This is the sixth in a series of annual conferences that will roam throughout the Mediterranean, allowing delegates to experience new and exciting locations each year.
The conference will take place May 15 – 17, 2020 in Thessaloniki, Greece.
3, Salaminos str
Thessaloniki 546 26
Welcome to the 6th Mediterranean Gem and Jewellery Conference
Thessaloniki, Greece – May 15-17, 2020
The MGJ Conference is a ‘trade-technical’ conference that exposes current trade problems and offers solutions through workshops with standard and advanced affordable instruments. 75 participants from 27 countries attended the 2019 MGJ Conference in Cyprus. There are great reviews of MGJC 2019 in “IDEX Magazine“, “The New Jeweler” (pages 100-101), and September’s ‘Journal of Gemmology’. The 6th annual MGJ Conference will be organized by CGL Canadian Gemlab and the main theme will be “VALUATION and MARKETING of DIAMONDS and GEMS”.
About Thessaloniki, Greece
Thessaloniki is the second-largest city in Greece. It is in the north of the country and is the capital of Central Macedonia. Thessaloniki’s rich cultural and historical heritage takes its visitors on a wonderful journey back in time. The city was founded in 315 BC (Hellenistic period) by King Cassander of Macedonia who gave it his wife’s and Alexander the Great stepsister’s name – Thessaloniki. City. Today, Thessaloniki is a dynamic city full of energy that honors and respects its history. Some parts of the city truly resemble outdoor museums, surrounded by Byzantine walls, countless Byzantine churches, and monuments of times long gone. However, it also boasts pedestrian streets with top fashion houses, boutiques, and exquisite local cuisine that tempts connoisseurs and those looking for its famous nightlife! The promenade along the waterfront and the elegant cafes are just minutes away from the hotel.
Thessaloniki City Tour (Half Day Tour)
Thursday, May 14th
Tour will give you the opportunity to admire the castles (Ano Poli – Upper Town), visit the Byzantine church of Agios Dimitrios, see the Arch of Galerius (Camara) and the Rotunda, the White Tower, the statue of Alexander the Great and the historical centre, the Archaeological Museum (ticket included) and the Serbian, Greek, Russian, French, British and Italian cemetery from World War I, Zeitenlik, the largest military cemetery in Greece. Afternoon tour from 13:00 to 18:00 including bus and English speaking guide.
Mount Athos Cruise (Full Day Tour)
Monday, May 18th
Mount Athos, also known as the “Virgin Mary’s Garden”, is internationally recognized as a holy land for Christian Orthodox faith. An independent monastic state inhabited by monks for more than a thousand years, observing the rules of the Church and the Byzantine traditions. The pirate boat takes you on a journey in time, along the shores of Mount Athos, where you can admire the unique scenery and magnificent architecture of the monasteries. You will have the opportunity to see eight monasteries, on the west coast of the Athos peninsula, listen to its unique history and, if you are lucky, also see many dolphins! The route includes a stop in beautiful Ouranoupolis, for lunch or a swim.
Balkan Mine Tour (Two Day Tour)
Tuesday/Wednesday: May 19-20, 2020
Pink Sapphire Mine at Prilep, Skopje, May 19th
The group will leave at 8.30 am from the Hotel Mediterranean by mini-bus heading north to Prilep and to a nearby marble deposit at Sivec where corundum crystals are mined. A guided tour of the mine will be given and a visit to a mineral exhibition. Lunch will be at a local restaurant in Prilep with traditional local specialties. In the afternoon, there will be a 1.5 hr drive to Skopje with some sightseeing of the town in the afternoon. Dinner will be in a restaurant at a 4-star hotel with live music.
Geology: Rubies from the neighbourhood of Prilep (North Macedonia) are found in marbles belonging to the central part of the Pelagonian Massif. They have been formed through metamorphism of carbonate rocks. The main mine of rubies is the Sivec Quarry, which is situated 8 km northwest from Prilep at the foot of Sivec Hill and in which high quality and often completely snow-white dolomitic marble is extracted. Special attention has always been drawn by specimens of corundum and diaspore visible to the naked eye, and other accompanying minerals such as fluorite, rutile, micas, dolomite, zoisite, achroite, pyrite, muscovite, illite, margarite, chlorite and kossmatite.
