Lotus Gemology's Gem Exhibit "Inside Out"

As part of her doctoral program at the University of Queensland, our researcher Lynda Lawson has been talking to women working across the sapphire value chain. This has taken her from women miners working in streams in South West Madagascar to women traders in the mining towns of Sakaraha and Ilakaka. Many Malagasy sapphires are treated, cut and sold in Thailand. In January she followed the sapphires to Bangkok and Chantaburi where she interviewed women who grade sapphires, women cutters and designers, women jewelers and women who own their own gem businesses. She also met and interviewed the many highly skilled and talented women gemologists who work in Thailand and provide professional guidance and expertise to those wishing to better understand their gemstones.

She met Billie Hughes a young gemologist and photographer who with her family, Wimon Manorotkul and Richard Hughes, has written some of the most beautiful print celebrations of ruby and sapphire for example Ruby and Sapphire; a gemologist’s guide.  

From left to right: Richard W. Hughes, Wimon Manorotkul, and Billie Hughes

From left to right: Richard W. Hughes, Wimon Manorotkul, and Billie Hughes

Twenty years of their photographs are currently being exhibited at Tongji University Shanghai  in an exhibit called "Inside Out". The display captures both the microscopic world of gem inclusions and the stories behind the gems; those who have found them and the places they are found.

For those wishing to visit, the exhibition is in the library at the Zhejiang campus of Tongji University.

For those unable to visit, GemHub is delighted to share some of their photos here .

A Study on Problems Faced By Exporters of Gems and Jewellery Industry

by Dr. Parul Agarwal, Ms. Richa Devgun, Dr. J.S. Bhatnagar


Gems and jewellery are part of many cultures and customs around the world. Gems and jewellery have been important part for both aesthetic as well as investment purposes. Gems and jewellery industry has gradually become important for the Indian economy due to its contribution in India’s total exports. This sector accounts about 14.98% of the country’s total merchandise exports estimated at US$ 262290.13 million in 2015-16. In last four years export of gems and jewellery decreased by 12% and exports got affected by the rising cost of raw materials, depressed demand and slowdown of markets. There are many problems faced by the exporters of gems and jewellery industry. This paper discuss the status of the exports of Indian gems and jewellery industry. Also, an attempt is made to identify the problems faced by the exporters, by reviewing various literatures and highlighted some suggestions to overcoming these hurdles.

Key Words: Export, Exporters, Gems, Import, Jewellery, Problems

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Precious stones of Niger

by Lynda Lawson

January 8th, 2018

Niger is located in the Sahel and Sahara region of Africa with a surface area of 1,267,000 km2 and a population of over 18, 528,000 habitants, three quarters live in rural areas. The Niger River flows some 500 kilometres in a crescent shape through the capital Niamey linking Guinea, Mali with the Niger Delta in Nigeria. Niger is thus at the cross roads between the Maghreb of North Africa and Sub Saharan Africa and its long history as a trade route linking these areas has led to Niger’s rich ethnic and linguistic character.   The largest ethnic group is Hausa followed by Zarma/Songhai, Tuareg , Fulani (Peul) and Kanuri.

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Feasibility and acceptability of environmental management strategies among artisan miners in Taita Taveta County, Kenya

by Florence Apollo, Amina Ndinya, Maurice Ogada, and Benard Rop


Artisanal mining employs many people across the globe. In Kenya, it provides vocational jobs which represent the livelihood of poor communities. In spite of the economic value that could be attached to the artisanal mining activities in Taita Taveta County, these activities have resulted in environmental degradation; thus, calling for necessary interventions. It is for this reason that this study intends to examine effective strategies that could be adopted to reduce environmental degradation in the county as a result of artisan mining. The key objective therefore is to test the feasibility and acceptability of community participation, partnerships, modern technology and quarry management strategies on the reduction of environmental degradation by artisan miners in Taita Taveta County. A descriptive case study research design was adopted, and the target population for the study was 451 registered artisan miners and 13 environmental bodies operating in the area. A simple random sampling technique was used to draw a sample of 218 artisan miners and 13 environmental body heads. Questionnaires were the main tool for data collection from which a response rate of 95% was achieved. The study deduced that community participation, partnerships, modern technology adoption and quarry management strategies, are key influences on the reduction of environmental degradation in the artisanal mining sector if adopted, going based on the high level of agreement and the reasoning exhibited among the artisan miners in the findings. The following policies may be inferred from the study: to set a framework to enable the community to participate in environmental conservation, to enhance partnerships between NGOs, CBOs, the Government and Universities within artisan mining areas, to introduce Government subsidies for modern technology for affordability and to introduce a framework for quarry management.

Link to full Article

Heritage Status for Historically Important Gemstone Producing Regions?

Dr. Laurent Cartier recently published an article in 'the Episodes Journal' (part of IUGS- International Union of Geological Sciences) on the potential of developing a heritage status to raise awareness about and support gemstone producing areas worldwide. In regions such as the Mogok Stone Tract in Burma (Myanmar), strong traditions have evolved around the mining and processing of the different gemstones. It is proposed that specific criteria and a heritage designation scheme be developed for such regions that have been outstanding producers of gemstones, in some cases for many centuries. Much as with UNESCO’s World Heritage Site programme, the aim would be to preserve the traditions of these provinces and increase cultural, scientific and touristic interest in their gemstone resources as a way of contributing to sustainable development in these regions.

The full article can be read by following this link

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With its abundant resources in diamonds and coloured gemstones, Namibia has been unable to develop an internationally competitive coloured gemstone and related industry due to the fact that the sector’s value chain does not function in a way that maximises value addition. An uncoordinated supply of equipment to stone centers without a broader coloured stone sector growth strategy has constrained the growth of the sector. The main aim of this study was to establish the essential building blocks for the sector growth for the coloured gemstones and related industries.

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Signature Project 1 - Enhancing Gemstone Cutting (Pilot Area: Jaipur, India)

The Gemstones and Sustainable Development Hub is partnering with 'American Gem Trade Association' (AGTA) and 'Workplace Health Without Borders' (WHWB) in seeking to improve understanding of health issues in gemstone manufacturing and implementing suitable solutions. The pilot project will be carried out in Jaipur (India) at a number of different cutting facilities, starting early 2018.

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Contested Claims of Wealth: Cubagua Island in the Early Modern Imagination

Before abundant sources of gold and silver were discovered in Mexico and Peru, pearls were the main riches that Spanish colonists exploited in the Americas. During his third trip to the Americas in 1498, Christopher Columbus discovered bountiful supply of pearls around the island of Cubagua, off the coast of today's Venezuela. The news about the existence of the highly prized commodity in the newly discovered seas quickly circulated inside and outside Spain. This gave rise to organized, and often conflict-ridden, ventures to harvest the Caribbean pearl beds.

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Featured Project: Golden Rutilated Quartz Artisanal Mining Community

At the January 2017 Jewelry Industry Summit held in Tucson, Brian and Kendra Cook (Nature’s Geometry) discussed their efforts to promote sustainable mining in Brazil’s Bahia State. In cooperation with 2,500 miners from the region, the Cooks are developing a collective in Remedios, Novo Horizonte (figure 1). Plans to brand the region’s unique golden rutilated quartz will be supported by a warehouse and cutting facilities, as well as a visitor center. To provide food security for the population, the Cooks also intend to bring organic community farming to the area.

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