"Understanding Rough Gemstones"

Understanding Rough Gemstones by Shyamala Fernandes and Gagan Choudhary encompasses a wide gamut of the knowledge of rough gemstones in a manner that is simple, effective and relevant. Understanding Rough Gemstones is one of the first in-depth books on the subject of rough gemstones written by Indian authors. Given the nature of the book, Understanding Rough Gemstones appeals to both, members of the trade and consumers alike, especially as it highlights the business of gemstones right from rough stones, their mining and evaluation, up to their identification for the end result.

Understanding Rough Gemstones is being published, edited, marketed and distributed by the Indian Institute of Jewellery (IIJ).

From the business point of view, Understanding Rough Gemstones is an asset to those who wish to deal in rough gemstones; whether it is identification, awareness of the possible treatments and processes, recognition of synthetic rough stones, or simply learning how to evaluate, assort and buy rough stones, this book covers it all. This book will create a very favorable and encouraging environment for more such efforts, a much needed impetus to the untapped talent in our country that requires some support to generate similar literary ventures.

As authors Shyamala Fernandes and Gagan Choudhary reveal in the preface, “It would almost be unfair to not share the knowledge and experiences that we have acquired over the last 30 years. We have best tried to share our experiences faced during testing in the laboratory as well as answer as many questions put forth by students, most of whom have battled problems in the identification of rough gemstones. Emphasis has been laid on the understanding of basic concepts in a simpler language, keeping in mind the accuracy of the technical matter. This enables even a layperson to understand the basic concepts of rough identification and the factors to be kept in mind while observing a rough gem material. Our overall concept was that, given a single stone or a large lot of stones, you will be able to identify and evaluate the identity and quality of a stone using a methodical, step-by-step process”.

Clearly, since one of the newest trends in jewellery involves gemstones and currently being used in the rough form to create some aesthetic and one of kind jewellery. Understanding Rough Gemstones is no exception.

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About the Book

Understanding Rough Gemstones has been divided into 8 chapters that navigate you through the fascinating world of gemstones and answers almost every question that one may have on this subject. For starters, the language used is charmingly simple even while explaining the most intricate and technical aspects of gemstones. That certain sense of simplicity that makes the concepts much easier to comprehend is what separates this book from the rest in this genre. The book also includes unique sections such as, “Reality Matters,” which tells readers of amusing anecdotes from the rough gemstone trade, or the reference sections “Terminology in Hindi” that ensures the book is actually useful to readers, most of whom work with jewellery and gems in India. Another noteworthy aspect of this book is its wide scope, one that makes it a must-have for every individual associated with gemmology. The book will, literally, take you across the globe. First, as it explores the gem stone deposits in each nook and cranny of India, and then, as it explains the prominent deposits of the world. Be it Orissa or Chile, all of it is covered by the authors.

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Author’s Word

Understanding Rough Gemstones by Shyamala Fernandes and Gagan Choudhary encompasses a wide gamut of the knowledge of rough gemstones in a manner that is simple, effective and relevant. Understanding Rough Gemstones is one of the first in-depth books on the subject of rough gemstones written by Indian authors. Given the nature of the book, Understanding Rough Gemstones appeals to both, members of the trade and consumers alike, especially as it highlights the business of gemstones right from rough stones, their mining and evaluation, up to their identification for the end result.

Understanding Rough Gemstones is being published, edited, marketed and distributed by the Indian Institute of Jewellery (IIJ).

From the business point of view, Understanding Rough Gemstones is an asset to those who wish to deal in rough gemstones; whether it is identification, awareness of the possible treatments and processes, recognition of synthetic rough stones, or simply learning how to evaluate, assort and buy rough stones, this book covers it all. This book will create a very favorable and encouraging environment for more such efforts, a much needed impetus to the untapped talent in our country that requires some support to generate similar literary ventures.

Understanding Rough Gemstones has been divided into 8 chapters that navigate you through the fascinating world of gemstones and answers almost every question that one may have on this subject. For starters, the language used is charmingly simple even while explaining the most intricate and technical aspects of gemstones. That certain sense of simplicity that makes the concepts much easier to comprehend is what separates this book from the rest in this genre. The book also includes unique sections such as, “Reality Matters,” which tells readers of amusing anecdotes from the rough gemstone trade, or the reference sections “Terminology in Hindi” that ensures the book is actually useful to readers, most of whom work with jewellery and gems in India. Another noteworthy aspect of this book is its wide scope, one that makes it a must-have for every individual associated with gemmology. The book will, literally, take you across the globe. First, as it explores the gem stone deposits in each nook and cranny of India, and then, as it explains the prominent deposits of the world. Be it Orissa or Chile, all of it is covered by the authors.

