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 Post subject: Don't get the wrong idea!
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 12:03 pm 
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I've read through all of the posts here and I can see how it would be easy to get the wrong idea about AIGS. I visited very recently and I met a lot of the office staff and instructors and everyone was great to me. Especially I don't want people to have a bad impression of Nina (keemoog) or of Cheryl and Alec- or of the other students that I met like Chaiwat who have not weighed in yet on this thread.

The vibes that I got from everyone were amazingly positive and even if they didn't say it directly in this thread I can tell you that they enjoy gemology immensely and they had a great experience. I could feel it in their mood and in their excitement and in the pervasive energy that followed us wherever we were during my visit.

I met a really great bunch of people at AIGS and they did not strike me for a second as whiners or complainers. Things need to be fixed at AIGS but the students are not among those things. Every student who is passionate about studying wants the best education they can get and if you read between the lines you will see that is exactly what these folks want.

Gemologists tend to be a passionate bunch. Think a bit about the personalities that you have met in your gemology studies and use that information to frame this discussion and you might understand it a bit better. I doubt anyone will be scared away from AIGS who has some understanding of the beauty of a stone and the kind of people who appreciate that beauty. We are the kind of people who always want more. It is pervasive in our lives.

I am not speaking for all of you but be honest- you want to know more... and experience more... and you want to see that stone that is just a teensy bit more brilliant than your last favorite or just maybe a bit closer to "true" top color, don't you?

Keep at it. We're making progress.

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Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. ~Mark Twain


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 12:06 pm 
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cherlec. consider it rested. I think that it is wonderful you both have chosen to expand your knowledge from AIGS with the outside tutoring class in Chanthaburi. As i mentioned The Education is the cornerstone upon which you can build your house. no one, regardless of their desires can become a top notch gemologist simply by becoming certified, for that you need many years in the market, as i am sure that you learned from your tutor. this also goes with the synthetics class. When i took it, after i looked at every stone in the microscope, i then louped it to try and find the same inclusions and see what they look like under 10x. try it. its that whole foundation thing.

without using the microscope you wont know what to look for in the first place. though as i am sure that you have already looked through the photoatlas book in the library you already know many of the characteristic inclusions of both naturals and synthetics, so maybe you need no microscope at all which is fantastic. From people i have met in the market who have been buying for years, even with all their experience they still make mistakes with synthetics when using the loupe. if people with 15+ years of experience daily in the market still have problems ID syn stones, how can anyone be expected to become "loupe fluent" in one month? the microscope is the basis with which to begin that education of id'ing inclusions, once you are fluent IDing inclusions with that then you can hope to become fluent with the loupe in the market, over time of course.

Also, i and the other members of this forum would love to hear of the methods you describe to more quickly id the characteristics you mentioned. For the DR is it the method of seeing doubling of the pavilion facet we learned in Gem ID, and for the pleochrosim is it viewing the stone from different angles and noting any color changes which was also Gem ID? If there is a different method can you advise this is the kind of thing i love to learn, the little tricks. Also please advise on the irradiation ID method, as i will readily admit aside from the method Agate mentioned, i dont know of another, so i would love to find that out!

As for the Spinel treatment i was also told that it has been tried but not done on any large scale. The teachers are not gods. they know what they know, what they have seen. one of the first things you realize in the SYn class is that every hour of everyday, there is someone trying to make some stone better. again, secrecy in the burning room is paramount, and those burning dont give up those secrets easily. You are very lucky to have seen treated spinel up close and personal. what was the treatment and how do you detect it? i would love to know! i have only seen photos of heated spinel. so i would love to hear of any new treatments.

And for the visa problems, sucks that your classmates had those problems. was this at the embassy in another country or at the immigration office on soi suan plu which is 10 minutes from the school? if soi suan plu, that place is notoriously difficult and hostile at times, and they have my sympathy even speaking thai that place is hard.

also the equipment supply store in the gem trade center has a mini microscope 40-60x i believe which is not too expensive. i personally have put together my own, quite small lab case, in a waterproof "pelican"case, about 9"x7"x4". which can fit all the equipment Laurent mentioned in addition to this microscope, refractometer, and scale. It makes my night in the hotel room after buying much more fun that just the TV!

_________________
"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference."
Robert Frost- 1916


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:43 pm 
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cherlec wrote:
... They can't teach students how to see doubly and pleochroism with a 10x or the faster way of finding out is the stone has been irridiation ? ...


