Campbell R. Bridges
Campbell R. Bridges, prominent British adventurer, geologist and gem dealer, was born in Kensington, England in September 1937, the son of ___ Carswell and ___ Bridges, a mining company geologist. During a career that spanned half a century, Campbell Bridges spent most of his time prospecting for gems in Africa and mining his concessions in South Africa, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Tanganyika (now Tanzania) and Kenya. He was among the first to recover gem zoisite (tanzanite) in Tanzania, and is credited with discovering the deep green gem variety of vanadian grossular called "tsavorite" in 1967. In the 1960s he worked as a gem consultant for Tiffany's. When his Tanzanian mining properties were nationalized in 1970 he moved to neighboring Kenya and located new gem deposits. He was a founding member of the International Colored Gemstone Association.
Bridges was ambushed and murdered near the town of Voi in southern Kenya on August 11, 2009, by a gang of Kenyan squatters, backed by local government officials, who had been seeking to seize control of Bridges' lucrative tsavorite mining concessions. The unlicensed miners had been illegally digging for gems on the family's 600-hectare concession (the Scorpion mine) for the last three years, and had made numerous death threats against Bridges, but the local police had refused to provide any help or protection.
As of August 14, six men had been arrested for the murder.
Campbell Bridges' is survived by his wife, Judith, his son, Bruce Bridges (who is a partner in the family gem business), and his daughter Laura, who is currently a law student at the University of Chicago.
ANONYMOUS (2009) Violent facets of African mining catch up with Scottish gem dealer. Arizona Daily Star, August 14, A12 (from the Los Angeles Times).
McCONNELL, T. (2009) Gem expert Campbell Bridges killed by Kenyan mob after mining row. The Times, London, August 13.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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