I was born in 1973 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, my mother was a medical doctor and my father a geologist. Our home was always full of crystals and stones that my father was bringing from his travels.
My parents took me to my first geological expedition in Siberia when I was only one years old, for the horror of my grandparents. My father was prospecting gold and tin deposits in Magadan region located on the Far East of Russia.
Later, as a teenager, I was enrolled in the Club of Young Geologists in Saint Petersburg, participating in many fascinating extra-scholar activities, including geological trips to deposits all over the Soviet Union. That was a fabulous experience; visiting many interesting places, learning a lot and making good friends.
Next step was my Bachelor and Master studies at the Mineralogy Department of the Geology Faculty of Saint-Petersburg State University, were I chose specialization in Gemology and graduated in 1996 with honors. During my last years at the University, I also worked part-time as a gemologist in a large jewelry firm in Saint-Petersburg.
After that I got an opportunity to do my PhD research in Madrid at the School of Mining Engineering, and I came to Spain in 1998. The topic of my PhD thesis in Geology was the study of emerald deposits in the Ural Mountains and the comparison of Ural emeralds properties with emeralds from other origins. I obtained my PhD degree in 2003 with honors.
From 2000 to 2020 I worked in the Spanish Gemological Institute (IGE), first as gemologist in Gem Testing Laboratory (2000-2007), later as Director of Education (2007-2015) and lastly as Director of Gem Testing Laboratory (2015-2020). During that period in IGE, I was also teaching many different courses, such as Gemology, Diamond Grading, Jewelry Valuation, and I also developed some new courses for IGE syllabus, such as Colored Gemstones Quality Grading and Identification of Synthetic and Treated Diamonds. I actively participated in the organization of four international Symposiums held by IGE. Currently, I’m still teaching some courses at IGE and I’m a member of its Directors Board.
From 2007 to 2017 I was the IGE delegate for the Federation for European Education in Gemology (FEEG), the organization of twelve first-level European gemological schools, last years as chief of Examination Committee and Vice-Chairman of this organization.
For five years, from 2004 to 2010, I also combined my gemological work with teaching Geology at the Spanish Distance Learning University (UNED). I participated in various investigation projects, co-authoring numerous scientific publications, conferences’ presentations and didactic materials in mineralogy and gemology.
My first contact with lapidary arts dates from 1987, when I took my first courses of gemstones cutting and polishing at the Club of Young Geologists, mostly for carving of ornamental stones. Later, as a gemologist, I was always curious to learn more about faceting, so I tried it for the first time in mid 1990s, using a very primitive faceting machine.
The real boost for my faceting activity was the course I took in 2007 at the IGE. After that I immediately bought my first serious faceting equipment and started to cut stones any free moment I could gain from my other duties. In 2011 I launched the gem-sphalerite.com website and in 2014 the gems-inclusions.com.
Finally, I decided that gemstone faceting is the activity I like the most, and in March 2020 I left my position as Lab Director at IGE and started new period in my life as a freelance gemologist and gemstone cutter.