By Brecken Branstrator
Richard Hughes of Lotus Gemology is one of the authors of the soon-to-be-released “Inside Out – Gemology Through Lotus-Colored Glasses,” pictured here during printing.
Bangkok—It can be so easy to look at a gem or piece of jewelry and forget how many people were involved in bringing it to market.

Now, one Bangkok lab is releasing a book to remind the world of the human aspect behind colored gemstones.

Richard W. Hughes, Wimon Manorotkul and Billie Hughes of Bangkok lab Lotus Gemology have penned “Inside Out – Gemology Through Lotus-Colored Glasses” to offer another perspective on gemology.

Founded in 2014, Lotus Gemology specializes in the identification and characterization of colored gemstones. The team has authored or co-authored more than 200 papers and 10 books on various aspects of gemology.

20190904 Lotus bookThey have also traveled around the world extensively, encountering many different people and cultures along the way. 

“Inside Out” is their platform for sharing the “humanistic gemology” they see through their work, doing so through stunning imagery.

“Rather than the misery that fills our newspapers, we meet people who, despite their sometimes meager wealth, never fail to offer us graciousness and hospitality,” Billie Hughes writes in one of the book’s introductions. “As you look at the faces in this book, we hope you will sense not just the human struggle, but also optimism. Beneath the outside, there is an inside core of hope.”

Richard Hughes and Manorotkul add in theirs: “This volume of images bears not just testimony to the diversity of our world, but also to a hidden realm within the gemstones we seek.”

The 152-page book is a microcosm of the gemstone world, providing photographs of the humans and landscapes involved and interweaving them with the minute details of gemstones all the way down to the inclusions.

For example, a 2013 photo of a sapphire miner in Thailand is followed by a photomicrograph of rutile silk in a Burmese ruby.

Later, a photo of a sapphire miner taken in 2010 in Madagascar comes just after a shot of a Burmese spinel octahedra.

“Inside Out” features bilingual text in English and Simplified Chinese.
20190904 Lotus pagesThis image was taken at the tanzanite mines in Merelani, Tanzania in 2006.

Lotus Gemology is now accepting pre-orders; books will begin shipping from Bangkok in October. 

The standard edition is priced at $100 plus shipping and handling.

The lab also offered a special limited edition of 50 copies, signed by the three authors, numbered and featuring a slipcase. Those were priced at $200 plus shipping and handling but have already sold out.

For more information, visit

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