Hello Cherlec,
Well I'm curious here: Can you explain to us what is the "faster way of finding out if the stone has beem irradiated"?

To my knowledge there is no way without a "fade test": See AIGS synthetic and treatment course page 50 or "Ruby and Sapphire" by Richard Hughes p 129, 130: I mean, you place the sapphire for around 1 hour at 5mm of a 150W light bulb, if the stone was an irradiated yellow sapphire (natural or synthetic) then its color will go down to its original color. It is a test the AIGS lab perform on all yellow and orange sapphires after agreement of the owners. Now would be curious to learn about another way...
Note this fade test is also useful for some other stones which can be irradiated like fluorite (irradiation turns colorless to violet) scapolite (irradiated to get purple from colorless or yellow) or spodumene (irradiated to get pink from colorless or green from kunzite) but the fade test is useless to detect irradiated beryl (irradiated to get yellow from colorless), quartz (irradiated to improve the color of rose quartz or create smoky quartz from colorless), topaz (irradiated to get brown from colorless) tourmaline (irradiated to get pink, red or purple from light pink, green or colorless or increase some yellow or orange)

Now I know a guy in Bangkok running a small lab as business (a lab providing useful reports telling that treated stones are not, that synthetic stones are natural, etc...) who used to explain to me when I was still a student that he could detect irradiation using a glass of water. He use the same glass of water to detect synthetic from natural amethyst... I still wait him to explain me his methods in details as it could be most useful to me and many other people working in gem labs over the world. But he was not willing to explain his "lab secrets".

Can you tell us more about this fast way to identify an irradiated stone... and I'm also very curious about way to identify if the irradiation was natural or not. I guess that all my fiends having big headhakes about green diamonds would also love to learn about some rapid ways... I have to admit that I have the feeling that you were provided here some wrong information. No problem as it happened to me also several times, but I would be nevertheless very interested to read what you were told in Chanthaburi...

cherlec wrote:
... However , i learned all this from others , others who has been going to the market for more than 20years . Who told me there are treatment for spinel but the school strongly believe there are none at the moment ...


Again Cherlec I would like to ask you if you have more information about that? I'm sure that there are some treatments for spinels. I mean you can treat everything, so if you take the words that stictly there is treatment for everything... Most of the time people say that "there is no treatment for spinel" it means that there is no "efficient" treatment...

I saw several treated spinels while working at AIGS lab and enquiring about that. They were fracture filled for most of them (with oil, resin or even once I saw one which was lead glass filled but was very ugly) I saw also several spinel which have been heated with some kind of flux, the stones were from a student whihc family is involved in the trade in Bangkok and Mae Sot. The two spinel he presented me were among the most ugly spinels I saw and the treatment was easy to detect with many alteration in fissures.
But in the case of spinel people have to be careful as sometimes some inlcusions have naturaly fissures and discoid like features that can mislead people and make them think that their spinel was may be heated. I had such experience several times....
Neverhtless I went at a presentation from Ken Scarratt of GIA in Bangkok may be 2 years ago: He was giving a lecture about heat treatment of spinels from Mahengue Tanzania which purpose was to increase the transparency of these stones which are sometimes quite milky. The treatment was not a high temperature heat treatment and then was not really detectable as most low temperature heat treatment. The change in the aspect of the stones was also not told to be very spectacular. I guess that this treatment exist, and it is to my knowledge performed in Thailand. But well to my knowledge it is not really efficient and not easy to detect...

Anyway the fact is that there is no "known" treatment to turn some ugly opaque spinel full of fissures into a "beauty queen" like in the case of rubies and sapphire it mean that the situation is not serious enough yet to turn the world upside down and scare everybody around about treated spinels...
But now may be in the future somebody will find a way to do it... I think that this could be quite sad, as all this stuff about people cheating in "Tour de France". I just hope that spinel will stay nwhat it is now: "A fine stone with no known treatment", meaning of course with "no known efficient treatment" except the fracture filling that can be applied to any stone with a fissure or the coating that can be applied to any stone with a surface, or low temperature heat treatment that can be done on any stone without changing dramaticaly its appearance,... and so on.

