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Module Reading List

Gemstones, 2019/20, Semester 2
Dr Dan Morgan
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

Lecture 1: Intro & Pegmatites - all readings part of an Elements Magazine issue

London & Kontak, volume 8 number 4.  <-- Useful background if you have time

London & Morgan, volume 8 number 4.  <-- This paper explains about the crystallisation of pegmatites.  It is useful for the last half of the lecture

Simmons et al., volume 8 number 4.  <-- Compulsory, sets the tone.

Cerny et al., volume 8 number 4.  <-- This paper presents a condensed version of Cerny's classification of pegmatites.  You only need to read up to the end of "The NYF Family", about 60% of the paper.

Lecture 2: Colour in minerals

Nassau (1980), The causes of Color , Scientific American magazine.  This is a simple intro to the lecture concepts, a develoipment onthe 1978 paper below.  Sadly, Scientific American was mostly composed of adverts in the 1980s.  Follow the hyperlink.

Nassau (1978), The origins of color in minerals , The American mineralogist. volume 63 page 219 .  You do not need to read all of this; parts of it are quite formidable, but it is the best summary out there.  We won’t really consider the colour process in semiconductors (band gap theory), but Crystal Field Theory as applied to Emerald and Ruby is key, as is the discussion on colour centres.  We will touch on molecular orbital theory in the practical, but it is probably enough to know that it involves electron transfer between adjacent ions.

This is the link for the paper.  If it does not work off campus, go via the library website:

Lecture 3: Diamonds

Winter (1st edition) section 19.3: highly potassic rocks p386-399 (carbonatites also useful, as related, but hard).

Best , section 13.12: alkaline orphans (lamprophyres, kimberlites & lamproites)

Field et al. (2008), “Kimberlite-hosted diamond deposits of southern Africa: A review” Ore geology reviews. 34 33–75. Read at least up to “Kimberley mine” (p41).  Only 8 pages but the rest is a gazetteer of all the South African kimberlites with an extractive focus, if you are interested.

Shirey and Shigley, (2013)
An excellent article in Gems and Gemology online.  This is a good review of diamond genesis that backs up and develops from the lecture.  Well worth a look.

Lecture 4:

Lecture 5:

Lecture 6:  Gemstone treatments 

Have a look at the relevant sections of the gemology project website.  This goes back to some of the stuff from Nassau's paper and also needs some phase diagram thinking for some parts. 

Laboratory treated gemstones by Shigley in the Elements gemstone edition (June 2009) is a good read

For Emeralds, Gems and Gemology had a good article on this back in Summer 2007.  Go to the G&G website and follow the "all issues" link to navigate to the right edition.

Lecture 7:  Schiller and diffractive minerals

Nassau (1978), The origins of color in minerals , The American mineralogist. volume 63 page 219 .   It is of use again! Follow the link above.

Origin of precious opal, Darragh et al., 1966, Nature..

Colour in precious opal , Sanders, 1964, Nature.

Putnis, Introduction to mineral sciences Chapter 7: mineral structures 2, section on feldspars .

Lecture 8: Identifying gemstones 

From this lecture you need a solid grounding of the main properties used to identify gemstones using relatively simple equipment, and to know how that equipment works.  Go over the lecture then hit the gemology project website for details and videos.

Devouard and Notari had some good things to say, in another elements article of the June 2009 edition.

Lecture 9: Artificial stones and gem cutting 

Have a look at the lecture notes and research how gemstones are cut, and the tools necessary. 
You may find the gemology project a useful resource.

Lecture 10: Synthetic gemstones

Mainly, focus on understanding how the different cells in the lecture worked.

Seeking low-cost perfection: Synthetic Gems" by Kane in the Elements volume on gemstones, in the list you may find on this page

Hemsley et al., Diamond growth via CVD in the Elements volume on diamond, near the botttom of the list here

High pressure–high temperature growth of diamond crystals using split sphere apparatus by Abbaschian et al., 2005, in Diamond and related materials. 14., 1916-1919.  Don't get hung up on the detail.

BBC News online magazine article on HPHT and CVD diamond synthesis

A diamond intelligence brief by an investigative industry journalist, pointing the finger at Gemesis for the release of synthetic diamonds passed off as natural (note, source of these diamonds is not as far as I can tell proven, but an interesting article)

Lecture 11: Kimberley process and ethics in the diamond trade 

Some excellent texts exist out there.  I would recommend reading one of these books during the course.

Diamonds, by Ian Smillie (2014, Polity Press) Is an excellent, up to date reference.  In particular chapters 2 and 3 really set the scene for the diamond market. 

Stones of Contention, A History of Africa's Diamonds by Todd Cleveland (2014, Ohio University Press) is another good read; chapters 7 8 and 9 detail the blood diamond trade, the curse of resources, how resources can underpin democratic development, and hints of the possible future for Africa.  Well worth it.  

Lots to go for in here.  Wikipedia has a decent amount about the history of the De Beers corporation, though this is horribly simplified and there are quite a lot of books on this.  Case in point, "The diamond ring : business, politics and precious stones in South Africa, 1867-1947" by Newbury is one such history

Towards an ethical Jewellery Business is a well-researched document listing many of the issues that face the gem trade, written in 2003 it pre-dates some of the changes like the Kimberley process, but is nonetheless a good background.

Conservation gemstones: beyond fair trade is a national geographic perspectives article that seemingly got deleted from here last time I put it in.

In chronological order, for the Kimberley process:

The report from Global Witness "A Rough Trade" is available on that link, concerning the blood diamonds of Angola.

Martin Rapaport's article "Guilt Trip" from gives an interesting pre-Kimberley Process perspective

The UN expert report on Sierra Leone .  Some of the driest reading material ever but has a lot of useful information in it, including the exact movements of diamonds, key figures in the different political and militia bodies and really quite interesting if you have time and interest in that sort of thing.  A primary resource that justified the whole Kimberley Process.

Diamonds in Peace and War: Severing the Conflict Diamond Connection, by Ingrid J Tamm is a report on how Kimberley came about, written close to its inception but before it had really taken effect.  A good summary of the issues and the history of how the Kimberley Process came about.  The PDF is directly linked here if you want to go there.

The Kimberley Process 3 year evaluation report is what the Kimberley process thinks of how it did.  Note that this may be a little biased in favour but is the best resourced assessment of whether it functioned.

You may wish to contrast that with the views of Global Witness, who pulled out of the Kimberley Process in 2011 claiming that it wasn't working .

This list was last updated on 13/08/2015