Meet the Gem Hunters
Gem dealer Ron LeBlanc, jewelry expert Diane Robinson and geologist Bernie Gaboury scour some of the most remote regions of the globe in search of gemstones they can turn into a small fortune. It’s a high-stakes world and there’s much profit to be made from these rocks, but the team must be skilled in spotting flaws, “fake” synthetic stones and knowing when – and just how much – to bargain.
Learn more about the show and see behind-the-scenes photos.
Veteran Gem Dealer, Treasure Hunter, Expert NegotiatorRon LeBlanc is a “treasure hunter for hire” for high-net-worth clientele. As a naïve young man traveling in Morocco in the 1970s, Ron LeBlanc was fleeced by a merchant in Casablanca when he bought some worthless stones. Ashamed, LeBlanc vowed to learn the difference between junk and gems. He went on to study at the prestigious Gemological Institute of America and upon completion of his studies, began a series of international adventures – from Bangkok to Bogotá – in search of beauty and the perfect gem.
LeBlanc’s wide aesthetic interests and insatiable curiosity have found him in various incarnations including literary editor, bar owner, war correspondent and live webcaster. During his last foray in the television business, he wrote and created an award-winning documentary series entitled Bar Life. The pilot episode featured LeBlanc in his Toronto bar, The Coloured Stone.
In the past few years, LeBlanc has made Madagascar his base of operations. Madagascar has every kind of gemstone in the world, and is considered the last great untapped gem source. In 2004, LeBlanc bought into a large pink sapphire deposit in the southern part of the island. After intense exploration, existence of commercial amounts of sapphire was confirmed; however, a coup d’état in 2009 and subsequent worldwide financial crisis slowed exploration efforts. LeBlanc waits for a legitimate Malagasy government to take over in order to continue pursuing these efforts.
Jewelry Expert & Designer, Luxury Goods AdvisorDiane Robinson completed her MBA, specializing in Luxury Management, from the International University of Monaca in 2011. Robinson is also one of the founders of Madacana Holdings – a gem exploration company founded in 2004 that has a major pink sapphire deposit in Madagascar.
Since the early 1990s, Diane Robinson has been the advisor and head marketer of precious gemstones that come from a cadre of international gem hunters lead by Ron LeBlanc. Her immersion in the luxury hierarchy in Monte Carlo has fortified her credentials and expanded her reach into the world of luxury goods.
Robinson remains central to the sale of gems that are gathered at the deposit in Madagascar, as well as stones that are bought from open markets globally. She also recently launched her own line of gem-encrusted, high-end evening bags.
Besides her pursuits in the field of luxury and gem stones, Robinson is also an award-winning television producer, journalist and entrepreneur. Robinson's love of luxury and travel, coupled with her business expertise, has culminated in her present career as an international “gem huntress.”
Geologist, Master Lapidary, Gemstone Exploration SpecialistA geoscientist and professional gem cutter, Bernie Gaboury holds a B.S. degree in Physical Chemistry and a M.S. in Exploration Geochemistry. His professional life has ranged from working in nuclear research facilities to roles as an exploration geologist, project manager and co-founder of a mining company involving emeralds in Yukon Territory, Canada.
In the past 10 years, Gaboury’s geological career has evolved to that of a gemstone exploration specialist. Gaboury’s interests include rock and fossil collecting, hiking, astronomy, gemstone cutting and jewelry manufacturing, photography and travel. His gemstone hobby grew into a hobby business and ultimately into a full-time business. He acquires rough gemstones from around the world, cuts and sells them to jewelry designers and private customers. Through the years he has become widely known as a master lapidary. Gaboury’s gemstone expertise, in concert with his geological career, has given him a unique set of skills shared by few gemstone experts.
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