Baltic amber attracts world famous scientists to Lithuania

Looking for the Baltic amber
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After competing with Portugal, Lithuania won a chance to organise the 34th World gemmology conference IGC‘2015. The conference has deep traditions. It has been organised every two years since 1926. The first IGC conference took place in Switzerland. In 2013, the conference was organised in Vietnam while this year it is held in Lithuania the next one is planned to take place in Namibia.

Like in a Masonic lodge, the event complies with strict rules and only accepts a closed circle of leading global precious minerals research professionals, strictly separating the commercial interests of the participants. Not accidentally, the conference will take place in the historic sanctuary of sciences of Lithuania – Vilnius University.

“Most likely Lithuania does not have any diamonds however Baltic coastal treasures 50 million years old amber pieces attracts world-famous scientists. Lithuania has been chosen as an exotic country of amber. We are very proud of every event that increases awareness of Lithuania and creates value for both the academic community and the tourism sector” – says the director of the State Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Economy Jurgita Kazlauskienė.

According to the geologist, mineralogist and precious minerals researcher dr. Arūnas Kleismantas, who is the head of this year’s conference, gemmology is one of the most difficult branches of mineralogy science, which systematically combines geology, physics and chemistry and employs knowledge of these areas to work for the economy of the jewellery industry as well as the interests of investors.

“Precious stones are not only objects of luxury. It is very important to build consumer trust and understanding in what they invest, however, gemmology is equally important for culture, applied arts, historical and church heritage that has been researched since the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It is important to develop gemmology through educating young professionals and creating professional laboratories that would be used to conduct scientific research and identify prevalent as well as new imitations of precious stones. Such laboratories are common all around the world” – says Dr A. Kleismantas, lector of mineralogy in Vilnius University, a laboratory expert and the owner of the museum of precious stones, and the author of significant gemmology discoveries, who has researched almost 8 thousand jewellery stones in the liturgical accessories of Lithuanian church heritage.

The participants of the conference will receive presentations from internationally recognized experts and well-known scientists. Lithuania will welcome gemology experts from Australia, Austria, Greenland, Latvia, Poland, Greece, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, USA, United Kingdom, Canada, China, France, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lichtenstein, Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Thailand. Among them – researchers from the most famous Swiss laboratories, prof. H. Hänni, who led it for 30 years and has been awarded several global awards of gemmologists, also an American geologist and gemmologist of Lithuanian origin J. Saul (his ancestors came from Žagarė), scientist dr. J. Shigley from USA Gemmological Institute, established in California, and others.

The conference will also provide sightseeing tours for guests of the conference. Participants will visit the geological, historical and cultural sights of Lithuania while Lithuania will be presented as a country of amber that creatively utilizes and adapts characteristics of amber to science, tourism, jewellery, and art. The guest will visit the biggest amber processing factories based in Siauliai and Klaipeda as well as museums of amber in Vilnius, Palanga and Nida. Attendees of the conference will also meet mayors of Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipeda.

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