In the dolomitic marble, corundum as a mineral is bound to calcite nests. Morphologically, they are diversely shaped and can develop flat, barrel-like, prismatic and even rhombohedral crystals.
Gemmology: They are usually light pink, less often intense red, while the rarest are blue. The pink to red colour of the Prilep corundum is influenced by the mixture of chrome, vanadium and iron, whereas the blue colour is influenced by titanium. Owing to these mixtures, particularly chrome and vanadium ions, the corundum of Prilep dolomitic marble fluoresces red, orange and yellow.
Diaspore in corundum crystals is oriented in three directions intersecting at 60 degrees, resembling an asagenite-like structure. The characteristic silvery glittering of diaspore in corundum is most intense in the direction of the rhombohedron faces. Diasporescence is a kind of silvery glittering, which is manifested as a white reflection on the surface of a cabochon and has been classified as an optical phenomenon. Oriented intergrowth of diaspore and corundum affects gem density, as diaspore has a lower density than corundum. Rubies of the Prilep dolomitic marble thus have a density ranging from 3.53 to 3.93 g/cm3, which is less than the density of rubies (3.97 to 4.05 g/cm3) and more than the density of diaspore (3.39 to 3.40 g/cm3). Rubies from Prilep have been described in professional gemmological literature very rarely, or just individual data are given for their physical characteristics. It is interesting that diaspore is not described as an inclusion in rubies from other localities. This means that diasporescence is not only a new optical phenomenon in the world of gemstones, but also an optical phenomenon that indicates the origin of rubies being from the Sivec Quarry.
- Diasporescence of rubies from Prilep dolomitic marble by Miha Jersek, Slovenia Museum of Natural History, Slovenia, Proceedings of 4th MGJ Conference, Budva, Montenegro, 2018, pp 36.
- Corundum from Prilep Dolomitic Marble (North Macedonia) by Miha Jeršek & Breda Mirtič, SCOPOLIA, Journal of the Slovenian Museum of Natural History, Ljubljana, No. 41, September 1999, pp. 1–22
Mineral Museum Trepca and Underground Mine, Kosovo, May 20th
The group will leave at 8.00 am by mini-bus travelling north-west to Kosovka Mitrovica, to visit a museum with a unique mineral collection from Balkan and international mines. Lunch will be at local restaurant. We will descend a few hundred meters underground and have a tour of the largest lead and zinc mine in Europe – Stari Trg. After late afternoon coffee break at Prishtina, we will go to prase opal deposit Translucent green opal mined and cut for cabochons and carvings. Stop at Gracanica for dinner and continue to Skopje (transfer to airport or accommodation on own expense) or you are welcome to stay with the group for a Serbian Tour.
Historical: Mining in this part of the Balkans has been carried on intermittently since the Roman era, when small gold deposits attracted interest. Roman activity dwindled during the disturbances of the ensuing Byzantine period. Exploitation of many base metal occurrences was stimulated during this period by skilled Saxon communities who obtain special privileges under the Slav regime and the vestiges of their work have greatly influenced modern prospecting.
Geology: The Trepča Pb-Zn-Ag hydrothermal sulphide deposit is in the Kopaonik block of the western Vardar zone in Kosovo and is attributed to the end phase of the Tertiary vulcanicity period. Ore bodies are very large, a few hundred meters long.
Mining: Mining benches are 30 – 60m apart with the highest at 935m and the lowest below sea level (figure 1). The deposit has 5 million tons of ore, 3 million tons of lead, 2 million tons of zinc and 4,500 tons of silver, and it is Europe’s largest lead-zinc and silver ore mine.
Mr. Forgan (1948) differentiated between 3 mineral categories found in Trepca (Stari Trg pit) mine:
- Main ore minerals: galena, sphalerite, pyrothine, pyrite and marcasite.
- Secondary ore minerals: arsenopyrite, chalcopyrite, antimonite, bournonite boulangerite, plumosite.
