Gems: bringing the World together
Simply due to their ‘beauty’, gems have fascinated and allured humankind for millennia. They are found on every continent, occur in many different geological environments and have formed since the earth began. The gem industry is valued at billions of dollars every year and employs many people across the globe. It is especially important for many small local communities and developing nations throughout Africa and Asia. Unlike other geological commodities, mining and processing of most gems, except probably primary diamond deposits, is undertaken by small companies and artisanal miners and gem cutters. Most gems are mined and cut in developing countries and then sold around the world, hence they really do bring the world together. In recent years, technological advances (especially in laser ablation ICP-MS and in situ oxygen isotope analysis) have allowed us to even determine the geographic location of cut gems of unknown provenance to a large degree of certainty. This symposium encompasses gem studies, including conditions of formation, geology of individual deposits, characterisation, geographic typing, gemmological properties, exploration for gem deposits and gem synthesis/treatments. All gems are included, from the most valuable and precious diamonds, rubies and emeralds, to sapphires, spinel, opals, topaz, garnets, silica varieties, corals and many others. Individual sessions will be themed on geographic location, covering the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania. Contributions are sought not only from academia, but also from companies and institutions working to discover new deposits and to increase their valuations on the gem market.
Ian Graham, Lee Groat and Gaston Giuliani