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.


Conservation Gemology. org

This website is home for:

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" and for the past 10 years has focus on visiting gem mining areas in Asia and Africa. His writtings can also be found in


It is also home of several of VP regular traveling companions. Among them are Jean Baptiste Senoble, Lou Pierre Bryl and Stephane Jacquat who were with VP in the field in Mozambique when the concept behind this website was suddenly making a lot of sense.
It is also home for another friend with a genuine passion for gemstones, conservation and development issues:

Laurent E. Cartier is a geologist and gemmologist based in Switzerland. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Environmental Sciences on the sustainability of  marine pearl farming, but also continues to work on gemstones. His current projects on pearl farming can be found at


“Conservation Gemology” is very similar in many aspects to its twin-website: but will not focus on presenting traditional field expedition reports. Instead you will find here blogs and articles with a focus on the conservation aspects related to gem mining in the areas visited by the author.


What is gemology?


Gemology is by definition the knowledge about gems; it is fascinating to the author as it is covering many aspects like science but also history, geography, trade and art. Most websites and publications are dealing with technical and scientific aspects of gemstone identification or trade aspects but other aspects like history, geography and art should not be neglected as they are really interesting and useful to understand gems, their trade and the reasons why they fascinate people.


What about conservation?


Conservation is basically an ethic of resource use. Its focus is upon maintaining the health of our planet in order for the future generations to be able to continue to enjoy it. Conservation does not means keeping away people out from nature, but its goals are to help men to find sustainable ways to use natural resources for future generations to be able to continue benefiting from these natural resources.


Conservation and Gemology?


To associate "Conservation" and "Gemology" might look unusual as gemstone mining is not really sustainable: Indeed a gemstone which was mined will never be mined again. Nevertheless, in a world where conservation issues become day after day more and more serious and where more and more people are getting conserned about issues dealing with the future of our planet, many people inside the gemstone industry but also some people just enjoying gems show an increasing interest in the origin of these beautiful gems and are bring to think about issues regarding the way gems are produced nowadays.


Thanks to the fact that in many cases at least for rubies, sapphires and emeralds, origin determination of gemstones is in most cases possible, then people have some information about the places where gemstones were mined. Recent events like the US and European ban on "Burmese rubies" have shown that the idea about origin and origin determination might, we like it or not, going now beyond the simple idea of romance.


As the author could see during the last 10 years traveling to gem mining areas in Asia and Africa many gem mining area are truly beautiful.

Gemstones can be found sometimes within areas dedicated to conservation. With East Africa, a region famous worldwide for its national parks, beconing more and more a major source of colored gemstones, thus it might be interesting to think about a way for gemstone mining to be an ally of conservation, instead to be one more thread people interesting in the conservation of these beautiful areas will have to face: If the arrival of hundreds of illegal miners can be a disaster for a protected area, on the other hand a well managed ethical gem mining operation concerned about conservation issues could help to finance conservation programs which could benefit to the whole area including its local population.


Visiting such gem mining areas, and in particular a new ruby mining area located inside the Niassa National Reserve in Mozambique, I was aksed by conservationists working for the reserve if I could help.

Since my childhood in countryside France I'm deeply interested in nature and conserned about conservation. The fact is that during the last 10 years I was given the chance to travel and to visit many gemstone producing areas where i could see some interesting things and many things which could have been avoided. I decided then to build this website as a tool to help people working in conservation and others working in the gemstone industry to understand that they might benefit a lot working with each other.


- - -


Should the Niassa lions be afraid of gemstones?


To illustrate that question the author choosed to place on the top banner of Conservation Gemology a lioness and a blue star sapphire. The first to remember our adventures trying to visit a new ruby mining area located inside the Niassa National Reserve in Mozambique and the second as a symbol of luck, faith and hope.

May be the Niassa Lioness should not be afraid about the gem, but it probably could be conserned about the people getting a gem fever and coming to Niassa mining gemstones.


The whole question is about people as this is what the gem trade is all about: People. If the people mining there are conserned about conservation, then the lioness has nothing to be worried about. But if not, then gem mining areas in Niassa might become very hostile areas for Niassa lions and a serious consern for conservationists trying to protect this area for the future generations.


Could gems found in areas dedicated to conservation be a chance for conservationists?"


These are important question at least for people like Dr. Anabela Rodrigues and Vernon Booth from the Niassa National Reserve are asking themselves during that Winter 2009 while the author is working on this website.


It is an interesting question question which can be applied to the whole region where gems are found in areas dedicated to conservation.


Could the gemstone industry become an ally of conservationists to protect the gems of the living world that are truly National Parks and the unique East African Wildlife?


Could gems bring some sustainable job opportunities for the local population to help them to develop and protect Niassa for their own benefit and the benefit of the rest of the planet?


This is what conservation gemology is about.


You will then find here some blogs and article about gem mining and conservation. We hope that you will find them interesting and useful.


All the best,



Vincent Pardieu, December 15th 2009.



Website Map


Index page: Vincent Pardieu's Blog

About the Author

About me : How did a countryside Frenchman became a "Shameless Travel Addicted Gemologist and Conservationist"? ( Under construction)


Contact the author:


Write Comments:

Fieldgemology Page on facebook



"Conservation gems: Beyond Fair Trade?", by Laurent Cartier and Vincent Pardieu, Jan 2012


"Fair Trade and Conservation: “When origin matters", 14th ICA Congress, Brazil, 2011.

