September 26th, 2006
currently preparing a newsletter for the AIGS Gemmological
Laboratory, but to test it I'm starting with my own website:
hope that the content and the design of this newsletter
will be fine for you. If any problem occurs please do not
hesitate to tell me about. I plan to send this newsletter
two or three times a year depending of the events. But as
I'm not traveling that much, except may be during my usual
summer fieldtrip, you should not receive a new one too often.
On the other hand if you do not wish to receive in the future
this newsletter, please write to me and I will remove your
email from the mailing list. Please in all case contact
me using the following link: Contact
the news: It was just few days that I was back from three
months traveling to Central Asia and Europe when suddenly
the Thai military decided to move.
coup d'etat was a big surprise for me. It was very smooth
and we found ourselves living quietly under a military government...
It is supposed not to last long and it seems that until
now except for the former prime minister and his close friends,
there was no major problem. The "coup d'etat"
happened after the Bangkok Gem and Jewelry Fair to closed
its doors while most of the dealers were in Hong Kong. Life
in Bangkok is still the same as before in appearance even
if there were for a while some visible disturbances. The
day after the coup I was surprised to see everything closing
at 8pm and as a result Bangkok had suddenly some king of
Yangon like atmosphere... CNN, BBC and TV5 were for a while
impossible to access but now things are back to normal.
There was no armors in Mahesak and we did not see many soldiers
lab and the school are currently working as the rest of
Thailand and globally all the Thai staff looks very happy
about what is happening. The only major disturbance I faced
was that last week end I was planning to go again with some
AIGS students to visit the Pailin sapphire mining area in
Cambodia but we heard that the Thailand land borders were
closed for a while and then we decided to cancel the trip.
Now the borders are open again and well life and business
looks the same under the generals compared to what it was
are all of you welcome in Thailand if you decide to come.
Don’t worry here the soldiers are smiling... (They
have orders to smile!)
presentations: On September 14th 2006,
I just had a 2 hours presentation at the Bangkok
Gem and Jewelry Fair with Guillaume Soubiraa regarding
the recent fieldtrip we had in Pakistan, Afghanistan,
Tajikistan and China. The presentation was very
well attended with 55 people which was quite a
surprise for us as we did not advertised at all
presentation: I'm scheduled to make a
joint presentation on December 6-7, 2006 at the
Four Seasons hotel in Bangkok, Thailand with my
friend Richard Hughes from AGTA about our recent
trip in Tajikistan at the 1st International Gem
& Jewelry Conference (GIT 2006) and possibly
also a second presentation about the new emerald
deposit in Davdar (Xin Jiang, China).
from the front lines: Articles and studies...
(center), a Pansheri miner and a guard arriving at the
Mukeni emerald mining area in the Panjshir valley, Afghanistan,
Photo: Guillaume Soubiraa, July 2006.
HYMALAYA fiedltrip report now online:
I just have put online at www.fieldgemology.org
the report on the recent fieldtrip to the Pakistan, Afghanistan,
Tajikistan and China from June to August 2006 with Guillaume
Soubiraa. I've also updated the study about Tajik
rubies which is available on the fieldgemology.org
website. This summer's fieldtrip report is also available,
in a more compact version, on the Gubelin
Gem Lab website. Richard Hughes, who travelled
with us in Tajikistan has also just published on his
report on the trip in Tajikistan we had together.
I want to say that this trip was a great experience as I was
dreaming for many years to visit the ruby, emerald and spinel
mines in this region. Despite all the sad news coming from
the area our trip did not encounter any major problem, thanks
to our local friends, whose help was greatly appreciated.
Please if you have any comment on the content of these pages
do not hesitate to inform
malagasy miner taking out a bag of gem gravels from
a mining pit near Ilakaka, Madagascar. Photo: J.B. Senoble,
for "Colored Stone":
After the release of a first article about the Andilamena
mining area in Madagascar in Jan-Feb
2006 issue of Colored Stone magazine, the second
part of our Madagascar trilogy was published on the Mar-Apr
2006 issue. Finally with the Jul-Aug
2006 edition the complete article is currently
available. This article was written in collaboration with
Wise. It was based on my field trips to Ilakaka
in June and Sept 2005 with the financial support of AIGS
Gem Lab for the June expedition and of Richard
Hughes from AGTA-GTC
for the September 2005 expedition. The ICA
was also of great help to us for the success of these expeditions.
A report on the June expedition is available on fieldgemology.org
After the September expedition Richard Hughes also released
a report: "Sorcerers
I would like to thanks particularly all the people we met
in Madagascar for the help they provided us on this expedition.
blue sapphires in Pailin Cambodia. Photo: V. Pardieu,
of HEAT TREATMENT in Thailand" article for the "Revue
de Gemmologie A.F.G."
In the June issue of the "Revue de Gemmologie,
AFG", I've provided an article about the history of the
heat treatment of ruby and sapphire in Thailand called: "Les
alchimistes des temps modernes".
This magazine in French is printed by the AFG (Association
Francaise de Gemmologie) which visited Thailand
and AIGS in 2005 for their annual field trip.
This 9 pages long article is the first part, the second and
third part will be released in the September and December
This article was written in collaboration with three Thai
burners I had the pleasure to meet: Khun Sammuang Kaewen,
Khun Anupap Chinudomphong and Khun Thawatchai Somjainuek,
and with support of the GIT and of the Department of Mineral
Ressources in Bangkok, Thailand.
This article give us the possibility to meet these three pionniers
of ruby and sapphire heat treatment and to learn about their
work. I was very happy to work with them on this article as
Thai burners usually keep a very low profile and don't communicate
much about their work. For more information, please: Contact
page is <http://www.fieldgemology.org>
Last modified on
12 March, 2008