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:


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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
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     lead glass filled ruby
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Find our photos using the following Keywords:

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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 31th, 2009 | Keywords:Kenya Travel |
Blog Title: FE09, Part 06: Kenya

GIA FE09 (GIA Laboratory Bangkok Field Expedition 09): Part 08: Oct. 18 - Oct. 27, 2009: Kenya:

Field Gemology is not all the time about success stories: Sometimes we do our best but it is not enough. If success stories are nice to tell, the others can also be useful to share and sadly the Oct. 2009 expedition was one of them. It was a waste of time for most of the people involved but sadly these are things that happen...


In Oct. 2009 despite the support of the different Tsavorite and ruby miners from the Tsavo area who were expecting our group to visit their mines, we were not allowed to visit the gem mines near Tsavo. I have the feeling that it had something to do with Campbell Bridges murder which was still under investigation in Tsavo area at the time we intended to visit the region. It is sad as we came with the idea to do some good work which could have been useful for the Kenyan miners.


Our group was composed of four people: Myself, Dr. Stephanos Karempelas, a research gemologist from the Gübelin Gem Lab and two of the world most famous geologists working on gemstone and their deposits: Dr. Gaston Giuliani and Dr. Daniel Ohnenstetter from Nancy University in France.

Our project was to visit the tsavorite mines in Tsavo area as Dr. Giuliani and Dr. Ohnenstetter have the project to organize in Nairobi in July 2010 a workshop about tsavorite. Something similar to the successful one they had in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) beginning Oct. 2009.

To prepare this workshop, as they did in Tanzania, they wanted to visit the different miners and tsavorite mines in Kenya to identify where to focus their studies and get some material to work on. As I already visited the area twice (in 2005 and 2007), I offered them to introduce them to the miners and organize this expedition in Kenya in Oct. 2009.

For that I was in contact with different miners and the current and former ICA Ambassador to Kenya for several months.


The main reason of failure was that two days before our arrival in Nairobi, Dr. Bernard Rop, the Kenyan Commissioner of Mines, asked us to get first an official research permit from the Kenyan National Council for Science and Technology in order to get his support to visit the miners in Tsavo.


I was very surprised about this demand as while visiting Kenya in 2005 and 2007, the previous commissioner never asked me to get through such process. Even more: I've to say that this was the first time (in Africa, Europe or Asia) that while trying to visit gem mining areas at the invitation of local miners, I'm asked to go through such heavy administrative process... Even in countries like Burma, things were easier! I was not expecting that from Kenya.

It was also quite a bad surprise to be informed about this only two days before our arrival in Kenya as we could have probably do something if we were informed earlier, but under such a short notice, while all the team was already in East Africa, things turned to be very difficult.


To get a research permit in Kenya it is usually a 3 months long administrative process and you need to be in collaboration with a local university (see for details the form to fill on the Kenyan National Council for Science and Technology website).


Instead to go directly to the mines and try to do some good work there, we started to visit ministries in Nairobi and, of course, to disturb people there (and friends outside) in order to try to get through this process in 1 or 2 days instead of 3 months. During 4 days we did our best to get all the documents they were asking us. The people there were very nice, but well finally we found out that it could not be done in such a short time. We decided then that it was better to accept that it could not be done properly that time and postpone out project to visit the mines in Tsavo in 2010.

Of course we could have decided to go nevertheless to Tsavo like tourists and try to do our work without the support of the new commissioner for mines. But we were not willing to give a bad impression to the Kenyan authorities that could create problems on the long term for further collaboration, even if it was very frustrating, we decided to leave Kenya without having succeeded to visit the Tsavo mining area.


Nevertheless we did not give up on our projects to do some good work about Kenyan gemstones:


In July 2010, Dr. Giuliani and Dr. Ohnenstetter from Nancy University (France) will do their best to organize in Nairobi a workshop about Tsavorite as they did this year with a lot of success in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania).

For them this missed opportunity was nevertheless not a complete waste of time as they could meet in Nairobi several key people in order to start seriously working on that project. The workshop will cover tsavorite from Tanzania, Madagascar and also gems from Kenya, even if we could not visit the mines, as I've provided Dr. Giuliani many samples from my private reference collection that I collected on site in Tsavo when I visited the tsavorite mines in 2005 and 2007.


On my side I spent my remaining days in Nairobi with Dr. Cedric Simonet, one of the best field geologists I know currently working in East Africa. Cedric was the former Director of Rockland Kenya mining the "John Saul Ruby Mine" in Tsavo National Park. We had some good discussions about rubies, geology, gemmology and also conservation as beside a common interest for gemology, we also have a deep love for the places were gemstones are mined. It was useful to rest and brainstorm a little... Thanks to Cedric (and his lovely family) these few days in Nairobi were not for me only a "frustrating complete waste of time and energy"...


Finally I would like to thanks to all the Kenyan ruby and tsavorite miners who were ready to welcome us in Kenya and were expecting our visit and who were disappointed by the fact we could not visit them and help them. I would like also to apologize to the people from the Nairobi University and at the Kenyan National Council for Science and Technology we have bothered during these days trying to speed up our case. I have the feeling that it was a complete waste of time for all these people. And I'm sorry for that.


I just hope that in the future things will turn better and that the Kenyan authorities will not continue to ask people willing simply to visit gem mines to get through such heavy administrative process in order to try to do some good and useful work in collaboration with the miners who invite them to visit their mines.


All the best,



"Tsavorite from Kenya"

Tsavorite porphyroblasts, rough and faceted stones.

Stones courtesy: Genson Micheni Musa from "Tsavolite Ltd", Photo: V. Pardieu, 2007

For more information about tsavorite, please visit "Tsavorite, an untamed beauty".

Note: October 12th 2010: Update about the July 2010 tsavorite workshop:

Today I was able to communicate with Dr. Gaston Giuliani from the Nancy University on nother subject related to Tsavorite: Last year in October 2009, we tried to visit together the ruby and tsavorite deposits in Kenya but our expedition was not really succesful as you could read earlier on that blog.
Dr. Giuliani and Dr. Ohnenstetter were then just back from a tsavorite workshop in Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) and they were working on a similar project for 2010, this time in Nairobi (Kenya). Today I was told by Dr. Giuliani some excellent news about the Nairobi 2010 workshop he was then planning:
The workshop happened and reportedly turned to be very successful. After the workshop more than 40 people also were able to go on a field expedition to Tsavo lead by Dr. Cedric Simonet.
Currently a research program about tsavorite in collaboration between Kenyan and French Universities is in preparation. Dr. Giuliani told the author that he was very happy about the way things happened during summer 2010.

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.