Curriculum Vitae Publications Current Projects Activities Contact
Brett Wyatt Marketing/Consulting/Writing/Training
Agriculture Gems and Jewelry Curriculum Development Published Research


Gem Buying

For three years I have operated a commercial mushroom farm outside of the city of Chiang Mai, in Thailand.
Researching in Thailand is an adventure in itself. Thai farmers have a deep understanding of their environment, local knowledge and traditions let them survive, but they are also very adaptable, and many have turned to pesticide free forms of agriculture.
The most valuable lesson Thai people have taught me is that you have to enjoy life in everything you do. Gem buying is a lot of fun and the risks are small, provided that you know what to look for.

The process starts with making spore. In a sterile environment, a sliver of the mushroom is placed into a jar of agar where mycelium grows.

Clean water is an overlooked problem in Myanmar. In Mandalay, the second largest city, the majority of people do not have access to clean water. Shallow wells are contaminated with E. coli, and the city suffers periodic outbreaks of cholera from the city water supply.

Most people I meet only know what a finished gemstone should look like. But to really know a gem it is essential to know what it looked like before it was sorted, heated, treated, cut and mounted, as most gems are.

Specially processed sawdust is packed into bags and prepared for sterilizing.
Thai culture and rituals are very much part of everyday life. The most pervasive of these customs is called krengjai, a complex form of consideration unknown to Western culture.
Going a step further, visiting a mine, such as this sapphire mine, traces the path of a gem all the way to its extraction. It's also a very exciting thing to do.

Contact information

Brett Wyatt

15003 Gale Ave

Hacienda Heights, CA 91745

Back to the top

After applying spore, the mushrooms spring out of the bags.
The only way to know the real story is through field work. It's not enough to take a minibus trip to a pre-selected location. Real field work is done by leaving the institution behind and working with the people.