I think that learning outside from schools is very valuable, and I'm motivating all the time people to do it as you can see things from a different point of view and also you can understand how crooks operate which is quite useful to learn in order to avoid their tricks... It was useful to me as the first 6 stones I bought in my life were synthetics... LOL
But it is necessary to be also very carefull and do some serious personal research after to get confirmation. For that to have friendly teachers, a good library or to have a good contact with some professional lab gemologist can be very useful...

All the best,

_________________
Vincent Pardieu

www.fieldgemology.org
www.conservationgemology.org

The views expressed here are V. Pardieu’s opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of GIA Laboratory Bangkok (http://www.giathai.net)where he is an employee since Dec 2008.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 7:18 am 
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Everybody ,

Sorry if i'm making things more complicated than before .... All i wanted is the school to get better as i feel they are not improving in time ...... as for the spinel heated treatment . I know some guys are trying to remove the brownish colour in certain spinel with a low temperature .... they call warm , like what they are doing with tourmaline ..... and has been doing it for sometime .... that why i was surprise nobody knew about this in aigs or maybe i 'm wrong ..... i'm not the expert here ... i'm still picking up every bit of info i can get ...... for the irridiation , it 's what vincent said fade test .... i yet to try on diamond since it's too expensive so i can't tell if ti works on diamond , i seen people done it with topaz , zircon and others semi precious stone that has been irridiated ..... so vincent , have you try it out with a lighter before ? You put the stone that you think is irridiated on a metal plate and burn it with a lighter under it till it start to change colours ...... it 's the same if you have a irridiated stone and you wanted to set on a jewelry .... after setting , some time the stone seem different than before likes the colours gone fading .... you know you got a irridiated stone ....well if you try and doesn't work let me know so i can ask them what went wrong...... i not good at teaching or explaining that why i can't be a teacher ..... anyway i glad , we , gemology are sharing infomation here ..... and sorry again everyone.......


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 7:42 am 
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cherlec wrote:
Everybody ,

Sorry if i'm making things more complicated than before .... All i wanted is the school to get better as i feel they are not improving in time ...... as for the spinel heated treatment . I know some guys are trying to remove the brownish colour in certain spinel with a low temperature .... they call warm , like what they are doing with tourmaline ..... and has been doing it for sometime .... that why i was surprise nobody knew about this in aigs or maybe i 'm wrong ............


Hi Cherlec,
Well you are probably right, I guess that some people are doing that: Low temperature is all the time a possibility but as there is most of the time no way to detect it and as the result are not changing the stone from ugly into a beauty queen, people say that there is no known treatment, again it mean no "efficient" treatment with dramatic effects. The fact is that in Thailand some people really want ot find a way to treat gems, to have a secret technique, or to know somebody very strong who can do this or that... It gives some face, some imprtance sometimes, you become more interesting, people bring you their gems, try to be your friend,... This is the gem trade in Thailand. It can be true or not. It is full of characters, of great guys and of crooks. I met several people of both kinds. Some will show you their furnaces and explain a little bit, I'm then more willing to trust them especially when it make sense and when there is something to see... others will refuse and then I use to continue to wonder especially if I dont see anything special in their gems compared to gems from others. But well...

cherlec wrote:
i'm not the expert here ... i'm still picking up every bit of info i can get ...... for the irridiation , it 's what vincent said fade test .... i yet to try on diamond since it's too expensive so i can't tell if ti works on diamond , i seen people done it with topaz , zircon and others semi precious stone that has been irridiated ..... so vincent , have you try it out with a lighter before ? You put the stone that you think is irridiated on a metal plate and burn it with a lighter under it till it start to change colours ...... it 's the same if you have a irridiated stone and you wanted to set on a jewelry .... after setting , some time the stone seem different than before likes the colours gone fading .... you know you got a irridiated stone ....well if you try and doesn't work let me know so i can ask them what went wrong...... i not good at teaching or explaining that why i can't be a teacher ...


Well you explain quite well, at least I can understand what you say so it is fine. Ok I understand the lighter technique, it is basically the same as the bulb just it can be a little bit more violent... But the lighter is more easy to find in a market than a light bulb.
The metalic plate in important also when you perform the fade test with a bulb as the metal will take the heat away as it is a good heat conductor. If you want to do it safely you have to add a fan to cool the stone which was placed under the light bulb. Then the stone only get strong light a few heat as the heat is carried away by the fan and the metalic plate.When heat is not present a stone with inclusions will survive to the test.
With the lighter test some stone may get damaged as some inclusions can "explode" and the stone might be broken. I personaly have broken like that (Light bulb, no fan, no metal plate) one of my sapphires which had some large negative crystals. So be careful with the lighter test in some cases it can be a problem.

