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 FE22 (GIA Laboratory Bangkok Field Expedition 22): Jan. 24, 2011 -Jan. 28, 2011:
Each last Wednesday of the month, the GIA Laboratory Bangkok and the GIA Thailand School join their forces to organize events called the "GIA Gemstone Gatherings" at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (previously known as Pan Pacific hotel) on Rama IV road in Bangkok. On November 24th, 2010, Flavie Isatelle, a young French geologist/gemologist who travelled for one year around the world visiting gem mines was given the opportunity to give a public presentation about Emeralds from Colombia as during summer 2010 she spent nearly a month in Colombia living for several weeks in an emerald mine in Muzo in order to study its geology. Thanks to the interest generated worldwide by that presentation, she was contacted by Gemfields, an important company mining emeralds in the Kafubu deposit in Zambia (one of the world’s largest emerald deposit) and was invited to give again her presentation in Zambia. That was a great opportunity for her to visit that mining operation one of the world largest colored stone mines. Remembering the help that the author provided her in her numerous expeditions in Asia, Africa and South America, she was nice to ask the me if I was interested to travel with her in Zambia... There are some proposals that are very difficult to refuse.
For more information about the GIA Gemstone Gatherings please visit the "news" page on GIA Laboratory Bangkok website. There you will find, details about the next event. Using the calendar at the bottom of the page you will also find written reports and photos of the previous GIA gemstone gatherings.
Thanks to Flavie, I was also invited by Gemfields and at the end of Januray 2011 I was on my way to Zambia. We arrived in Zambia on January 24th for a three days long visit at the Kagem mine. For once I was not to be the expedition leader: Flavie was the boss and I became for few days her assistant and personal photographer. This blog and the following photos will then simply reflect that fact. Of course as official photographer of the expedition I took many photos where Flavie was not part of the landscape, but we have decided to keep these photos for the future publications. Soon you will be able to read our first report in "Gem News International" of the next issue of "Gems and Gemology" and later (probably around August 2011) you will find a more extensive and illustrated report on the following websites: www.gems-geology.com, www.fieldgemology.org, www.giathai.net and www.gia.edu.websites.
(Geologist Robert Gessner explaining to Flavie Isatelle the mining at the Kagem Gemfields main emerald mining pit.)
Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok, 2010)
We were welcomed at the Kagem / Gemfields mine by geologist Robert Gessner. Robert took us around for the following days from the main mining pit to the fascinating underground mining operation he is managing and also to the washing plant and the sorting house, where we could see some interesting emerald samples and meet with several local gemologists. The visit was very interesting particularly as it is very rare to encounter such high level of organization in the colored gemstone mining operation.
(Underground at the Kagem Gemfields mine in Zambia geologist Robert Gessner explains to Flavie Isatelle the local geological setting. Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok, 2010)
Visiting the mine with Robert Gessner was a real pleasure as Robert, besides being a very knowledgeable geologist (and a great tour guide), is also sharing with us a passion for gemology (Robert is currently studying gemology at GIA using the GIA distance education program) and photography as you can discover on "RoGe ImaGes" .
(Robert Gessner explaining to Flavie Isatelle how the emeralds are getting manually sorted at the Kagem Gemfields emerald mine in Zambia. As most emeralds are still attached to some matrix, manual and visual sorting was prefered to techniques using gravity or optics.
Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok, 2010)
Most of the young gemologist/geologists interested in gemstones who regularly contact the author for advice using the Internet might found Robert background interesting: After studying geology in South Africa, he graduated in 2004. Robert started then working as geologist at the Tanzanite One mine in Merelani, Tanzania. There he got some serious experience about the specificities of underground gem mining. In Jan 2009 he moved to emerald mining in Zambia to work on a very interesting and challenging project: Pioneering underground mining at the Kagem Gemfields emerald mine, a mine which is traditionally and historically an opencast mine. The main difficulty for most young geologist/gemologist is to find a first job as most companies prefer to hire people with experience... So my advice is the following: Be smart and work hard to get the right skills/profile. Then do your best to get the right first job, the one that will enable you to get the experience you need in order to be lucky later receiving a proposal to become what you have all your life dreamed to become.
Hard work is much more efficient if you work smartly.
(Finally one photo without Flavie and Robert... Zambian gemologist Jackson Mtonga working as superintendant at the Kagem Gemfields sorting house is presenting one of the emeralds from the company master set. Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok, 2010)
The visit at the Kagem Gemfields mine was very interesting as there are very few colored gemstone mining operations where gems are mined in such a way using modern geological and mining techniques. It was a great opportunity for me to visit that mine and meet there many interesting characters: Geologists, gemologists, miners, security officers and managers.
Very special thanks to Flavie Isatelle to have given me the opportunity to travel with her to Zambia. Flavie is currently searching for some job as mining engineer in a colored gemstone mine and is searching some ways to finance her PHD. For more information about Flavie and her profile, please visit her website: www.gem-geology.com
I want also to thanks all the people from Gemfields for their invitation and their welcome in Zambia. It was truly a real pleasure to visit the mine and have the opportunity to share some knowledge with each other. I hope that I will soon have the possibility to return to the mine in Zambia and work on some projects together.
All the best,
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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.