Grahame Brown, Gemologist, 71

Australian gemologist Grahame Brown, editor of the journal of the Gemmological Association of Australia and author of more than 500 published gemological papers, died Jan. 15 after a long battle with cancer. He was 71.

Brown is well-known and highly praised throughout the world by his peers for his ability to share his love for gemology. 

“Grahame was a special person, a gemmologist of the highest order, a good and sincere friend, and mentor to many,” states the GAA Web site.

“Grahame and I were good friends as well as colleagues,” says Hylda Bracewell with GAA. “I was GAA Queensland secretary when Grahame joined the association in 1973. He graduated with high distinction in 1974 and not long after began research and writing, and of course, editor of the Queensland Division’s newsletter, and magazine. He would turn up at my office with a fist full of hand written notes saying, ‘Do you think you could have these typed up before tomorrow? I need to get them posted, … or away somewhere, … or sent to someone else …’ And so, the friendship has been since then.”

As Bracewell notes, Brown began his gemological career when he joined the Queensland division of the GAA in June of 1973. The following year, he not only passed the diploma course with high distinction, he was awarded the Australia Prize for the highest pass in Australia. The following year, he again passed with high distinction, this time with the British Gemmological Association. And his education seemed never ending.

He was elected a Diplomate in Diamond Technology, (Dip. DT), awarded the first Research Diploma of the GAA for investigations into the structure and properties of precious corals, awarded a Charter Senior Member title of the National Gem & Jewelry Appraisers Association by the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers in the U.S., awarded a pass with distinction from the Canadian Gemmological Association, and elected a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of South Africa.

From 1975, Brown taught Principal Theory for the GAA in Queensland, and became federal chairman of the GAA from 1979 through 1981. He assumed the post of president of the GAA in 1983, and was at that time chairman of the editorial review panel for the Australian Gemmologist, the quarterly journal of the GAA. Brown would later become editor of journal in 1994.

He was founder of ALLGEM Services, a business specializing in gem identifications, appraisals, forensic gemmology, and gemological consultancy, but this never seemed to slow him down.

Brown was always traveling to give lectures or seminars. From 1989 to 1992 Brown taught gem identification for the department of geology & mineralogy, at the University of Queensland. He was a visiting lecturer to the Gemmological Association of Hong Kong, the Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences in Bangkok, inaugural guest lecturer at the first conference of the Gemmological Association of New Zealand, a visiting lecturer to the Singapore Gemmologists Society, and invited lecturer to the GIA’s International Gemological Symposium in 1991.

In 1990, Brown helped found the Australian Gemstone Industry Council. He was also a contributing editor to the fifth edition of Wesbter’s Gems

In 2001, Brown was appointed editor of The NCJV Valuer, Australia’s only journal devoted to the principles of valuation of gemstones and jewelry. And in 2002, and again in 2004, Brown was the Australian delegate to the CIBJO Congress.

Grahame Brown will be missed by the gemological community, but his many works will live on.

There will be a memorial service in Brisbane on Jan. 23 at 10 a.m. For further information, contact the GAA through their website at www.gem.org.au