Richard Hughes (acclaimed FGA, AIGS) is an American gemologist from Colorado and leading scientific figure by virtue of his thirty years living in Bangkok (the capitol for corundum) documenting onsite (often with hardships) the origin and characteristics of gems with particular attention to rubies and sapphires, making him a global expert on these stones.
Flipping through his recent publication entitled “Ruby and Sapphire, a collector’s guide” sparks incredible emotion. First of all, the book is a coffee table must-have. Engaging layout, images, quotes, even press quality. There’s something for everyone. Novice readers of gemstones find themselves dragged into an open book coffee shop adventure, exciting while relaxing and instructional; students go from mine to mine, from Birmania to Nepal, from Australia to Kashmir, from Sri Lanka to Tanzania, Thailand, etc., through a well-designed logbook organized by area of origin, properties, and characteristics. Professionals visit fabulous museums evocative and mouthwatering for the public. However, the expert reader finds something even more interesting, what Hughes illustrated brilliantly in is unforgettable lesson held at CIGES in Naples in 2013.
Gemology adopts a multidisciplinary approach and it has no meaning without emotions and without humans. The tension that beauty evokes is essential to the study of gems and without it the gemologist is just someone compiling numbers. Crystals express transcendent harmony. Gemstones are the fruit of human cultures meeting with the magic of minerals. These beautiful images, often captured by his daughter Billie, show the effort, the joy, and the frustration of miners; the theatrics of brokers; the sad faces of children. All this wrapped in the mysterious, evocative, and remote mining reality where a gemologist leaves behind the cramped role as a mineralogist and becomes a photo reporter, geographer, ethnologist.