- Accessory minerals: quartz, calcite, dolomite, ankerite, siderite, rhodochrosite, aragonite, barite.
Since that time, the findings at Stari Trg have increased, thus today vivianite, ludlamite and rarely cosalite with silver can be found as well (mineral collection of B. Pasaljic).
Serbia Gem and Cultural Tour (Four Day Tour)
Thursday to Sunday: May 21-24, 2020
Gem Localities, Geological Wonder “Devil Town”, Hot Springs, and Belgrade
For those who wants to continue to South/Central Serbia after Balkan mine tour, cars will be available in Gracanica for a tour with Branko Deljanin, Nesha Popovic and Serbian crew.
- Gracanica, Wednesday May 20th
- Accommodation on a B&B basis – Hotel Gračanica or a monastery (optional for Orthodox Christians)
- Monastery, Jasper and Amethyst deposits, archeological site, and Devil’s town, Thursday May 21st
- Hot spa Lukovo, Mountain Kopaonik, Friday May 22nd
- Winery, mausoleum of the Serbian royals, Belgrade by night, Saturday May 23rd
- Serbian capital Belgrade, Sunday May 24th
Monastery, Prase opal deposit and Devil’s town, Thursday May 21st
Gračanica – Serbian Orthodox monastery located in Kosovo. It was built by the Serbian king Stefan Milutin in 1321 on the ruins of a 6th-century basilica. The monastery was declared a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1990 and placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Pristina Area (Prase opal deposit) Translucent green opal mined and cut for cabochons and carvings
Visit to Devil’s town (‘Djavolja Varos’), peculiar rock formation created by erosion and two springs of extremely acidic water with high mineral content.
Lukovo spa – dinner with live music and accommodation on a B&B basis in hotel Jelak.
Hot spa Lukovo, Mountain Kopaonik, Friday May 22nd
Lukovo Spa is characteristic for its large number of mineral springs, indoor and outdoor pools with thermal water and modern medical and wellness treatments, untouched nature of the wooded Kopaonik and clear mountain air.
Lunch in typical Serbian village Brzece with local organic specialties like ‘kajmak’ – cheese spread.
Kopaonik, the largest mountain range in Serbia is especially beautiful for its distinctive landscape of spruce and fir forests at higher elevations and mixed beech and oak forests on its slopes, and meadows and 2000m+ peaks with spectacular views.
Kopaonik – Dinner and accommodation on a B&B basis – Hotel Putnik.
Winery, mausoleum of the Serbian royals, Belgrade by night, Saturday May 23rd
Visiting vineyards at Aleksandrovac and trying local good cheese with wine, which has brought fame to this ‘Zupa’ region.
Visit Lazarica Church in Krusevac. It was built in 1375-1378 as an endowment of prince Lazar of Serbia, who led Serbians to famous battle of Kosovo against Turkish army.
Two hours’ drive through central Serbia region called ‘Sumadija’ (meaning ‘forest area’), the spiritual and cultural capital of Serbia. Here trumpets and pipes provide musical entertainment, the ‘kolo’ dance weaves in and out at major gatherings, cold days are warmed up by a mug of “Šumadija Tea” – (Serbian ‘rakija’ brandy) Visit to Oplenac St George’s Church & mausoleum of the Serbian royal house Karađorđević. Continue north to a hotel at Belgrade airport. Dinner in Belgrade at “Splav” restaurant on the water where Sava meeting Danube.
Serbian capital Belgrade, Sunday May 24th
Sightseeing of Belgrade by tourist bus! Belgrade’s most significant landmark is the ‘Kalemegdan’, an imposing fortress at the confluence of the Danube and the Sava rivers. The fort is testimony to the city’s strategic importance to the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Austrian and Serbian empires, and it’s now the site of several museums as well as a vast park.
Lunch at typical “kafana” restaurant in city center.
Transport in late afternoon/evening or Monday morning to airport for flight back home
- Private car transfers
- 4 nights accommodation on a B&B basis
- 3 dinners. Lunches at own expense
- Sightseeing tour of Belgrade
- Transport to Belgrade airport