Our friend Hubert Lagache suddenly left us on September 10th1998, when he was 68. He was tired, yet on September 7th, he still browsed Bijhorca exhibition stands (jewellery, watches, presents).
For more than ten years, he had courageously fought against a leukaemia, which finally took his life. Son of a jeweller living in La Madeleine (North), Hubert Lagache was obviously very early interested in gemstones, which made him follow the gemmology lessons of Georges Gôhel as part of Ile de France Learning Committee: he successfully completed the Gemmology Professional Certificate.
Then, he decided to transmit to his colleagues far away in Paris the basics necessary to objectively differentiate polished precious stones from imitations, and to identify some less frequently used semi-precious stones, such as diopside.
Therefore, when his friend Daniel Piat founded the Gemmology French Association, in 1962, he naturally made Hubert Lagache responsible for creating and undertaking, in this framework, initiation lecture cycles accompanied by practical exercises for provincial jewellers : in Lille of course, but also in Lyon, Rennes, Marseille, Toulouse, Grenoble, etc. Thus, Hubert Lagache was informed on the diverse gemmological difficulties that retail jewellers encountered, which led him to become part of the Mineralogy French Society. He took part there several times in order to share his great interest for gemstones with mineralogists.
On January, 1st 1969, the Diamond National Syndical Chamber took over the formation provided by the GFA around the province, it founded in 1972 the Gemmology National Institute by the Ile-de-France Learning committee in Paris, and then, under the influence of Edouard Sirakian. As early as 1976, Hubert Lagache was a teacher there with the responsibility of Director of Studies.
In these circumstances, he published « Initiation into Gemmology », which specifies the logical steps for the differentiation of cut stones thanks to simple observations : inclusions seen with 10 times magnification, optical character with crossed polaroid, refractive indices with a direct reading refractometer, dichroism, density, fluorescent colour under black light, main bands and absorption lines with manual spectroscope. This work on elementary gemmology was reissued at the end of year 1996.
The Mineralogy French Society Members will remember with emotion their colleague devoted to the most attractive part of minerals, these gemstones, whose colour and life make the heart of all mineralogists vibrate. Mrs Hubert Lagache and her children can be assured that they have all our sympathy.
Jean Paul Poirot