Note: of course never perform a fade test without the agreement of the stone owner as if the test is succesful the color will be lost and then to bring it back you will have to find a way to irradiate the stone again...

cherlec wrote:
anyway i glad , we , gemology are sharing infomation here ..... and sorry again everyone.......


No need to be sorry Cherlec, it was nice to speak with you and I'm sure that people at AIGS have no problem with what you said.
The fact is that people at AIGS are very open, and again it is one of the value AIGS is standing for: beiing open and share knowledge. At least this is what I learned from Henry Ho when I was working closely with him.

All the best,

_________________
Vincent Pardieu

www.fieldgemology.org
www.conservationgemology.org

The views expressed here are V. Pardieu’s opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of GIA Laboratory Bangkok (http://www.giathai.net)where he is an employee since Dec 2008.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 12:29 pm 
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hey agate: what are the dates? maybe i can swing a $1400.00 plane ticket and 24 hour flight to go. Just kidding. Isn't this a great world where we can express our thoughts and opinions? Vincent, great post. But the rats wanting to sleep with you is a bit much. We just saw them on the ceiling at the local restaurant. Great food by the way. At first I thought it was a cat, but no it was just a big rat.

Hey, I heard Henry Ho came by this week and visited the classroom. Gave everyone his card and said if they had any problems to give him a call. So things are picking up maybe. Cherlec hang in there, you're almost done. And don't be afraid to tell the world your opinions. Look Henry came by so you must be doing something right. The next thing you know the duct tape will be gone...ha...


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 1:08 pm 
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I've been following this thread and so much of what is "wrong" with the AIGS is exactly the same sort of problems that you find in ANY non first world country. Administrative difficulties (which are usually solvable by a small "tip" to hurry things along and are often "created" for exactly that purpose), rats and cockroaches (in West Africa we had the house sprayed twice a year and the garden once a month for insects because no matter how clean you keep it, those little (and not so little) buggers are part of the local environment. The rats, well I can't say I've ever had any in the house itself, but if I did, I'd be setting out poisoned food for them in the hallway. The difficulty in getting things repaired and replacing things... I don't know what it's like in Thailand but here in Egypt, which I would call a 2nd world country, it would be utterly impossible to have equipment properly repaired locally. It's normal to kind of freak out about things like that at first, but it's really not fair to judge on a 1st world standard, because these countries are not first world countries.

It's always a bit of a shock to find yourself in a place where things just aren't like at home, don't work like at home, aren't as efficient as back home, but I think that you probably have to take the bad with the good. From the comments that have been made, there are obviously a fair number of things that need improvement at the AIGS, but then again, the tuition isn't anywhere near what you would pay for the same information at home. And you wouldn't get anywhere near the gem markets or the burners.

The visa thing is a big problem and a time waster though. I imagine that after the coup, things in the administration are probably still quite unsettled, and no one wants to stick their head too far above the crowd in fear of having it cut off. But for any of you might talk with the people who own the AIGS, you might suggest to them to do what the international companies tend to do when they have offices abroad... hire a local "Mr. Fixit" to look after this stuff, either full time or "as needed". I'm sure that if the owners don't know someone themselves with the right knowledge and connections, their transit agent, customs agent or similar probably does. Most of the top-end hotels probably provide a "Meet and Greet" (visa and transport) service for their clients at the airport, those guys know everyone in Immigration after a while. Maybe there are some who are interested in a second job, or changing jobs (depending on the workload).


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 1:37 pm 
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Hi 'nuck:

Found your post very interesting. :) We Canadians and Americans have a nasty little secret. We with great enthusiasm prat on about third world conditions and hope that nobody calls us on it.

Alaska .. and canada's far north as well .. the appalachias and probably more that don't come to mind at the moment are third world enviroments they just happen to belong to us :oops:

The problem is really unmet expectations by people who live in "first world" cities in both countries (of course we ignore the "third world" parts of these cities) (toronto's gun ridden east end) It says much about the life styles in both countries that young people are so unprepared for reality when travelling, also it would be interesting to see their reaction if they had to apply for a visa to either Canada or the states in one of these countries. it would be an eye opener.

