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Hedgestone Newsletter - July 2011

Hedgestone Newsletter - July 2011





 




Hello from Hedgestone,

In our July issue of the Hedgestone gemstone newsletter we have two new articles:
  • My Trip to Sierra Leone
  • JCK/AGTA Las Vegas
(See below)

If you do not wish to receive any further emails simply unsubscribe at the bottom of this email and we will never send you any further communication.

Thank you,

Phillip Chen
Hedgestone

 


My Trip to Sierra Leone

By Phillip Chen
 

As the Supply Manager for Hedgestone with a strong background in material science and engineering, I have always had an inherent interest in the places and processes involved in the extraction of gemstones that I work with on a daily basis. So naturally, when the opportunity came up to visit diamond mines in Sierra Leone in February, 2011, I was delighted and said yes.
 

 My visit to Sierra Leone started in Freetown, which is the capital city. The city is full of constant activities and has a very rich history, being one of the first British colonies where freed slaves returned to settle. Being an area of liberation, it became known as the “Province of Freedom” soon becoming simply named “Freetown”.
 

During my visit, the country was preparing for a visit from a member of the Royal family so there was a great deal of construction on the main roads leading into the capital. Due to construction, travel to the city can be a full days event because of the traffic congestion. As a result I found it easier to get a driver for my visit instead of trying to find my way on my own. Being driven also allowed me to take in the architectural designs of the buildings in the downtown core near the Ministry of Finance.
 


*Road leading to the mining village
 

A trip to the mining site and village took about four hours from Freetown and requires a four wheel drive vehicle to navigate the huge pot holes that are remnants of the rainy season. Entering the village close to the mining site, I was warmly greeted by the village chief, his family and other villagers. Life is simple but wholesome in the village, and the villagers make a living from mining and farming. For artisanal mining the miners take advantage of the dry season as very little mining is done in the wet season.  
 


* Members of the village visited

Some of the homes in the village are constructed with mud on the external walls and have a corrugated zinc roof.  The village has running water but it has to be collected at a central water station. Electric power is generated by gas powered generators, however, only a few villagers can afford a generator so the majority use kerosene lamps at night. While in the village I sampled a traditional dish made from cassava leaves, chicken and palm oil, which was served on a plate of rice and was very delicious. The graciousness and hospitality offered to me by the villagers during my visit was quite humbling.
 

The walk to the artisanal diamond mine and new prospecting sites took about one and a half hours through dense trees and open grass land. The weather was 34 deg and humid. The chief’s father was a man in his late 60’s and was very fit for his age. At times we had to ask him to slow down so we could catch up with him (definitely made me rethink that gym membership).  The artisanal mines that I reviewed were 5-7 feet deep and varied in sizes from 20’ to 200’ in length. Rough diamonds from these mines range in size from .75 to 8 carats. The colour of the rough ranged from white to beige colour in appearance. We later found that the beige coloured rough yielded gem grade diamonds. The villagers and miners possessed tribal knowledge of the locations and different grades of rough diamonds from working on a daily basis with the stones.  
 


* Material from artisanal mine for sieving
 

All in all, I was quite impressed with what I found in Sierra Leone. Despite the countries reputation as being an area of high conflict and riddled with social injustices, my small journey seemed to tell a different story, of a place with warm people working together as one to make a living. There was no fighting and no stealing in the village. My experience left the impression that mining is a great source of income to the villagers.
 

We at Hedgestone pride our self in developing strong relations with the villages that are in close proximity with the mines in Sierra Leone. We believe that assisting in the development of social programs within the villages benefits all.


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JCK/AGTA Las Vegas

By Nicole Drabik

Recently, Hedgestone had the pleasure of exhibiting at the AGTA GemFair at the JCK Las Vegas Show. We were very excited to be part of what we heard was, “the biggest show of the year”.  It only took a couple of steps down the red carpet, and through the doors of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, to understand why this was the biggest show of the year.
 


 

In all there were three exhibit halls including as many as 20 different exhibit categories. One of the popular exhibit categories included Luxury, which featured high-end jewellery retailers, designers and manufactures. There were also categories such as, Bridal, Fashion Jewellery and many more. We were a part of loose gemstones, which also included pearls and gemstone jewellery.

At the show, the energy was high as people manoeuvred their way through the many aisles taking in all of the different exhibits. One thing we learned early on was that if you weren’t wearing comfortable shoes, you were most likely regretting it. There is a lot of walking in Las Vegas. Regardless of our sore feet, it was really great to see some familiar faces among the crowd. It was also great meeting new people who stopped by the Hedgestone booth.
 


 

Throughout the week, we took note of some of the trends among buyers. We had a lot of interest in fairly large emeralds. People were typically interested in 8 cts and up. In addition to this, we also received a lot of inquiries about cabochons. The sugarloaf, which is our featured stone, caused a lot of buzz. Finally, matching pairs of emeralds and sapphires were of interest to many jewellers and manufacturers. Overall we had an amazing week in Las Vegas and are now looking forward to exhibiting at JCK Toronto.


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Newsletter Archive:

Trade Show Event - Hedgestone - June 2-7 2011

Hedgestone Newsletter - April 2011

 


    *Special discount of 30% will be applied on all phone sales (1-888-310-8883) mentioning email code #1157

This Issue's Featured Gemstone


8.12 ct Strong Blue Green Cabochon

Product Type Individual Gemstone
Grade Premium
Class Class 3
Gemstone Type Natural Emerald
Color Strong Blue Green
Shape Cabochon
Cut Excellent
Weight 8.12 ct
Dimensions 12.90 L x 11.00 W x 7.50 D mm
Clarity Nearly Eye Clean
Treatment Cedar Oil Treated as Customary with Natural Emerald
Origin Colombia
Gemstone ID #EM-00334-02
 
 


Why buy from us? Quality, Value and Trust:

  • We only carry the finest quality gemstones at the lowest possible prices, "Direct from the mine".
  • We have a 30 day return policy with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
  • We are a proud member of the American Gem Trade Association, Diamond Bourse of Canada and the International Colored Gemstone Association. We participate in trade shows such as JCK Toronto, JCK Las Vegas and the AGTA Gemfair in Tucson.
  • We offer grading reports from EGL, GIA and other reputable labs. We only work with the most experienced industry recognized jewelers, cutters and laboratories.
  • We have excellent one-on-one customer support and value each and every customer. We will work with you to find your gemstones.
  • We only use the best shipping methods and most secure payment methods.
  • All of our gemstones are 100% conflict free.
  • We are Canadian owned and operated.

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