If you are around in Bangkok at the end of January, you are most welcome to join us and attend the 53rd GIA Gemstone Gatherings on January 25th 2012.
This month the GIA Lab and school in Bangkok are happy to welcome Stephane Jacquat, Director at Piat Thailand and Vincent Pardieu, Supervisor, Field Gemology at the GIA Laboratory Bangkok.
We will give a presentation about "Pakistan, Gems from the Silk Roads"
That presentation will be in fact the second part of the presentation about "Afghanistan: Gems from the Silk Roads" I gave already on December 28th in Bangkok as the person who was supposed to give the presentation initially on that date had to cancel it. So we decided to cut that presentation in two parts.
"For nearly 1500 years, between 100 BC to about 1300 AD, Northern Pakistan was part of the famous Silk Roads, the extensive trade network linking China, India and Europe. With the decrease of the trade on the Silk Roads after the black death pandemic that killed millions along the Silk Roads and the insecurity arising from the end of the Mongol Empire, the international trade moved to maritime “roads” within the Indian Ocean leaving the mountains of what is now known as Northern Pakistan as some of the most remote places on Earth.
Places like Gilgit, Hunza, Nagar and Skardu were extremely difficult to access before the end of the 20th century, but thanks to the construction of the Karakoram highway and air travel they are today famous for producing a diverse range of beautiful gems and minerals.
In the 1960’s and 70’s gemologists like Dr. Gubelin or gem merchants like Daniel Piat visited the region. They reported on rubies, mined from the white marbles dominating the old fortress of Hunza, whose red color could rival that of the gems from Burma.
In September 2011, thanks to the support of Syed Iftikhar Hussein, a gem merchant from Pakistan, Stephane Jacquat and Vincent Pardieu travelled together to Northern Pakistan in order to collect reference specimens for the GIA Laboratory, Bangkok. Their first stop was the ruby deposits near Hunza, then they continued to the new ruby deposit near Bisil, a village located north of Skardu in the Basha valley. Subsequently they continued their journey along the Karakoram highway to visit the Kaghan valley where ruby and sapphire were recently discovered at about 4000 m (12,000 feet) altitude near Batakundi just a few kilometers from the border between Indian and Pakistani controlled Kashmir.
This presentation will focus on the latest news on ruby and sapphire mining in Pakistan (Hunza, Bisil and Batakundi) and will also briefly cover ruby mining at Nangimali, a deposit located in Pakistan controlled Kashmir which V. Pardieu visited in 2006."
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