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Ian Campbell: 1931-2015.

The gemmological communities in Southern Africa and Europe were devastated at the end of July this year by the loss of one of our stalwarts, Ian Campbell.

An engineering draughtsman by trade, Ian's true passion was gemmology. In 1970 he became a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain. He received a Diamond Grading and Evaluation Certificate in 1979, and went on to achieve certification as a Certified Valuator for the Gemmological Association of South Africa in 1988.

But Ian's achievements went far further than this. He enjoyed a lengthy stint in the Northern and Southern Rhodesian Government in the early 1950s, and continued to work in civil service even after he had launched his own gemmology business in 1965. His passion for the craft, his attention to detail and his ongoing commitment to learning saw him become a gemmology consultant in the early to mid-1970s.

Ian founded and managed the Coloured Stones Laboratory for the Jewellery Council of South Africa from 1980 until 1982, when he formed his own business, ICSL (Independent Coloured Stones Laboratory), which he operated until 2000. Ian's reputation for industry excellence spread far and wide, and his gemmological laboratory was recognized by both the Accredited Gemmologists Association in the USA and the International Coloured Gemstone Association. Ian also consulted to the European Gemological Laboratory, before finally retiring in 2010.

Ian was a prolific writer and was always ready to share his wisdom and experience with eager gemmologists, young and old. He published many reports and publications on his area of expertise, and eventually became the editor-in-chief of the Great South African Gemmologist, at one time South Africa's foremost gemmology publication.

Ever committed to ethical and accurate gemmology, Ian served as the founder and chairman of the Gemmological Association of Rhodesia and the Matabeleland Gem and Mineral Society. He was also a member of the International Society of Appraisers in the USA, the Accredited Gemmologists of South Africa, and the Micromount Society of South Africa.

Ian married Betty Keal at Umzinto, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, on 11 December 1958. Between them they had three sons and a daughter, and our thoughts are with them at this time of loss. Ian's career and hobbies, which included a passion for fishing, led the family on a life of adventure as they travelled from Livingstone in Northern Rhodesia to Bulawayo in Southern Rhodesia. Ian also loved prospecting, going all over Matabeleland Province in Rhodesia in pursuit of amethyst, rose quartz and agate. When he was 49 years old, Ian took up karate. Here, as in every aspect of his life, he was dedicated and committed. He achieved his black belt in the early 1990s at the age of 60.

I met Ian in 1985 at a karate training farm in Stilbaai, South Africa. Little did I know then that my life was about to change forever. I was fascinated by his compulsive pebble gathering, and when he explained that he was analysing the iron and minerals in the stones he collected, I was hooked. I sold the photographic equipment I had been collecting for my photography career, and spent every weekend for the next two years at Ian's laboratory. He became a mentor and friend, and set me on the path I walk today.

I owe Ian an enormous debt, as does the gemmological world at large. We are poorer for his passing.

...the river sliding along its banks, darker now than the sky descending a last time to scatter its diamonds into these black waters that contain the day that passed, the night to come.

--Excerpt from the poem 'The Mercy' by Philip Levine

Jeremy Rothon FGA

Kenilworth, Cape Town, South Africa
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Article Details
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Author:Rothon, Jeremy
Publication:The Journal of Gemmology
Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:6SOUT
Date:Sep 1, 2015
Words:615
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