For the most part Canadian and American youth feel that the world should receive them with open arms just because they are who they are. Sorry folks it just doesn't work tht way.

Anyway guess I should get down off my soap box now huh :)

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 2:59 pm 
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I've been following this thread with great interest from a long way away from AIGS.
It seems the grass is always greener on the other side: I've just started a course in Germany. I'm happy with the school which is state of the art in every respect incl. fees. I have loads of time to study, no roaches to share the bathroom with. I have more time than I would ever have taken to study in BKK because......
The course at AIGS was much more fun in so far as BKK is a more pleasant place to live, it is warm even when it rains, people are very friendly, the relationship amongst the students at the time was great, lots to do in BKK and plenty of stone dealers one could visit, especially Scott.
None of this in Idar-Oberstein. It is a small town in a low income area. No decent place to eat or shop for food, most shops close at 5 pm just when we leave school. Fellow students go their own ways after class, after one week we don't even know each other's name.
I consider myself lucky as my apartment neighbor also attends the course.
We get on well and study together during the long evenings.

Field trips: None in Idar-oberstein when doing colored stone id. Not even to a cutter. Yet there are plenty of these workshops in town.
It is even difficult to visit the workshops on our own as the people are not keen to deal with novices like us as we just come to look and not to buy.
Dealers with proper shops sell many stones which are not locally cut but come from India, Sri Lanka etc. The quality is no better than what I saw in BKK. I miss visits to Scott.

Agreed that visa problems in Thailand can be a nuisance. Don't overlook that other countries like USA, GB, Germany are no more helpful to foreigners seeking entry to our countries. I was told today that it has become almost impossible now for people from some of the Asian countries to get a visa to attend the course here. No great help from the school. The German embassy decides.

While there are problems at AIGS which ought to be addressed by the owners, Thailand and AIGS aren't too bad. Don't judge too harshly.

Ursula


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 3:45 pm 
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keemoog99 wrote:
Vincent, great post. But the rats wanting to sleep with you is a bit much. We just saw them on the ceiling at the local restaurant. Great food by the way. At first I thought it was a cat, but no it was just a big rat.


LOL Keemoog, the rat stuff in Burma is not too much: It is true: As I really have a personal problem with rats: Few days after starting living in my room I noticed some rat shit all around. One day a rat coming back from my classes I saw a rat in the room and he escaped using a hole under the back door... From that day I used to sleep on the table (which was one of my only furniture...).
You have to understand that in Burma it was not that easy few years ago to find a homestay as foreigners are not allowed to stay in private houses. Good hotels were too expensive for my budget and small hotels are full of rats and bugs... (One of my students: Guillaume Soubiraa was bitten last year at night by a rat in one of the $3 per night hotels I advised him to go as he wanted to travel as cheap as I was doing when i was a backpacker...)
Nevertheless I was able to get a room close to the place I was learning belonging to a major from the Military intelligence, the Burmese KGB, but well it was ground floor and there were rats.

Again in Bangkok or Burma you dont have to stay with rats or bugs... If you have the money you can stay in a nice appartement. But well at that time I was trying to live as locals do and I had to get used to rats and bugs.
Later when I was working for Henry Ho as gem buyer in Burma I used to stay at the Kandawgyi Hotel in Yangon which belongs to Henry family.
http://www.kandawgyipalacehotel.com/en/index.htm It is a great place and there no rats or bugs. I highly recommend it. But well it is not $3 per night...

All the best,

_________________
Vincent Pardieu

www.fieldgemology.org
www.conservationgemology.org

The views expressed here are V. Pardieu’s opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of GIA Laboratory Bangkok (http://www.giathai.net)where he is an employee since Dec 2008.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 3:59 pm 
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keemoog99 wrote:

Hey, I heard Henry Ho came by this week and visited the classroom. Gave everyone his card and said if they had any problems to give him a call. So things are picking up maybe. Cherlec hang in there, you're almost done. And don't be afraid to tell the world your opinions. Look Henry came by so you must be doing something right. The next thing you know the duct tape will be gone...ha...


