Geosciences to Offer Rare Gems and Gemology Class

Precious gemstones like emerald, sapphire, ruby and diamond will be discussed in this course in addition to lesser known gemstones and gem materials including quartz, tanzanite, tourmaline, opal, jades and turquoise.

Precious gemstones like emerald, sapphire, ruby and diamond will be discussed in this course in addition to lesser known gemstones and gem materials including quartz, tanzanite, tourmaline, opal, jades and turquoise.

The Department of Geosciences at the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences will offer a unique class, the Geology of Gemstones in fall 2019.

Gemology courses have been conventionally taught at Gemological Institutes in Los Angeles, New York, Hong Kong and London, however, a gemology course offered at the university level is unusual in North America. 

Offered with no pre-requisites, the introductory class will introduce students to the science of gemstones by addressing aspects of identification, geologic origins, mining techniques, synthesis, simulation and enhancement, global trends, and their use in jewelry, legend and history.

Precious and common gemstones that will be studied include diamonds, sapphires, rubies, quartz and emeralds, in addition to the lesser known gems including tourmaline, tanzanite, topaz and andalusite. The class will address the world of gemstones, gemology, and gem materials for novices and specialists in the field alike. 

The course will be taught in tandem with the upcoming exhibit, Crystals in Art: Ancient to Today at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, premiering in October 2019.

The course will be taught by University Professor Tom Paradise, who comes from a rare combined background in geography, geology and cartography, with gemology.

Paradise earned his gemology degrees from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA-GG) in Los Angeles, the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (FGA) with Goldsmith Hall in London, in addition to certification as a Gemologist-Appraiser (CGA) and Registered Jeweler (RJ) from the American Gem Society.

Before Paradise entered academia as a geosciences professor, he was the former director of Gems, Jewels, and Objets d'Art Department at Butterfield and Bonhams Auction Houses in San Francisco and London.

The course is slated to be taught on Wednesday evenings, for the fall 2019 semester.

Contacts

Tom Paradise, University Professor
Department of Geosciences
479-575-3159, paradise@uark.edu

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