Alan Jobbins, groundbreaking gemmologist, dies
By David Brough
LONDON, February 15, 2019 – E. Alan Jobbins, one of the world’s leading gemmologists who made groundbreaking contributions as a curator, researcher and teacher, has died.
Jobbins, who died on February 9, 2019, and was in his mid-90s, was for some 30 years (from the 1950s) curator of gemstones at the Geological Museum in London, which is now a part of the Earth galleries at the Natural History Museum.
He was a Vice President of Gem-A (the Gemmological Association of Great Britain), and was an honorary founder member of the ICA (International Colored Gemstone Association), one of the oldest members of the IGC (International Gemmological Conference), an early contributor to industry rules through CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation.
Jobbins was the visionary editor of the Journal of Gemmology who took the grey academic styled journal into the modern era.
He gained the Diploma in Gemmology from the Gemmological Association of Great Britain in 1970.
He was an adviser to the Laboratory of the London Chamber of Commerce, later to become the Gem Testing Laboratory of Great Britain.
Jobbins taught gemmology at the Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design in London for over two decades, receiving the gratitude of hundreds of students of gemmology who benefited from his teaching methods, says former colleague Kenneth Scarratt.
Published both in scientific journals and books, Jobbins’s research into the gem deposits of South East Asia (particularly those of the Pailin deposits) and Brazil were groundbreaking at the time, and today these published reports are standard reference points.
During his time in South East Asia Alan was not limited to research: he taught gemmology in Burma (Myanmar) and advised on the development of a gem laboratory.
Together with Dr. Jamie Nelson, in the late 1980s Jobbins travelled several times to Wuhan and Beijing to introduce the Gemmological Association’s courses to China, successfully teaching China’s future university lecturers in the subject of gemmology.
Likely one of his most lasting legacies will be the instrumental role he played in organizing and developing the team that then spent several years examining in great detail the gemstones within the British Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.
The data was published in two leather-bound volumes as “The Crown Jewels: The History of the Coronation Regalia in the Jewel House of the Tower of London”, in 1995.
Jobbins received the Accredited Gemologists Association (AGA) Antonio Bonanno Award in 2005 in recognition of his lifetime contribution to gemmology.