Preface & Chapter One

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Preface To The Revised, Enlarged 2nd Edition


This second edition has been enlarged and largely re-written. Five new introductory essays and ten new chapters have been added together with numerous photographs. Though the principles of connoisseurship are in some sense immutable, much has changed and a great deal has been learned since I took a deep breath and put the 1st edition to bed in 2002. First the changes:

The ruby mines at Mong Hsu have played out and new deposits with unique characteristics have been discovered in Tanzania, Madagascar and Mozambique. The discovery of hot pink spinel near Mahenge, Tanzania, together with the discovery in North Vietnam of quantities of a little known variety of spinel colored blue by Cobalt have profoundly altered both the market and the connoisseurship equation in spinel. The venerable natural pearl, more or less disregarded since the rise of the pearl culturing, has returned to prominence.   Cuprian tourmaline with characteristics that differ markedly from Brazilian Paraíba have been found in Mozambique.

The ruby, sapphire and spinel chapters have been completely rewritten and after much study, additional chapters on jade, natural nacreous pearls, conch pearl, demantoid garnet, peridot, moonstone and sunstone have been added, together with introductory chapters on all except demantoid garnet. A new introduction to blue white diamonds explaining the historical development and true meaning of the term along with a chapter on Golconda (type IIa) diamonds have also been added.

My travels have continued. I have spent time buying emerald in Bogotá and visited the mines of Boyacá, broadening and deepening my understanding of emerald. Several excursions along Jade Row at the Hong Kong Gem Show, together with a visit to the jade market in Guangzhou, China, has sharpened my understanding, I hope, of that inscrutable gem. I have returned several times to Bangkok and been privileged to speak with many of the great experts that reside in that city and have visited the spinel mines and markets of Luc Yen, North Vietnam.

As always the reader will judge the quality of my efforts.
Happy reading,

Richard W. Wise


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