INTRODUCTION

        If you don’t like books about love, romance, adventure, fabulous gemstones, beautiful jewelry, faraway places, exotic cuisine – and shopping – stop reading now. But if you’re interested in any or all of the above, this book is for you.

        We’ve put together a collection of personal experiences that is much more than a travelogue. It reflects our philosophy of life, how we came to it, and the rules we live by. We’ve even included recipes to enhance your appreciation of different countries and cultures.

        When we first began our worldwide journeys in search of gemstones, we re-corded our experiences. Our intention was to preserve, for ourselves and our families, those rare moments that become treasured memories. Over the years, many of our friends and clients, as well as our television viewers, have asked us to share our experiences; but we found it difficult to “go public” with our memories.

        We both feel that our lives began on the day we met. We celebrate December 6, 1975, as a mutual birthday. Everything that happened before was merely preparation for what lay ahead. We just weren’t ready for “visitors,” until now.

        After authoring two technical books on gemstones, we’ve decided that the time has come to publish our reminiscences. Some of our stories will amuse you; others may surprise and even shock you. We hope that they will educate, entertain – and give you “food for thought”. Welcome to our world.

John and Laura Ramsey

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