Thanks and disclaimer:


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.


About FieldGemology. org

This website is home for "Shameless Travel Addicted Gemologist" Vincent Pardieu (B.Sc., GGA, G.G.). Vincent is "Supervisor, Field Gemology" at GIA Laboratory Bangkok. He is a gemologist specialized on "origin determination of gemstones".
This is also home for Vincent's regular traveling companions: David Bright, Jean Baptiste Senoble, Richard W. Hughes, Guillaume Soubiraa, Walter Balmer, Michael Rogers, Kham Vannaxay and many others like recently: Philippe Ressigeac, Oliver Segura , Flavie Isatelle and Lou Pierre Bryl.

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.


Website Map


Index page: Vincent Pardieu's Blog

About the Author

About me : How did a countryside Frenchman became a "Shameless travel addicted gemologist"? ( Under construction)


Contact the author:


Write Comments:

Fieldgemology Page on facebook

Popular Articles

"Tsavorite, an Untamed Gem" with R.W.Hughes, first published in ICA's InColor (Winter 2008)
"Working the blue seam" The Tanzanite mines of Merelani with R.W.Hughes first published on
"Spinel, the resurection of a Classic" with R.W. Hughes, first published in ICA's InColor (Summer 2008)

Gemological studies

(Apr. 2009) "Sapphires reportedly from Batakundi / Basil area" a preliminary study about unusual sapphires we saw at GIA Laboratory Bangkok
(Mar. 2009) "Rubies from Niassa province, Mozambique" a preliminary study about rubies we saw at GIA Laboratory Bangkok
"Lead glass filled rubies" :
First published on AIGS Lab Website (Feb 2005)

Expedition Reports

Autumn. 2009: GIA Field Expedition FE09: Rubies from Mozambique. (pdf file)

May. 2009: GIA Field Expedition FE08: Melos and their pearls in Vietnam. (pdf file)

Dec. 2008 and Feb-Mar. 2009: GIA Field Expeditions FE01 and FE04: Rubies and sapphires from Pailin, Cambodia. (pdf file)

Aug. 2008: Sapphires and Tsavorite from the south of Madagascar with the AFG (Association francaise de Gemmologie) : Available soon...

Apr. 2008: Expedition to the new Winza ruby deposit in central Tanzania with Jean Baptiste Senoble and the support of the Gubelin Gem Lab

October 2007: Gemological expedition to East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) with Richard W. Hughes, Mike Rogers, Guillaume Soubiraa, Warne and Monty Chitty and Philippe Bruno:

Summer 2006: Expeditions to Central Asia gem wealth with Guillaume Soubiraa and the support of the AIGS, the ICA and the Gubelin Gem Lab:

Oct. 2005: Colombia by J.B. Senoble

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:

- Feb. 2005: A visit to Thailand, Cambodia with the AFG (Association Francaise de Gemmologie) (under construction)

- 2002-2007: Expeditions to Pailin (Cambodia), Chanthaburi Kanchanaburi (Thailand) Houay Xai (Laos) Mogok, Namya (Burma) (under construction)

- 2001: Expeditions to Namya, Hpakant and then Mogok with Ted and Angelo Themelis and Hemi Englisher (under construction)

Find our blogs using the following Keywords:

     black star sapphire
     Bo Rai
     Dak Nong
     Di Linh
     Fair Trade
     Field Report GIA
     Gemological study
     Ha Long
     Ha Long Bay
     Houay Xai
     Khao Ploy Waen
     Kho Laem Sing
     Kul I Lal
     lead glass filled ruby
     Luc Yen
     Mae Sot
     Mong Hsu
     pearl farm
     Phan Thiet
     Quy Chau
     Richard W. Hughes
     Richard Wise
     Sri Lanka
     star ruby
     Yen Bai

Find our photos using the following Keywords:

     Bai Lai
     Ha Long
     Ha Long Bay
     Luc Yen
     Minh Tien
     pearl farm
     star ruby
     Tan Huong
     Thac Ba

Discover fieldgemology newsletter:
(Currently under "hibernation status"...)

Number 01: Sept 2006
(I know: it was long time ago...)



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

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:




Creative Commons License

The photos and articles on are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Feel free to use the photos and articles with links and credits. No commercial use without permission.
All the best,

October 17th, 2009 | Keywords:IGC , Merelani , Longido , Manyara , Tanzania , congress Travel |
Blog Title: GIA FE09 Oct. 08 - Oct. 15, 2009: 31st IGC Congress Arusha

GIA FE09 (GIA Laboratory Bangkok Field Expedition 09): Part 05: Oct. 08 - Oct. 15, 2009: 31st IGC Congress Arusha:

After spending many hours driving on dusty roads or visiting mines, these few days in Arusha were the occasion to meet a lot of people, attend to interesting presentations and also travel around Arusha to visit mining area with the rest of the gemologist attending the IGC.


But first you may wonder what exactly the IGC is?


The I.G.C. stands for the "International Gemological Conference". It was started in Europe in 1952 by a group of enthusiastic gemologists, including the famed Prof. Edward Gubelin. It is a bi-annual gathering which is attended by gemologists from around 30 different countries. The main goal of this organization is to enable cooperation between gemologists from around the world particularly between gemologists from gem producing countries and gem consuming countries. Membership is by invitation only, and has some specific rules: Typically each country can have only a maximum of 2 to 5 representatives (depending on country size) selected on the basis of scientific and ethical standards. This organization is independent from any commercial operation. Besides the normal members, the organizer can also invite some guests to attend to the conference. Usually the IGC is then some kind of "old timers" meeting but this time, and this is something very new, several young gemologists were among the people invited to the conference.

