recenrly visited in June 2005. That expedition was the first time the author was traveling in the field with Richard W. Hughes. It was a great occasion for the author to spend some time with the author of "Ruby and Sapphire" the book that was largely responsible for the author decision to move from his past tour guide career into a becoming a gemologist.
That expedition was planned with the support of Tom Cushman, Danile Grondin and Marc Noveraz. We started our visit traveling from Antananarivo to Ilakaka where we visited the sapphire mine run by Marc Noveraz at Ampasimamitaka. That visit was an important one as later the analysis of the sapphires collected there revealed that some of these blue sapphires were containing naturally significant levels of beryllium, an element that was so far only believed to be present in beryllium treated stones. After visiting the Ilakaka and Sakaraha sapphire mining area we returned to Antananarivo and took the road to Andilamena. There we visited the Andrebabe sapphire deposit and the ruby deposit located in the jungle East of Andilamena.
"Gemologists at Andilamena" Left to right: Richard W. Hughes, Dana Schorr and Vincent Pardieu posing in front of the ruby mining village in the jungle East of Andilamena, at the time of our visit between 5 to 10,000 people were living there in the jungle mining rubies. Photo: "Aime", 2005
After that expedition a report was published by Richard Hughes on his website: "Sorcerers and sapphires, a visit to Madagascar" on www.ruby-sapphire.com. On his side the author published two short articles for InColor, the ICA Magazine, and the "Revue Francaise de Gemmologie AFG" about the discovery of sapphires containing naturally beryllium:
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.