As a naïve young man traveling in Morocco in the 1970’s, Ron LeBlanc was fleeced by a merchant outside the Kasbah in Casablanca when he bought some worthless stones. Ashamed, LeBlanc vowed to learn the difference between junk and gems. He went on to study at the prestigious Gemological Institute of America and upon completion of his studies, began a series of international adventures –from Bangkok to Bogotá – in search of beauty and the perfect gem.
Ron LeBlanc’s wide aesthetic interests and insatiable curiosity have found him in various incarnations including literary editor, bar owner, war correspondent and live webcaster. During his last foray in the television business, he wrote and created an award-winning documentary series entitled “Bar Life.” The pilot episode featured LeBlanc in his Toronto bar, The Coloured Stone.
In the past few years, LeBlanc has made Madagascar his base of operations. Madagascar has every kind of gemstone in the world, and is considered the last great untapped gem source. In 2004, LeBlanc bought into a large pink sapphire deposit in the southern part of the island. After intense exploration, existence of commercial amounts of sapphire was confirmed; however, a coup d’état in 2009 and subsequent worldwide financial crisis slowed exploration efforts. LeBlanc waits for a legitimate Malagasy government to take over in order to continue pursuing these efforts.
In Travel Channel’s original series “Gem Hunt,” LeBlanc and his team – including jewelry expert Diane Robinson and geologist Bernie Gaboury – scour some of the most remote regions of the globe in search of gemstones they can turn into a small fortune. It’s a high-stakes world and there’s much profit to be made from these rocks, but LeBlanc and his team must be skilled in spotting flaws, “fake” synthetic stones and knowing when – and just how much – to bargain.
Currently LeBlanc continues his job as a “Treasure Hunter for Hire,” for his high net-worth clientele and jewellers. In addition, together with Diane Robinson he is building “Huntress” a luxury goods brand that specializes in bold coloured gemstone jewelry and gem-encrusted evening bags made from exotic leathers.
Diane Robinson completed her MBA, specializing in Luxury Management, from the International University of Monaco in 2011. Robinson is also one of the founders of Madacana Holdings – a gem exploration company founded in 2004 that has a major pink sapphire deposit in Madagascar.
Since the early nineties, Diane Robinson has been the advisor and head marketer of precious gemstones that come from a cadre of international gem hunters lead by Ron LeBlanc. Her immersion in the luxury hierarchy in Monte Carlo has fortified her credentials and expanded her reach into the world of luxury goods.
Robinson remains central to the sale of gems that are gathered at the deposit in Madagascar, as well as stones that are bought from open markets globally. She also recently launched her own line of gem encrusted, high-end evening bags.
In Travel Channel’s original series “Gem Hunt,” Robinson – along with veteran gem dealer Ron LeBlanc and geologist Bernie Gaboury – scour some of the most remote regions of the globe in search of gemstones they can turn into a small fortune. It’s a high-stakes world and there’s much profit to be made from these rocks, but Robinson and the team must be skilled in spotting flaws, “fake” synthetic stones and knowing when – and just how much – to bargain.
Besides her pursuits in the field of luxury and gem stones, Robinson is also an award-winning television producer, journalist and entrepreneur. Robinson’s love of luxury and travel, coupled with her business expertise, has culminated in her present career as an international “Gem Huntress.”