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About the Authors

"Shyamala Fernandes is currently the Technical Consultant for the Indian Institute of Jewellery, Mumbai. Since 2006, she has helped set up its School of Gemmology and the state-of-the-art laboratory – 'Attest'. She was the in-charge of the Gem Testing Laboratory, Jaipur from 1990 to 2003 and was designated as Joint Executive Director (Technical & Training) when she left the laboratory. She began her writing stint in 1983 and has authored and co-authored many articles and papers in different gemological and trade publications. Currently she is based at Thivim, Goa."


Gagan Choudhary is the in-charge of the Gem Testing Laboratory, Jaipur and designated as Deputy Director (Technical and Training). He began his gemmological career in 2001 at this same laboratory and was involved in various activities of the centre, which include several gemmological courses being conducted by the centre, certification and research. Today, activities of the laboratory have been restricted chiefly to certification and research. His research works routinely appear in various trade and technical gemmological journals published nationally and internationally.

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Book Reviews

What the readers have to say about Understanding Rough Gemstones:
To put all this information together is a great task, and I would like to congratulate the two authors, Shyamala Fernandes and Gagan Choudhary foir their work. The book is perfect for students who want to "dig" deeper into gemmology, so to say, especially for those who are travelling to mines and are confronted with rough stones prior to cutting. We will include this book in the bookshelf for our Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF students.

Dr. Michael S. Krzemnicki, Director, Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF


Whether one is a novice in the field of gemology or a veteran, Understanding Rough Gemstones, by Shyamala Fernandes and Gagan Choudhary, will definitely give one a refreshing and relevant view of gemstone rough.

Perhaps what makes this content of this book so intriguing is the fact that both authors have been closely associated with gemmology for practically their entire lives. They are not only incredibly passionate about the subject but also very well-read. The book manages to teach the reader a whole lot without becoming, at any point, monotonous or heavy.

Whether a student or a veteran gemologist, we are sure that there will be some gems of knowledge in this book for everyone. Loaded with picturesque photographs and characterized by charmingly simple writing, this book is must-readl!

Appeared in the Newsletter of the Canadian Institute of Gemmology


“Understanding Rough Gemstones” is an excellent introduction and perhaps the first comprehensive book on the topic; the numerous images help our students to better understand the gem trade form mine source to consumer

Wolf Kuehn, Director of Education, Canadian Institute of Gemmology, Vancouver B.C.


The two of you (Shyamala Fernandes & Gagan Choudhary) were right, that there is a niche in gemmology books for the assessment of rough material. Now that the first book is in print perhaps we may look forward to more

Gwyn Green – Gem-A Midlands, UK


It has taken some more time as scheduled for reading the book "Understanding Rough Gemstones", but now I have finished. It is a very interesting book - congratulations to the authors - and a valuable supplement of our library.

Dr. Ulrich Henn, Deutsche Gemmologische Gesellschaft, German Gemmological Association


Your book encourages teams to adopt strategic goals as their own and spread them throughout the organization. Continuous sharing of best practices it's the foundation for future strategies. I recommend it on a large-scale or locally, in numerous functions, across different types of organizations. I have found it a valuable framework on every continent and in any local communities.

Alberto Milani, CEO, Buccellati


Very many thanks, the book arrived yesterday. The care taken to preserve the book in good condition was excellent. I have had an initial look through the book and am impressed by how broadly the subject is covered. This is obviously very useful for student gemmologists.

It has made me realise how wonderful it would be to have a book concentrating specifically on Indian gem materials - one which is well illustrated and gives a lot of specialised information about the localities for the stones and the quality of material available - in the past as well as at present.

I hope this book will be a great success for the authors and it will encourage them to write the further book!

Alberto Milani, CEO, Buccellati


This is a very interesting book especially for Junior Gemologists and Traders.

I have read the book, it contains a complete detail about identification of rough gemstones. I doubt there is any other book in which we would find detailed information about rough gemstones.

Sanjay Jain, FGA, Nine Gems.


I have also read through this book the information is very good although most of this can be found in other publications.

What is useful is that the authors do point out that this is after many years of experience, in other words you cannot learn how to value, buy and assess rough for cutting just by reading the book you have to handle the material and build up your own experience which can lose you money as well as make money, like gemology you can learn RI's but you have to be able to use a refractometer correctly first to take one.

