Three questions for Dr. Laurent E. Cartier


What inspired you to become interested in gemstones and pearls?

I studied Earth Sciences at University and quickly became interested in gemstones thanks to some inspiring lecturers. I always felt it was an interesting mix between different natural science disciplines, cultural, economic and sustainability questions. A lot of the people I have met during my travels to gemstone mines and pearls farms have been a true inspiration.

What do you see as the top issues affecting the coloured gem and pearl industries currently?

For both industries I feel that we are somewhat at a tipping point, especially when it comes to sustainability questions. With gemstones, the whole question of how to address sustainability issues in such a complex and fragmented industry that is experiencing rapid changes. At a scientific level, treatment detection and origin determination of coloured gemstones is getting ever more sophisticated as new mines are being discovered. For pearls, I would say global environmental change (including rising sea levels, rising sea temperatures and pollution), and the economic difficulties that pearl farmers are facing are major challenges.

What is your vision for the industry?

There are such a diverse range of gems in our industries, coming out of so many different countries, different geological and ecological environments and different cultural environments. Disclosure, as with treatments, is an important topic. Engaging with stakeholders across the supply chain. Supporting projects that are trying to both understand some of the sustainability challenges and developing solutions to improve the footprint of the industry, are important. Finally, promoting education and knowledge for miners, traders, retailers and consumers seems vital.