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Venue and Date
Participation Fee

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Institut de Recherche pour le Développement - IRD (France)

University of Nairobi (Kenya)

French Embassy in Kenya


ministry educ
Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Government of Kenya
Geological Survey of Kenya

France cooperation

LMTG (France)

CRPG/CNRS (France)


sapphireMinerals are an important component of the resource base of a country. Their systematic exploration and development bring socio-economic progress and help in achieving self-reliance. Gemstones are the minerals which are valued for their beauty and rarity and have been treasured since the dawn of history for personal ornament and as precious symbols of tribute, wealth, power, and prestige. The study of gems is an absorbing interest, not only to those whose business is to buy and sell jewellery but to the common men and women for their own personal interest and liking. Gemstones are rare and not evenly distributed throughout the world. Some areas seem to be favoured with an abundance of gem species while others are totally barren.

sain-LouisEach gem deposit is a product of a complex interplay of different geological processes which have taken millions of years to produce them. Most gemstones occur in characteristic geological environments and they require specific means and methods for their exploration.

Over the past decades, the gem business throughout the world has seen unprecedented incursion of synthetic gems in the international market making it difficult for most of the potential buyers to distinguish between a natural and a synthetic stone. Similarly, there are problems in selecting and exploring the areas which may be geologically most likely to host different types of gems and precious and semi-precious stones.

To answer some of these questions, the IRD and the University of Nairobi in collaboration the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, the Geological Survey of Kenya and the French Embassy in Kenya is organizing a six-day workshop on "Gemstones: Their Geology and Gemmology" from 19th to 24th July 2010 at The University of Nairobi, Department of Geology, Nairobi, Kenya.

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mineralThe main objective of this workshop is to present new data and information on some broad aspects of gemmology. In the process of doing so, the organizers intend to present an overview of new trends in geology and gemmology and the effects of modern technology in the search and sale of gemstones and to suggest areas where future work may be of value.


This workshop is designed to provide some basic reference material, procedural techniques and ideas for those who have either an academic or business interest in gems and gemmology. Included will be such topics as: geological and geographical distribution of gemstones, genesis and classification of gemstones, geology and gemstone deposits of Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar, study of corundum and emerald deposits; gemstone-bearing pegmatites and other rock suites, study of vanadium garnet ("tsavorite") and vanadium zoisite ("tanzanite"), gem deposits of Madagascar, mineralogical and gemmological features of some common gemstones, fluids in gemstones and isotopic implications, an introduction to techniques for differentiating between a natural and a synthetic stone in the laboratory, and a three-day field trip in the Voi mining district.

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