Find our blogs using the following Keywords:

     Fair trade
     national geographic

Find our photos using the following Keywords:

     Ha Long
     Minh Tien
     pearl farm
     star ruby
     Tan Huong

Discover Conservation Gemology newsletter:
(One of these days...)



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:

Interesting reference website regarding CONSERVATION and GEMOLOGY

To finish here are some BOOKS about

Conservation and 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 30th, 2012 | Keywords:Madagascar , Didy , conservation Travel |
Blog Title: ASM-Pace_Didy

Artisanal and Small scale Mining (ASM) in Madagascar protected areas?

This case study is available on website since June 2012

Ocotber 3rd 2012: One of my friends, a gem miner in Madagascar, sent me few days ago an email telling me that he met there the author of a very interesting report on the issues related with the ruby and sapphire rush in Didy and more widely the issues associated with ASM (Artisanal and Small scale Mining) and conservation in Madagascar.

The report is from ASM-Pace, a partnership between Estelle Levin Limited and the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) to address the environmental impacts of artisanal and small scale mining (ASM) in some of the world's most important ecosystems. Interestingly the program is funded by the Tiffany & Co. Foundation, World Bank’s Programme on Forests (PROFOR), WWF Netherlands, WWF USA, WWF DRC, Africa Biodiversity and Conservation Group (ABCG), and with the logistical support of WWF’s Central Africa Regional Programme Office (WWF CARPO)... Madagascar case study

ASM-Pace madagascar case study: Photo:

The Madagascar case study has an interesting chapter on what happened in Didy from Aoril to June 2012 (from pages 73 to 75), and the report is nicely illustrated with some aerial photos provided by Tom Cushman. The report covers also what was going on in other parts of the country where sapphires are found like:

- around Ilakaka were gems are found since 1999 in an extended area including a small part of the Isalo and most of the the Zombitse - Vohibasia protected areas,

- near Ambondromifehy where blue yellow and greeen sapphires are mined since 1994 in an area covering a part of the Ankaranana protoected area

and it report also about what they saw near Andranondambo, where the first commercial quality blue sapphires were found in Madagascar in 1992.

People interested in gemstones and conservation will probably interested to read that case study. Furthermore the rest of the website including some other case study (about Liberia and Gabon) of the website, including some other case study about Liberia and Gabon is also worth reading.

October 18th, 2012 | Keywords:Madagascar , Didy , Ruby , Sapphire Travel |
Blog Title: Madagascar_Didy

Rubies and sapphires from Didy, Madagascar :

Here is a new expedition report that might interest people interested in gemstones and in conservation:

In April 2012, Philippe Ressigeac, a gem merchant recently graduated from GIA Thailand and living in Ilakaka (Madagascar) informed me about the discovery of a new sapphire deposit in Madagascar. His partner Marc Noverraz just told him that blue sapphire and also fine rubies were reportedly found near the town of Ambatondrazaka, a rice farming center located between Madagascar capital Antananarivo and Andilamena, a gem producing region famous for its rubies. The next day Nirina Rakotosaona, a Malagasy miner the author met several time in Ilakaka, confirmed this time from Andilamena the discovery and provided me some additional details about the stones he saw that convinced us that I had to find as soon as possible a plane ticket to Madagascar.

There was according to Nirina one serious issue about that deposit: It was it seems located in an area located between two National parks and according to him it was not sure yet if mining would be possible there. According to him, the new deposit was found by people working for a timber cutting company who were also searching for gold in the forest. That was something to be expected with the current high prices for gold. According to Nirina the deposit was producing unbelievable stones, that was possibly the new Ilakaka that most gem miners in Madagascar were waiting for. But the author was suddently thinking that this discovery could also be also the serious conflict between conservation and gemstone mining he was afraid to hear about since his adventure in Niassa in 2009...

"Should Madagascar’s unique biodiversity like this lemur be afraid of the arrival of thousands of gem miners in the forest near Didy? Sadly the most likely answer is yes as conservation friendly gem mining techniques and concepts likes conservation gems are still mostly nice ideas. Indeed on site, in the jungle it is to be expected that illegal gem mining will remain and even probably spread over the entire area. More than ever conservationists and members of the gem trade should consult with each other to find realistic solutions that would benefit everybody. Photo: modified from"

Didy GIA Madagascar

Discover here the extensive GIA Laboratory Bangkok FE35 Expedition Report to Didy, Madagascar.

This expedition report was published on GIA Laboratory Bangkok website (here and here) and also on GIA's main website:

Here are also the other previous publications (much less extensive) from the author about this new discovery near Didy:

Didy madagascar GIA report
On May 8th 2012 the GIA sent around the world its May 2012 G&G eBrief containing a short concise expedition report from that FE34 field expedition to Didy signed by Lou Pierre Bryl (Canada), Nirina Rakotosaona (Madagascar), Marc Noverraz (Switzerland) and the author. It is available here at the G&G eBrief archive
Didy GIA Madagascar
A more extensive report about rubies and sapphire from Didy (Madagascar) was also published in the Summer 2012, Volume 48 Issue 2 of Gems & Gemology magazine. in the Gem News International.
Didy Madagascar TGJTA

In July 2012 a short expedition report about Didy was published in the TGJTA (Thai Gem & Jewelry Traders Association) newsletter. You can get the story here.

Hoping that you have found this blog and the expedition report published on GIA websites interesting.

All the best,

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.