This led to correspondence between Lucas and Teweld Abay, director of the Mineral Marketing and Value Chain Directorate over the next several months to coordinate a joint project between GIA and the Ethiopian Ministry of Mines Petroleum & Natural Gas. Tucson 2017 and 2018 were abuzz with interest regarding Ethiopian emeralds and to a lesser degree Ethiopian sapphires. A few Ethiopian dealers showed sapphires at the show that were obviously magmatic in nature. Most of the gemstones were very dark blue and heavily included with silk. There were some bright blue stones, however, that sparked a great deal of interest. News of the sapphires had begun entering the gem trade in early 2017. As much of the talk in the gem trade was of this upcoming source of gemstones, GIA was compelled to conduct firsthand on-the-ground research. The Ethiopian Ministry of Mines also wanted third-party expertise to be involved in joint research on the Ethiopian gem deposits. The decision was made for GIA to visit the main gem producing areas of the East African country of Ethiopia, including sapphire, emerald and opal mining areas. The expedition dates were set for the end of February 2018 through t...