Robert, founder of Gessner Gems, has over 15 years of colored gemstone experience, including the mining, geology and their exploration in East Africa. He started in Tanzania as a Junior Geologist in 2003 for TanzaniteOne (then African Gem Resources Limited - Afgem). Robert left at the end of 2008, as Senior Mine Geologist, having played an integral part of developing the understanding, mapping and both underground and surface exploration of the tanzanite gemstone. He also has exploration experience in Tanzania’s tsavorite, ruby zoisite, spessartine and rhodolite garnet, respectively.
At the beginning of 2009, Robert joined Gemfields plc on their Kagem Mining Limited emerald operation in Zambia, as Project Manager – Underground. The project involved pioneering underground mining of Kafubu Emerald Deposit, the world’s largest emerald deposit, which traditionally and historically, had been opencast mined. This trial project was completed in September 2014 and put under care and maintenance. He was then appointed Senior Manager – Geology with his core duties including managing the production and scheduling of the open pit, the operation’s contractors and the underground project.
Robert is a geologist by profession having completed his BSc Degree in Geology at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2002, and completed his post-graduate Honours Degree at the University of Stellenbosch in 2004.
In 2008, via distance learning, he completed his GIA AJP Diploma while in 2016, graduated as a Graduate Gemologist (GG) while in residence from the GIA Headquarters Campus in Carlsbad, USA.
His professional affiliations include being a registered Professional Natural Scientist by the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP) and a member of the Geological Society of South Africa (GSSA).
Robert is also a member of the following American organisations:
- American Gem Trade Association (AGTA)
- Women's Jewelry Association (WJA - Los Angeles Chapter)
- GIA Alumni