Being Proud of Those in the Gemstone Supply Chain


My first visit to Hong Kong was in 1997 and I loved it. Over the years it has been home to some amazing gemmologists and when I was working with Gem-A, there was a fantastic team based in a city that has more gemmology schools in a few square miles than the whole of the UK.

In 2020, when I was asked if I could put some thoughts into words for the annual Journal of the Gemmological Association of Hong Kong, I was flattered and used the opportunity to focus and reflect on some of my long-standing beliefs.

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Webinar: 150 Years of Diamond Mining in Kimberley


One of the most important discoveries in the history of diamond mining was that diamonds were found in kimberlite. Until then, the world had obtained diamonds from Golconda and Brazil where they were found in alluvial gravels. The town where this was discovered was called Kimberley in South Africa and in geological terms, Kimberley is the ‘type locality’ of kimberlite. As part of the Gem-A Live series, I was asked to deliver a webinar on the town of Kimberley, discussing the significance of the diamond discoveries not only to the town and to South Africa as a whole, but also on the diamond industry worldwide.   

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The Discovery of the Oldest Known Tourmaline Carving


Someone well-known to gemmologists, mineralogists and, indeed, anyone with a keen interest in gems, minerals and great photography, is Gloria Staebler.  

Through Gloria, I was included in an investigation to verify something she had noticed in the course of her research, and I was proud to be able to contribute. We were asked to verify if the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford had correctly identified a gemstone carving of Alexander the Great as Tourmaline. In which case it would be the world’s oldest known tourmaline carving, predating that currently believed to be the oldest by 500years.  

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Rare Opportunity: Gemstones from Antarctica


It is not often that a gemmologist gets to see something from Antarctica, a continent that still enjoys the protection of the 1961 international treaty intended to protect and preserve the untapped uniqueness of the biosphere from the rapacious consumption of mankind. This Gem Note, featured in the Journal of Gemmology, covers an exciting opportunity that presented itself when faceted samples from a research trip to Mount Erebus reached the laboratory. I could get the graphs and numbers from the battery of laboratory equipment, but it was Nathan Renfro’s brilliant photomicrography that captured the essence of these samples. 

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Sustainability in Artisanal Sapphire Mining


This image appears a simple one, two men showing me what they had found that morning on their ‘dig’ in Elahara, Sri Lanka. This was a field trip that we ran in conjunction with the National Association of Jewellers and took a mixture of gemmologists and jewellers to this incredible island nation to discover just what made it so unique and special. Beyond the image is a bigger story. These men are farmers for half the year and then their farmland becomes a mine-site. 

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Ethics, Sustainability and Governance in the Swat Valley


There are many resources available that will assist the well-heeled and established jewellery companies in their mission to bring transparency to their supply chain and to reassure clients that they are addressing ESG concerns (Ethics, Sustainability and Governance.) Where does one start when you are a small start-up? What about those for whom the founding ethos of the business is to empower womenshowcase a region and bring to market its gems while ensuring every little step would pass any scrutineer? This is the story of an intense mission that set out to do just that. 

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