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Fieldgemology Newsletter Number 01,
September 26th, 2006


Dear Friends,

I'm currently preparing a newsletter for the AIGS Gemmological Laboratory, but to test it I'm starting with my own website: fieldgemology.com.

I 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 Vincent with myspace or facebook

About 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.

The 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 around here.

The 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 under Thaksin...

You 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!)

All the best,

Vincent Pardieu

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Vincent's Presentation Schedule:

Past 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 about it.

Next 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).

News from the front lines: Articles and studies...


Vincent (center), a Pansheri miner and a guard arriving at the Mukeni emerald mining area in the Panjshir valley, Afghanistan, Photo: Guillaume Soubiraa, July 2006.

WESTERN HYMALAYA fiedltrip report now online:

I just have put online at www.fieldgemology.org and www.aigslaboratory.com 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 me



A malagasy miner taking out a bag of gem gravels from a mining pit near Ilakaka, Madagascar. Photo: J.B. Senoble, June 2005

MADAGASCAR 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 Richard Wise. It was based on my field trips to Ilakaka in June and Sept 2005 with the financial support of AIGS / Gubelin 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 and AIGS lab websites.
After the September expedition Richard Hughes also released a report: "Sorcerers and Sapphires".
I would like to thanks particularly all the people we met in Madagascar for the help they provided us on this expedition.


Heating blue sapphires in Pailin Cambodia. Photo: V. Pardieu, 2004

"HISTORY 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 issues.
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 the AFG

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Last modified on 12 March, 2008