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 FE09 (GIA Laboratory Bangkok Field Expedition 09): Part 02: Sep. 02 - Sep. 20, 2009: Mozambique:
This is the second part of the GIA Field Expedition to East Africa, I'm leading for the GIA Laboratory Bangkok: I arrived in Nampula, Mozambique from Dar Es Salaam with gemologists Lou Pierre Bryl (Canada), Stephane Jacquat (Switzerland) and Jean Baptiste Senoble (France) on Sep. 20th 2009. We were welcome at the airport by Moussa Konate of "Mozambique Gems Ltd". Moussa Konate is one of the partners in the "paraiba like" tourmaline mining operation in Mavuco.
Our objectives were to visit the tourmaline deposit near Mavuco village (A deposit which was visited in the past by my colleague at GIA Brendan Laurs who helped me to prepare this expedition) and the different ruby deposits in Niassa and Cabo Delgado areas in Northern Mozambique in order to complete the work we already done at GIA Laboratory about rubies and tourmalines from Mozambique:
About rubies from Mozambique, I invite you to read the following:
See Rubies from Northern Mozambique on www.giathai.net, it is a big pdf on which we communicate our results after studies rubies reportedly from Mozambique we studied at the GIA Laboratory Thailand beginning 2009.
- "Pareciba Paraiba", meaning "Paraiba like", tourmalines from Mavuco, Mozambique: Visiting the Mozambique gems mining operation at Mavuco was easy as Moussa Konate and his Brazilian partner Keke Saint-Clair Fonceca were present. We visited the area twice, a first time with Mozambique gems geologist: Enrique Shirinza, a second time with Moussa Konate and Keke Saint-Clair Fonceca. We could witness the mining and washing process. An update about copper bearing tourmaline mining in Mozambique will be soon published by GIA with the information collected during our visit.
"Moussa Konate and a large purple tourmaline from Mavuco, Mozambique."
Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok, 2009
On Sept 08th 2009 we moved to the Niassa province in order to try to visit the ruby deposit near M'sawize village.
It seems that this deposit was discovered one year ago, around Oct. 2008, when a gem rush succeeded the discovery by a local hunter of some good rubies which rapidly found their way to the Tanzanian gem market in Songea and Mpwapwa. The new rubies were then visible in gem cutting centers like Bangkok where I first saw some of these Niassa rubies (see the GIA Lab Bangkok study on the subject). After visiting the Lichinga mining office to get a "credencial" we tried on Sep. 09, 2009 to visit the ruby mining area near M'sawize village with a mining technician from the "Direccao Provincial dos Recursos Minerais e Energia do Niassa" and a local policeman from the Mavago district in which M'sawize is located. Nevertheless after about 8 hours traveling by car and then motorbikes from Lichinga we were stopped 3 kilometers from the mining site by a joint force of Niassa Reserve rangers and Mozambique border patrol police forces as a result of what seems to be a misunderstanding between the Lichinga mining department and the people from the Niassa Reserve where the ruby deposit is located. We spent then two days under arrest in the Niassa bush with the local rangers. These were tough days but we became rapidly friends with the rangers and the policemen who arrested us. We were then provided some interesting information about the difficulties they had with illegal mining in the Niassa Reserve. The fact is that the arrival of several thousands of miners and traders is not without consequences for the area. We were told by the rangers about poaching of wild animals and about some destruction of the local environment. In order to stop these illegal mining activities, the Niassa Rangers and the Mozambique police lead a police operation in Niassa in June 2009 and few days before our attempt to visit the mines they built a special camp and a well armed force in order to stop and arrest all people trying to visit the mining area. We were one of their first catch! It seems that after these police operations most miners moved to Montepuez where a new ruby deposit was found recently.
After 2 days in the Niassa reserve with the rangers we returned alive, healthy and free to Lichinga.
Back in Nampula, thanks to the information provided by the rangers, we were able to contact the Niassa reserve management and currently we are discussing for a possible new visit to the M'sawize ruby deposit in collaboration with them: Things looks very positive but well we will have to be a little bit patient.
"Under arrest in the Niassa bush"
Left to right: Stephane Jacquat, Jean Baptiste Senoble and Lou Pierre Bryl getting ready to sleep around our fire in the Niassa bush.
Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok, 2009
On Sep. 16th 2009, we travelled to Pemba in order to try to visit the new ruby mining area near Montepuez. This time we were in contact with the owner of the game reserve on which the mining area is located. We were expecting then that everything would be fine in order to visit the new ruby mines. But visiting the office of the Pemba mining officer were told that he would not support our projects to visit the area as the situation was very tense at the mining area as the presidential campaign had just started and because ruby mining there is all except legal: Several thousand of illegal miners and gem traders are while I write these words "playing hide and seek" with the police forces. The mining officer asked us to be patient... and to wait after the elections to visit the Montepuez ruby mining area.
We decided to follow his advise and not to loose our time we visited several dealers and studied the stones they had. The result of our expedition will be soon published on GIA Laboratory Bangkok website as we will update the pdf about rubies from Mozambique already online in the Ongoing Research part of the website.
"A by-product of mining for lead glass filled rubies?"
An exceptional stone reportedly from Montepuez weighting more than 10 carats. The stone has no fissures and nearly no inclusions. It is really an exceptional piece as most of the production from Montepuez will need first to be treated (with lead glass or flux) before to be used in jewelry.
Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok, 2009
It seems that Mozambique with its already famous pegmatite field around Alto Ligonha, its tourmaline deposit near Mavuco, and now these new and promising ruby deposits is on the eve to be able to compete with Tanzania, Madagascar and Kenya as an East African gemological Eldorado.
But well, things are not easy as most of the rubies are mined illegally which is not without creating difficulties particularly when the deposits are located in natural reserves. Things will probably found a solution but in Mozambique we heard about one word: "Patiencia"...
Anyway we have now left Mozambique and I'm back in Tanzania to continue visiting the gem mining areas I started to visit in 2005, 2007 and 2008. Then the plans are to continue to Kenya and finally return in Mozambique to finally visit the Niassa and Montepuez ruby mining areas.
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.