In regard to the request for a book with more specialist information on localities etc, the main reason people in the rough business, stay in business, is that they keep competitors away from their suppliers, after all why should they share their hard won information with the world, they know if they do this other competitors will rush in to take the rough for themselves. Sorry to put a downer on this request but this is what happens if you give everything to the world today.

Alan Clark FGA, DGA, The Gemmological Association of Great Britain


I'm sorry for the delay in responding to this discussion, because I think it's important for people in the gem and jewelry field to understand what an important contribution you've made to the literature.

I've had your book for about a year and think it is a "must have" for anyone in our field. It doesn't matter whether or not one has an interest in "rough" stones (that is, not cut and polished); this book provides important insights into every step involved from unearthing the rough to bringing it to market. And the historical, geological, and marketing information better enables people to grasp the intricacies and complexities that ultimately result in the beautiful gem that finds its way into a piece of jewelry. The photos are wonderful and the section on crystallographic features and how this provides important clues to the identity/origin of the gemstone is one of the best I've seen. The book is written in a way that keeps the interest of the reader, page after page, and provides useful information that can assist in identification and valuation.

I highly recommend this book, and think it should be on the shelf of anyone who is interested in gemstones.

Antoinette Matlins


I received a copy of this book at the Jaipur Mines to Market Conference in November 2011 (which as an aside I can say was one of the finest conferences I have ever attended). Let me say that when I found this volume in the conference "kit" I was excited, as I had intended to try and purchase a copy when I got to Jaipur. Also in the kit was the wonderful volume on emerald, which is also a terrific addition to the gemological literature.

Let me say this. I have enjoyed browsing the book "Understanding Rough Gemstones." Just the title is intriguing, as there is no other book covering this topic. However, the title is somewhat misleading, as only a small portion of the book is devoted specifically to understanding gem rough. That portion is fantastic, and the book would be valuable on that count alone. But the book also contains lots of other material of a general gemological nature. As I have a particular interest in Indian gems and Indian gemology (which goes back at least as far as Pliny), I found lots of great stuff on Indian localities that can only be found elsewhere by combing the periodical literature.

If I had to make suggestions for future editions, I would like to see some of the illustrations made larger. The book is full color throughout (which I love, and find a necessity when discussing 'colored' stones). But many of the pics are a tad small.

And I'd like to see the section on buying rough expanded. This is a fertile vein, one rarely mined in the gemological literature and I'd love to see more of it.

In any event, I can wholeheartedly recommend this book. At $25, it is a no-brainer. My cap's off to both Shyamala and Gagan for this great addition to our field!

Richard Hughes

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Comments

“This book gives not only gemologists an opportunity to do just that, but also, on account of the simple language used, it is a great way for any gem enthusiasts to understand more about gems and gemstone rough”
- Mr. Vasant Mehta, Chairman
- The Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC)

“Given the many thousands involved in the trade of rough gemstones and their manufacture, a systematic and professional guide to the topic is imperative.”
- Mr. C. Vinod Hayagriv, Chairman
- The All-India Gems and Jewellery Federatin (GJF)

“It was important that someone take the initiative to do this in India. Jaipur, After Bangkok and Hongkong is actually considered the world’s most important source of gemstone rough”
- Mr. Rajiv Jain, Director, India – The International Colored Gemstones Association (ICA) / Vice-Chairman
- The Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC)


Whether one is a novice in the field of gemology or a veteran, Understanding Rough Gemstones, by Shyamala Fernandes and Gagan Choudhary, will definitely give one a refreshing and relevant view of gemstone rough.

Perhaps what makes this content of this book so intriguing is the fact that both authors have been closely associated with gemmology for practically their entire lives. They are not only incredibly passionate about the subject but also very well-read. The book manages to teach the reader a whole lot without becoming, at any point, monotonous or heavy.

Whether a student or a veteran gemologist, we are sure that there will be some gems of knowledge in this book for everyone. Loaded with picturesque photographs and characterized by charmingly simple writing, this book is must-readl!

Appeared in the Newsletter of the Canadian Institute of Gemmology


“Understanding Rough Gemstones” is an excellent introduction and perhaps the first comprehensive book on the topic; the numerous images help our students to better understand the gem trade form mine source to consumer

Wolf Kuehn, Director of Education, Canadian Institute of Gemmology, Vancouver B.C.


The two of you (Shyamala Fernandes & Gagan Choudhary) were right, that there is a niche in gemmology books for the assessment of rough material. Now that the first book is in print perhaps we may look forward to more

Gwyn Green – Gem-A Midlands, UK

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