Hi Keemoog,

As you stress again (with humor I feel..) on this "duct tape" and associate again personaly Henry Ho to this stuff, I would like to speak a little bit of him as reading this topic on the forum people may get a wrong opinion of somebody I appreciate a lot and have a lot of admiration for:

The fact is that Henry is one of the nicest person I've met in Asia during those 7 years there. One of the nicest and one of the most interesting gemologically speaking: I've learned from him many things and I own him a lot as he was the only one to give me a job when I was badly needing one after the end of my gemological studies. I have to say here that I was not the only one able to start a carreer in the gem trade thanks to his help: So many people. Anyway, he gave me the possibility to start something in the gemological field professionaly and i would not be where I'm now without his help.

Henry is an entrepreneur kind on man, very creative, open and philanthropic. He is the son of a person who did a lot for Thailand to become what it is now. Henry was one of the living kings of the gem trade before the Asian crisis but he was very badly hit by the crisis...
You can read about his story at the following link:
http://www.scottmurray.com/henryho.htm
This story was written just before the Asian crisis but it explain also about why AIGS and the JTC tower were created.
Besides AIGS and the JTC, Henry possible greatest achievement in the gemstone field was to gather people and raise funds in Thailand to buy the world largest cut diamond. At that time the king of Thailand was sick and people were affraid that he may pass away. Henry presented the diamond to the King of Thailand for his golden jubilee, his 72th birday as a present from the Thai People for the king to recover.
The diamond is known now as the "Golden Jubilee". Henry also created special cuts for diamonds: The king and the Queen cut to Honnor the King and the Queen of Thailand.
After the crisis many companies from the Ho group went bankrupt as many other groups which have invested in real estate and buildings they faced some severe financial difficulties...
Henry lost the control of the Jewelry Trade Centre, you can imagine that he went through some very difficult times but nevertheless he never gave up and faced the situation... May be he was helped by the exemple of his father, a rich Burnese- chinese businessman who lost everything in Burma when the military took over the country in 1962 and turn the country into a communist economy. The Ho then lost their ruby and Jade mines in mogok, their house and Henry father was allowed to leave Burma just with a suitcase and half of his children as the others were kept as hostage in Burma for several years...
Henry father was able to start again from nothing building one of the best gem brokerage companies in the world in Bangkok.
1997 was another 1962 and for the second time the Ho family business was crushed by events they had no way to deal with...
As after 1962, the Ho did not gave up and Henry Ho is still there looking after AIGS at the JTC tower ( the building he built during the 1990s) working between the 6th and the 33rd floor of the JTC tower trying to be positive about the future. 10 years after the Asian Crisis AIGS is still there, Ok there is some duct tape and the instruments are as old as the school, but Keemoog: 10 years ago AIGS was nearly dead... Now it is recovering and next year AIGS will celebrate its 30 years anniversary with my friend Laurent Massi as Laboratory Director and possibly Henry Ho young brother Kennedy Ho as School General manager or new CEO (I'm not sure...)
Currently Henry, helped by Hoyu (a former AIGS student who used to be a regular member of my week end team) is focussing on a project with the Swiss watch making company Sarcar:
They currently promote and sell a special collection of watches with king cut diamonds to celebrate the King of Thailand coronation anniversary ( 60 years last year) and his 80 years old birthday next December...
Until December 2007 you can understand that Henry is quite busy and this is one of the reason you dont see him regularly at AIGS. The other reason is that he appointed a new CEO at AIGS one year ago.
You have to understand that Henry is very respectful of his people and employees and when he gives the management of AIGS to somebody he trust, he gives this person a chance and will not go to show off or check everyday in the school or the lab as it could damage the authority of the person he just put in place.
In Thailand it is important not to damage the face of others and Henry as a well educated Asian person is very respectful of that. When he appointed me as Director of the AIGS lab he was very respectful of my position and I can tell you that it was a pleasure to take care about the AIGS gemological laboratory for him...
Henry does not speak badly about people especially about people he dont know and if he has his opinion about them, he is all the time careful not to hurt people by mistake and try to avoid things to became conflictual if things turn quite bad.

I heard that the new CEO he appointed one year ago got some serious family problems and she was possibly not able to spend as much time as she wanted at AIGS. Nevertheless Henry gave her a chance... This is probably the reason why you were not able to see her and there was some management problems at the school...
But I dont think that Henry is to blame even if I can see that he is taking whatever things seriously, noticed the problem and came to the school to see the students...

I have to admit that I've a lot of admiration and esteem for him and other people I know from his family and I dont like when I read the posts around here that people may feel that Henry Ho does not care about AIGS and its students.

