CIGem News Winter 2013

CIGem News Winter 2013 – ISSN 0846-3611 GEMMOLOGY CANADA

From the Editor:


From Bagan, Myanmar

I wish everyone a Happy and Rewarding New Year 2013.

Myanmar was on my travel list for many years. I finally managed to organize a trip to this fascinating country on my own. During GIT 2012 I was able to meet many old and new friends; see GL Newsletter Special GIT 2012 edition.

Afterwards we went on a fabulous Post Conference Excursion to Chanthaburi and Pailin, Cambodia. An on-line slide show about my travels will be available soon.

And last but not least the annual Tucson 2013 shows are approaching. I am looking forward to meeting you personally very soon.

Wolf Kuehn, F.G.A., F.G.G.

Tucson February 2013

AGTA GemFair

If you are visiting the Tucson gem shows please drop by at the C.I.G. booth #31 right next to Gem-A at the Galleria Level of the AGTA GemFair from February 5 – 10.

We will have the new GL Gem Raman TEC PL532 and the GL Gem Spectrometer on display and the latest information about our photoluminescence studies.

As part of the World Gem Society (WGS) Tour of Tucson 2013 activities I will be giving a slide presentation “Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia Gem Travel 2012 – with visit to the jade market in Mandalay, news from GIT 2012 Bangkok and Chanthaburi, sapphire mining in Pailin” on Friday, February 8, 2013 (time and location TBA). Please join us for an evening of fun.

A Fascinating trip to Myanmar

Travelling to Myanmar has not been easy. There are no ATMs, no credit cards or reservations for flights to be made from outside the country. All has to be done upon arrival unless you take a package tour which can be quite expensive. I was able to do my travel preparations on my own after checking with the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree forum for Myanmar for several months. Or read this Myanmar Blog.

Most tourists need a visum which may take one month to process as there is a dramatic increase in the number of tourists. For the coming months many hotels are full and flights sometimes overbooked, changed and/or cancelled. Roads are quickly being upgraded but train and bus travel is still very slow. I saw areas without electricity and in great need of better infrastructure. But it is changing quickly.

You have to bring cash to pay for goods and services. Don’t expect to change any rumpled, torn US dollar bills. Moneychangers accept only crisp, clean (and mostly uncreased) bills, and tend to only take the ‘new’ US dollar bills (with the larger full-frame heads). I have heard that $100 bills starting with the serial number ‘CB’ have been turned down. Read Monetary Mayhem From Myanmar.

But all went smoothly and for me it was one of my most exciting trips to Asia. Below some images which will provide a first impression.

Yangon is a former capital of Burma and the capital of Yangon Region. Although the military government has officially relocated the capital to Naypyidaw since March 2006, Yangon, with a population of over four million, continues to be the country’s largest city and the most important commercial centre.

Although Yangon’s infrastructure is undeveloped compared to those of other major cities in Southeast Asia, it has the largest number of colonial buildings in the region today. While many high-rise residential and commercial buildings have been constructed or renovated throughout downtown and Greater Yangon in the past two decades, most satellite towns that ring the city continue to be deeply impoverished (source Wikipedia).

Shwedagon Pagoda

Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon

Bogyoke (Scott) Market

Bogyoke (Scott) Market, Yangon

"Mogok" ruby filled Glas

“Mogok” ruby filled Glas

Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay

Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay

Mandaly Hill

Mandalay Hill

From Mandalay Hill at sunset

From Mandalay Hill at sunset

Mandalay, the capital of Upper Burma, is located 600 km north of Yangon, on the banks of the Ayeyarwady River. As the second largest city in Myanmar, Mandalay has slightly over 800,000 inhabitants.

It is the capital of Upper Burma that was immortalized in Rudyard Kipling’s The Road to Mandalay, the 1887 poem that refers to the Ayeyarwady. In a country where the cities are a thousand years old or more, Mandalay is surprisingly young in comparison – “just” over 150 years old (source Wikipedia).

Jade Markets in Mandalay, Myanmar

Mandalay Jade Market

Mandalay Jade Market

Polishing jadeite

Polishing jadeite

Selection of jadeite

Selection of jadeite

A visit to the jade market in Mandalay is a must for anyone interested in gemstones. Covering several acres on a site between 38th and 39th streets west of the city centre the bustling market features countless rows of small stores, each about two metres wide, laid out in a grid. Managed by the Mandalay City Devlopment Committee, it provides an insight into the working of the larger jade industry, which is developing into an increasingly lucrative foreign income earner.

Nobody was there to collect the $ 1 entrance fee for foreigners as I was perhaps the only Western tourist surrounded by hundreds (if not thousands) of local traders in the incredible heat and noise that is hard to capture by camera.

Exploring Bagan Temples

Bagan (formerly Pagan), is one of the most famous ancient city in Myanmar. It is the place in Myanmar to admire ancient ruins. Bagan ranks alongside Angkor and Luang Prabang as one of the most amazing sights in Southeast Asia.

If you’re into ancient ruins, there’s more in Bagan than you could ever bargain for. Bagan is located on a dusty plain 300 km from Yangon.

Bagan temples

Bagan temples

Ananda Temple

Ananda Temple

View from Shwesandaw Pagoda

View from Shwesandaw Pagoda

GIT 2012 Post Conference Tour to Chanthaburi and Pailin

Chanthaburi is a province of Thailand. It is located in the east of Thailand, at the border to Battambang and Pailin of Cambodia and the shore to the Gulf of Thailand. Together with the neighboring province Trat, Chanthaburi is the center of gemstone mining, especially rubies and sapphires.