I was invited at the 31st IGC as a guest by John Saul and his son Mark Saul (Swala gem Traders), as they knew that I was traveling to East Africa for the GIA Laboratory Bangkok at the time of the IGC. It was my first participation to such event and it was a real pleasure. The event despite the economic crisis was successful: It was well attended with about 40 people from about 15 countries including many friends.

The conference was open on Oct 9th in the evening after a speech from the Governor of the Arusha region. The opening ceremony was followed on Oct 10th and 11th of 2 days with interesting gemological presentations at the Arusha hotel. There was an obvious focus on gemstone deposits and gems from East Africa, but these were also several interesting presentations about pearls, diamonds and some general gemological topics. As a guest of John Saul I was not supposed to give a presentation, nevertheless Thanong Leelawathanasuk from the GIT who was giving a presentation on Mozambique rubies was very nice to invite me at the end of his presentation to give an update about the different ruby mining areas in Mozambique.


The conference was the occasion for the IGC board to be renewed. It is composed now of the following seven members (by alphabetical order): Georges Bosshart (Switzerland), Emmanuel Fritsch (France), Henry Hanni (Switzerland), Michael Krzemnicki (Switzerland), Jayshree Panjikar (India), John Saul (International), Tay Thye Sun (Singapore), Gamini Zoysa (Sri Lanka) and Hanco Zwaan (Netherlands)


At the end of the conference, as usual the people attending the conference were asked about the location of the next IGC, the only proposal was from Michael Krzemnicki who proposed to host the 32nd IGC in Switzerland in 2011.


It was also proposed to create a website for the IGC which in my opinion would be a good thing as it was not easy to get reliable information about what is the IGC on the Internet.

But the IGC was not just about nice gemological presentations and coctails parties in a cosy hotel: At the end of the congress we had 3 days with short field trips to gemstones mines around Arusha...

The lab rats were going to explore rat holes!

It was a pleasure to get a chance to go to the field with some gemological monuments. A real pleasure, fun and interesting!


- On Monday 12th, 2009 we went to visit the Tanzanite One mining operation in Merelani. For the occasion Tanzanite One gave us the possibility to visit the Tanzanite Museum which will be open to the public within few weeks. With the rest of the group I went underground and visited the shaft Tanzanite One arranged for the public: The JW shaft. That was interesting as in 2005 I visited the "Main Shaft" and during my last visit in sept. I visited the "Investor shaft".

For more info on Tanzanite: Please follow the link to our Tanzanite article.


"Tired but happy: Tay Thye Sun (Singapore) and Jashree Panjikar (India) are returning from an underground visit

at the JW shaft: Tanzanite One oldest pit in Merelani"
Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok, 2009

- On Tuesday 13th, 2009 we went to visit the oldest gemstone mining area in East Africa: The Mundarara ruby mine at Longido producing mainly carving quality ruby in zoizite material for nearly 50 years. I visited already the mine in 2005 with Jean Baptiste Senoble. It was a pleasure to travel to the mine driving through the Massai in the North of Mount Kilimanjaro: On the way we saw several giraffes, oastriches, zebras, gazelles and antelopes. This new visit at Longido was interesting as unlike in 2005 we were able to go underground, witness how ruby on zoizite was mined and collect underground some interesting reference samples.


"The IGC group going down in Longido ruby mine"
Dr. Benjamin Rondeau from Nantes University (France) is getting ready to go 300 meters underground in what

is probably East Africa's oldest mining pit.
Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok, 2009

- On Wednesday 14th, 2009 we went to visit the Manyara emerald and alexandrite mines located near the famous Manyara National Park. It was interesting to see the difference few years after my visit in 2007. To reach the mine we entered the Manyara National Park by the north and drove for about one hour through the Park bordering Lake Manyara which was very dry. On the way we could see many wild animals: Elephants, buffaloes, antilopes, giraffes, baboons, and many birds. It is all the time a pleasure for me to see Nature associated gemstones. The fact is that national parks are truly gems as they also fit to the definition of a gem as they associate beauty, (sadly) rarity and (I hope...) durability.


"Exploring emerald and alexandrite mines in Manyara "
Visiting the alexandrite and emerald mining area near Manyara I could not resist to explore the old mine tunnels.
Prof. E. Fritsch from Nantes University (France) was following me underground. I was impressed!
Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok, 2009

- After that most of the people attending the conference went to visit the Williamson diamond mine while some others went to visit the Mahenge spinel mining area or the Winza ruby and sapphire mines. On my side I left for the week end with an old buddy: Swiss gemologist and geologist Walter Balmer who was also attending the conference. Walter gave a very interesting presentation about the geology of the ruby rich Uluguru Mountains near Morogoro. He was also traveling in East Africa for about a month around Mahenge and Morogoro. We decided that it was time to take two days resting. We then went to fulfill an old dream and went camping on the Ngorongoro caldera. That was gemmy!

"Camping on the Ngorongoro caldera "
Camping in the wild in East Africa is all the time an interesting experience, in the evening an elephant was quietly feeding while around the camping site, while during the night a pack of zebra visited us doing weird noise. In the morning it was nice to meet 20 meters from the camp entrance a wandering hyena!
Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok, 2009

It was a very interesting visit as I was able to rest and think a bit about some projects I wanted to work on for many years.

On October 17th I then left to Nairobi in Kenya to try to visit the Tsavorite and ruby deposits in Tsavo area in Southern Kenya.


All the best,

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.