In my opinion, you should not have been that hard with him on the forum: This is why I'm writting this post: I dont want people around to have a bad opinion of him or of AIGS because of this "no Show" and this "duct tape" as it would be completly unfair.

Regarding the "duct tape", it reminds me an old story where I was hurt by one of my best friends. A sad story as it was not his intention to go in trouble with me as I dont think that you have any bad intentions writting here about these no show and this duct tape...

It is a gemstone story:
One day I was having lunch with a group of AIGS students and i was given back by a former student a ring I just asked him to fix as it was a little bit too large for the finger of the girl I was about to marry. The ring was a Burmese hand made ring holding a 9 carats Mogok spinel I spent 6 months to negociate in Burma. A pink spinel with a beautiful and rare color. A stone amazingly cut with no window and a minimum extinction.
A very special stone as it was the first stone I bought for Henry, a stone we kept in our special not for sale collection for a long time and took back in Burma to have it set by Mogok best goldsmith, an old man still working the way jewellers of the Burmese kings of the XIX century were working. I asked the ring to be made as a nice traditional engagement ring. A kind of prototype. It was a beauty and Henry allowed me to I buy back this ring for me as a souvenir...
Of course the spinel was a "native cut" as you may be know I really love these cut giving stones more personality and a Burmese taste that something too symetric or "perfect".
The stone had a small natural at the girdle something which was looking like a small cheap. I liked it as it is perfect to remember that nothing is perfect and beauty can arrange itself of small imperfections.
The AIGS students were around and I allowed them to have a look at my ring. They were truly amazed by the stone and the ring work as they were appreciating it also because I explained to them the story being the ring and the stone
One of my best friend then arrived in the group. He saw the ring, took it and expressed one comment:
"Hey, this stone has a problem here, a chip or something... His face was like tha face of somebody looking as a bird shit which just falled on his steak...

The students were either laughting or were suddently willing to see again the stone to check this chip.

I was so mad at him!

Ok it was true that the stone had a small natural at the girdle which was visible... Ok he was probably not thinking doing anything bad, but in fact he had insulted in public the stone and the ring I was about to give to my wife. It was so unfair...

I dont want to be the school teacher here with you, but even if my friend was not thinking that he was doing bad when he bring people attention to my stone small imperfection, he hurted me and I was mad at him for quite a long time as I realized that he had no tact and was not able to behave in public with a stone which was not his property...
This duct tape is I feel of the same kind: It is unfair to AIGS and Henry as you associate Henry name with this detail in several of your posts. But well it is probably true and would be better if it could be fixed.

People can get hurt by unfair reports, even if they are not written with bad intentions...
I feel that it would be unfair to judge a school and somewhere a person like Henry Ho on a duct tape case... I hope that you can understand my point here and I feel that this is also what lenaraiwa and davegimchee was willing to say.

In my opinion AIGS is a great place to study gemology but it is far to be perfect. Some people may appreciate it's atmosphere some other people not. Again there is no best school in the world for everybody. The best school is the one which fit to your needs, your projects, your budget and your limitations...
AIGS is in my opinion an ideal place for people with a passion for gemology and colored stones to study as it is a freidnly place with a great collection, located in the most active gem business area in Bangkok. A perfect base to explore Thailand gemological secrets, to make friends and may be start a career in the gem trade or in gemology.
But well in 6 months you will put a feet in gemology or have a taste of what is the gemstone trade, then the most difficult will still be to be done... as a gemology diploma is like a driving licence. There is a difference between getting a driving licence and winning a Formula One race... The difference is mainly experience and hard work.

I'm convinced that in my case it was a wise choice to decide to follow Richard Hughes steps and go to Asia to learn about gemology as he did. I'm happy about what I experienced there even if I had a lot to complain about different things sometimes, all these difficulties helped me to become stronger and I hope better. At the end I feel that it was really worth everything... but again this is just my $0,02 opinion.

All the best,

_________________
Vincent Pardieu

www.fieldgemology.org
www.conservationgemology.org

The views expressed here are V. Pardieu’s opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of GIA Laboratory Bangkok (http://www.giathai.net)where he is an employee since Dec 2008.