Tropical fruits are also among the main products of the province. In 2000, it produced nearly 380,000 tonnes of durian, which was 45.57% of Thailand’s durian production and approximately 27% of the world production of this fruit (source Wikipedia).

Sapphire mine

Operating sapphire mine near Chanthaburi

Bangkaja Sapphire Rough


Sapphire Jewellery

Pailin temple

Wat Phnom Yat, Pailin

Pailin mine

Sapphire mine in Pailin, Cambodia

Pailin sapphires

Pailin sapphires

Pailin is a small municipality in the West of Cambodia very close to the border of Thailand. The provincial capital is called Pailin City and is known to much of the world as being the area where many of the Khmer Rouge leaders came from and retreated after their fall.

In the late 1970s, Pailin was a prosperous town stemming from the extensive gem deposits in the surrounding countryside. Because of its resources, it was one of the first cities invaded by the Khmer Rouge when they began their major offensive against the national government. The city offered no resistance and the Khmer Rouge soldiers were greeted as liberators as they marched into town. In recent years a new wave of tourism began depending on its ancient temples, natural forests, animals and especially the precious stones (source Wikipedia).

GL Gem Raman PL532 TEC Spectrometer

We have finalized the GL Gem Raman PL532 TEC with a range from approx. 75 – 5,400 cm-1 at better than 10 cm-1 FWHM. Raman range (RRUFF) is from 145 – 1,500 cm-1 and broad scan range for PL studies up to 5,430 cm-1 (530 – 750 nm). TE cooled 3648 pixel Toshiba TCD1304AP linear array.

All new units have the PL option installed; other configurations available upon request. Please contact us for more information.

The Raman spectrum for nephrite on the left (click on image to enlarge) shows interesting Raman features in the region of 200 cm-1 and below and in the PL region 3,000 cm-1 and above.

Tucson Specials from the Gemlab Online Store

During January 2013 we will offer the GL Gem Spectrometer to attendants at the Tucson Gem Shows at a reduced price of $ 1,295.00 with free delivery if picked up at our booth # 31 in the Tucson Convention Centre (during the AGTA GemFair from February 5 – 10). More details here.

We also will introduce and demonstrate the new GL Gem Raman PL532 TEC.

Discovering Gems and Jewellery

UBC Continuing Studies at Robson Square is offering as part of their CULTURAL ENRICHMENT program:

– An Introduction (offered in the fall 2013)

– For Connoisseurs (offered in the spring 2013)

Gemstones have intrigued us throughout history and are reputed as symbols of wealth, power, healing and love. In this course, students explore the unique properties of gemstones that affect their value and study the locations where they are found. Participants will board a virtual tour of splendid gem collections found in museums around the world and discover the challenges in differentiating between natural and man-made gem materials. In addition, advice will be given for purchasing jewellery at various venues such as at auction.

Instructor: J. Wolf Kuehn, B.A., M.A., Dipl.oec., F.G.A., F.G.G.

WD511W13A Sat, March 2 – April 13, 2013, 12:30-2:30pm; UBC Robson Square. $360+tax

 WD510 W13 A Sat, March 2 – April 13, 2013, 3:00 – 5:00pm; UBC Robson Square. $380+tax (Interpreted in Mandarin)

To register contact UBC Continuing Studies.

C.I.G. Professional Development Program (AG-PDP)

The Canadian Institute of Gemmology is offering a self-guided study program leading to the Accredited Gemmologist (C.I.G.)® diploma for students who have completed a gemmology program with another institution.

Upon successful completion of the AG-PDP credits and fulfillment of other requirements (such as submission of a scientific paper and payment of an annual license fee) graduates are entitled to use the international recognized designation Accredited Gemmologist (C.I.G.)®.

Entrance Requirements

“Fine Jewellery Expert (C.I.G.)”, F.G.A. or equivalent from other institutions; foreign candidates may apply but must enter Canada under a visitor’s visa (no student visas available). If credentials were obtained before 2002 a practical entrance test must be passed.

Course Credits Required

  • All C.I.G. GEM 200-level courses
    • GEM 210 Diamond Grading
    • GEM 220 Advanced Gemmology
    • GEM 230 Gem Colour Grading
    • GEM 250 Gem Identification II
  • For this course it is recommended that students have basic gem testing equipment at their disposal to complete individual projects at home or at their work place; students will also learn the use of UV- VIS – NIR spectrometers. There will be a five-day practical workshop to complete the AG-PDP program.

To obtain certification as an Accredited Gemmologist (C.I.G.)® a scientific paper has to be submitted within 6 months of completion of the A.G. (C.I.G.) diploma exam. See course outline or View/Download brochure (PDF) and View/Download Application Form (PDF). If you have any further questions about the AG-PDP program please call (604) 530-8569.

Individual courses must be completed within 12 months; courses leading to a certificate or diploma must all be completed within 24 months.

For more info about the C.I.G. Professional Development Program (AG-PDP) go to Advanced (GEM 200-level) Courses or download brochure (PDF).

World Gem Society

The Canadian Institute of Gemmology is a member of the World Gem Society.

For a nominal fee you can access a variety of resources available.