Karen’s Jewelers will host a Smithsonian style exhibit of gems and jewelry from Central Asia and Australia Wednesday through Friday, Oct. 2-4, when adventurer Gary Bowersox brings his collection of more than 60,000 gems to Oak Ridge.
Bowersox has hunted for gems this year in the mines of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Sri Lanka and India, as well as Australia. Among his finds are a rare 29 carat black opal from Lightening Ridge, Australia, and an 1,100 carat ruby from Tajikistan. Both will be on display at the gem show at Karen’s Jewelers, 1120 Oak Ridge Turnpike. The exhibit will be on display from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. each day.
The exhibit will feature rough gems and minerals, precision-cut gemstones, designer jewelry, lapis lazuli specialty items, and unique items from Central Asia. Gemstones will include emerald, aquamarine, kunzite, tourmaline and ruby.
Bowersox has traveled to Central Asia in search of gems each year for more than 40 years and has served as a consultant to the government of Afghanistan and for a U.S. Agency for International Development project to revitalize the gemstone industry in that country. He has surveyed every emerald and ruby mine known in Afghanistan.
The subject of a TV documentary and author of the books, “The Gem Hunter” and “Gemstones of Afghanistan,” Bowersox has been described as a modern-day Indiana Jones who has traveled through Afghanistan by horseback, helicopter, and in disguise covered by a woman’s burqa. His travels there have spanned multiple conflicts in the region.
Bowersox was honored by the Kamehameha, Hawaii, Lions Club with an award for directing humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan through the Lions International eyeglass program in 2009. He has also delivered school supplies to school children in remote mining villages through his local Rotary Foundation.
A leading authority on the region and its gems, Bowersox has lectured at the Smithsonian and The Explorers Club, carrying the club’s flag to Afghanistan. He has appeared on CNN, ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Fox News, National Public Radio, Voice of America, and many other radio and television programs.
He will be available to sign his book, “The Gem Hunter,” at the exhibit.