Last edited by vincent pardieu on Tue Aug 07, 2007 1:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 4:17 pm 
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Location: Bangkok, Thailand
africanuck wrote:
The visa thing is a big problem and a time waster though. I imagine that after the coup, things in the administration are probably still quite unsettled, and no one wants to stick their head too far above the crowd in fear of having it cut off. But for any of you might talk with the people who own the AIGS, you might suggest to them to do what the international companies tend to do when they have offices abroad... hire a local "Mr. Fixit" to look after this stuff, either full time or "as needed". I'm sure that if the owners don't know someone themselves with the right knowledge and connections, their transit agent, customs agent or similar probably does. Most of the top-end hotels probably provide a "Meet and Greet" (visa and transport) service for their clients at the airport, those guys know everyone in Immigration after a while. Maybe there are some who are interested in a second job, or changing jobs (depending on the workload).


LOL Africanuck, its friday evening and I've some time to loose here to help my former school and my friends there...

There was a "Mr Fixit" at AIGS school during many years. He was doing a great job but I was told that he could not adapt to the new CEO and quid after a meeting where he had the feeling that the "new western style CEO" make him loose the face in public as his English was bad.
... "Difficult for a cat to get happy in a room full of dogs"...
He quid the day after and it seems that the remaining staff at AIGS had some problems for a while to fix all the visa headhakes with the new goverment... He was the only one who knew all the ins and out at the governement places. The staff at AIGS had then to learn how to do it the hard way. Probably that's the reason why some students got problems in a recent past while others were lucky to have things done more easily.
As we say:
"Shit happen everyday and will probably happen again tomorrow..."

I think that the problem will be fixed as the new people in charge will probably become more efficient. But well things can happen again as everywhere... The "new CEO" has now left to what I know and Kennedy Ho seems to be in charge now. I know Kennedy very well, as we met many times in Burma, as Henry Ho he is a very nice person, very knowledgeable, competent and intelligent.
but nevertheless problem may or will happen a s the world is like that: What about if the new "Mr Fixit" was to become sick for 3 weeks? Well I guess some other students will get headhakes to get their visa.

You are right Thailand is a great place but it is far to be without its own headhakes. But as a whole I do recommend the experience...

All the best,

_________________
Vincent Pardieu

www.fieldgemology.org
www.conservationgemology.org

The views expressed here are V. Pardieu’s opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of GIA Laboratory Bangkok (http://www.giathai.net)where he is an employee since Dec 2008.


Last edited by vincent pardieu on Sat Jul 28, 2007 3:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 5:35 pm 
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Quote:
There was a "Mr Fixit" at AIGS school during many years. He was doing a great job but I was told that he could not adapt to the new CEO and quid after a meeting where he had the feeling that the "new western style CEO" make him loose the face in public as his English was bad.
... "Difficult for a cat to get happy in a room full of dogs"...


Yes, that is the downside of a "Mr. Fixit", when he decides he no longer wants to fix things, you realize that he was the only guy with contacts, and then you're profondement dans le merde. :wink:

For a while, in one country, I worked for a gent who was a contractor for a large oil company amongst other things. This being West Africa, it was sometimes necessary to grease a palm or two in order to get people to actually do their jobs (to get your phone bill, usually 8 months late, so you could pay it before they cut you off for non-payment 2 months before you received the bill, for example). His solution was to require the people who were benefiting from his largess to come and see him, rather than allowing his minions to deal with the payment bit themselves. That way, those contacts were never lost, regardless of staff changes.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 5:48 pm 
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Wolf:

The real nasty little secret is that it's exactly the same thing in most countries, as far as I have seen. I can get DSL here in Cairo, I could have had it in Gabon if I had stayed for another year or so, yet where my house is in France, I can't. Two kilometers away, where half the French celebrities have their summer homes, they've had it for years. Ditto for a sewage system, in our village we're all on septic tanks, yet half our water bills consist of a fee for water treatment, something that obviously we don't use at all, but our vacationing friends do. People here in Egypt move from Luxor, Aswan etc to Cairo because the education system is better here than in the smaller towns.


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 Post subject: thanks vincent
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 8:43 am 
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Thanks Vincent for taking the time to share some of your experiences with us and giving some backgound about Henry Ho and AIGS.I am currently studying with GEM-A by correspondence course but would like in the future to study at AIGS to get more practical experience.I have spent a lot of the last 20 years travelling around Asia and from your experiences and some of the other posting here I realise that travel experience and understanding of other cultures (or not as the case may be!) are just as important as having an understanding of gemmology.


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