Posted in Stories
Sourcing my gemstones
I have always loved the Engine houses scattered throughout the Cornish countryside conjuring up images of the county’s past mining heritage and glory days…..which in turn always made me think carefully about where my own materials come from and a desire to source them personally, and of course super ethically. In early 2012 I finally did something about it by enrolling on an in-depth Gemmology course in the Birmingham jewellery quarter- a lot more Science than my artistic nature was used to but absolutely invaluable! I was trained in how to identify a range of precious gemstones, how to ascertain their quality in terms of colour, clarity and cut and also how to use a few key pieces of equipment ……..which I invested in straight away. Then I needed to put these new-found skills to the test.
My favourite gemstones to work with are sapphires for their precious myriad of colours and there is no better place to search for them than Sri Lanka, which I first visited in August 2013. I spent some time in the mining region where everyone seems to be involved in the gem industry in some way or the other ……I was very lucky and quickly made some lovely contacts who hooked me up with a couple of reputable mine owners and their affiliated stone dealers. I visited their mines, saw the whole process first hand and was generally blown away by the whole process….in a very good way!
A January visit to Sri Lanka, and to the same mines and their stone dealers, has been an annual pilgrimage ever since and flights are already booked for 2018- my 6th trip!