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.
GIA FE03 (GIA Laboratory Bangkok Field Expedition 03): Feb. 06- Feb. 09, 2009: A visit to Houay Xai! For my third field expedition for GIA Laboratory Bangkok, we continued our plans to visit the different mining area I used to visit regularly from 2001 to 2007. After 2 years away it was important to visit again my different contacts in the field and get some first hand information about the current gemstone mining situation around Bangkok. This time with Walter Balmer, a former gemologist from the Gübelin Gem Lab currently doing a Ph.D. at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok and Mike Rogers, one of my former travel buddies in Kenya and Tanzania, we had a week end expedition to "Golden Triangle" in Northern Thailand to visit the sapphire mines on the Mekong river banks near Houay Xai (Laos):
After a long night on a bus, we arrived in Chiang Kong, the Thai city opposite of Houay Xai. There we were happy to meet again Khun Noc, my local contact in the area. Noc is a very friendly and knowledgeable Thai gem dealer and also an expert on blue sapphire and zircon heat treatment.
(Khun Nok, weighting some Houay Xai sapphires,
Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok, 2009)
We crossed to Laos together and scouted the former mining areas around the small Laotian city. No mining activity was visible around, but we heard that a Chinese company was to start mining again soon where several other companies were working few years ago. Nevertheless we saw several small sapphire parcels from local Laotian dealers and were able to get some mine runs from local Hmong people living on the top of the one of Houay Xai sapphire source: "Phu Houay Sala" volcano.
(Khun Nok and Mike Rogers checking a parcel of Houay Xai sapphire at Ban Houay Sala Hmong hill-tribe village.
Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok, 2009)
We completed out week end with a brief visit at Mae Sai border market located at the Thai- Burmese border. There besides faceted gems from all over the world, were we could see few interesting stones from Burma, mainly Mong Hsu rubies and Mong Hkak sapphires.
(A parcel of rought Mong Hsu rubies on a table at Mae Sai gem market.
Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok, 2009)
This third Field Expedition for GIA was interesting even if we could not have witnessed any mining: We got an update about the local situation and could nevertheless see some interesting stones. We will return to Houay Xai when the Chinese company will be mining... 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.