Russian Gemstones Encyclopedia

Vladimir Bukanov. Russian Gemstones Encyclopedia


Foreword of the scientific editor of the first publication (On the book, its author and gemology)

Immense material is collected in this book. It is interesting both for professionals and for readers of any level of knowledge and sphere of activity. Pages about old gem mines, jewelry history, unique gems, famous and unknown stones are written with concise style but capaciously. It is very important that world market prices are indicated for almost all trade materials. Of course, they are not absolute and price-level will be different. But every user of this book will receive a reference point for him.

I would describe this book as an encyclopedia, or a reference book: it consists of surveys collected according a definite system. So it is a vocabulary of stones', gems' and minerals' names not so usual for Russian readers. This book covers the field broadly and its structure is more complicated than that a traditional dictionary. That's why an alphabetical index of special words is given at the end of the book to facilitate the process of searching.

Another difficulty is in the selection of the name of the book - it's a well-known fact that the definitions of colored, gem, jewel and collection stones are broad, subjective and vague. In addition, it was not unreasonable to include in the book a review of organic material; for example, horn can't be called a stone by anybody. Some difficulties in the developing of the structure of the book were connected with eternal problems of preferable choice of some or other classifications of minerals, rocks' systematic, the way of writing of minerals formula and other arguable points of the disciplines adjacent to gemology.

The book stimulates the further development of gemology. It seems to me that gemology should cease to be a part of mineralogy - we already wrote about it in the introduction to the Russian translation of P.G. Reed "Dictionary of Gemology" (Leningrad, 1986) and in "General mineralogy" (St. Petersb. 1999). Mineralogy gives to gemologist knowledge on one of the types of raw materials and on methods of its diagnostic with special tools. But a mineralogist is not a specialist in the history of jewelry art and gem cut or in the sphere of artistic traditions of various peoples and epochs or in the estimation of the role and spiritual sense of gem and ornamental stones in the development of the world culture. And the real value of gem is determined primarily by fashion, mood and creative idea of an artist. These are already social phenomena. In the same way possessing of laboratory methods of gems diagnostic is not equal to knowledge of world trade routes and gem history. The book by V.V. Bukanov is full of art and historical data.

Vladimir Valentinovich graduated from the Perm' State University, department of petrography (Professor P.N. Chirvinsky) in 1954. Since then he has worked at the deposits of rock crystal and gems. In 1961 after the post-graduate courses at the mineralogy department of the Leningrad Mining Inst. (Professor D.P. Grigoriev) he maintained a thesis on mineralogy of rock crystals deposits at the Sub-Polar Urals. In 1963-1973 he worked as a leader of the mineralogical laboratory in the Academician Institute of Geology in the town of Syctyvcar, then for 18 years he has been a chief of the geological service of the Industrial Association "Severkvarzsamotsvety" and has been to many deposits of the U.S.S.R. V.V. Bukanov was awarded with the honored title of the laureate of the premium of the U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers. He is a co-author (with B.F. Kulikov) of "Gem dictionary", one of the organizers of the "Russian Gemological Association" and of the St. Petersburg "Gemological Center" ltd. He is also an author of more than 100 scientific works.

This book is a result of long-term researches and an extract of the versatile knowledge's of its author.

A.G. Bulach,

Scientific editor, Professor of the St. Petersburg State University, Feb. 20. 2001.