AGTA GemFair 2020 AGTA GemFair 2020

AGTA GemFair 2020

To view a recorded session, click the YouTube video below the seminar title. 

A Brief History of Faceting and the Birth of Modern Gem Cutting

Speakers: Justin K Prim, Faceting Instructor, Institute of Gem Trading, Bangkok,

Justin K Prim, author and faceting historian, explores the history of colored gemstone cutting in Europe. Beginning in the 1300s and taking us on a visual journey through history to modern times, the talk includes images and videos of faceted gemstones in jewelry from various eras, and also discusses the development of techniques and machinery through the ages. We’ll look at how the gem cutting craft has evolved, and how it’s been influenced by artistic and technological trends of the times—from the Renaissance to the Modern Era, from table cut to concave faceting. Along the way, we’ll follow the journey of the European faceting machine as it changed and developed from country to country before heading overseas and revolutionizing the gemstone world in the process.

A Worldwide Spring of Jade

Speakers: Jean-Pierre Jutras, B.Sc Hons. Geology, P.Geol, Geologist, Jadex Corporation (President, Director, Jade Leader Corp.),

Jade arts have undergone an incredible revolution since the turn of the new millennia in China. More jade has reportedly been carved in the twenty first century by the modern carving industry than was previously carved in the whole of history. This presentation explores these changes from an on the ground perspective as a Jade carver, and from a technical perspective as a mineral exploration geologist, documenting emerging trends, impact on raw materials and supplies and discussing the role of North America as a potential participant in this Jade revolution. There is so much going on in the Jade world, and it has been an incredible journey to be part of it this far. We will also discuss and show some of the new “fakes” out there, ways to test/figure them out, as well as have a section on the extremely rapid evolution of C&C carving and where it is at today…..(and some ways to recognize C&C carved pieces!)

AGL: Updates from the Laboratory

Filename: 2020-AGTA-005.mp4

 Speakers: Christopher Smith, CEO, American Gemological Laboratories, New York

Come and see what the AGL has been working on this past year—from famous and important articles that have come up for auction, to the current status of gemstone treatments and insights for how to recognize them. This seminar also includes a review focusing on the better refinement of criteria for establishing gem varieties that are based on color.

Advances in Hydrocarbon Gemology: Is It All Just ‘Smoke and Mirrors’?  

Speakers: Sarah Steele, FGA, DGA, Consultant Gemologist, Ebor Jetworks, Whitby Museum, United Kingdom,

Despite representing a socio-symbolically significant resource since the Paleolithic Era, little progress has occurred in the characterization of gem-quality hydrocarbons. Requiring oceanic anoxia, the jetification of wood has seldom occurred in Earth’s geological history. Resulting materials display polymeric properties and can be described as ‘Jurassic plastic.’ Unprecedented demand for jet in the 19th century required simulants. Baekeland’s 1907 creation ‘Bakelite’ was retailed as jet until 1943. Bakelite not only shared the qualities of jet, but its inventor claimed that we, as a race, had created a new material under the sun, and we had entered the “Fourth Kingdom.” Despite the odds, jet has survived as a gem product: proof—if we needed it—that “plastic is forever and a lot cheaper than diamond.”

Australian Opal Centre: A World-First Gemstone Industry Resource for Opal Knowledge, Services, Research, Education, Training, and Creativity

Speaker: Jenni Brammall, (B Sc Hons FGAA NC JV, Special Projects Officer, Australian Opal Centre,

Effective Strategies for Dealing with Difficult People

Speakers: Kate Peterson, CEO, Performance Concepts, Inc., for Diamond Council of America,

Steve Jobs said, “A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.” Sounds great in theory—but how do you assemble and keep that A+ team when it seems there’s a ‘C’ around every corner? Every company has at least one ‘C player’ at one time or another—that difficult person who threatens to suck the life out of every other member of the team. They come in many flavors: the chronic complainer, the nonstop talker, the seasoned employee who sabotages every effort to change anything about your business, the top salesperson who has the solution to every problem your organization faces, but who never does anything to help... Short of getting rid of them, what do you do? This session will provide practical, straightforward information about how to best approach these difficult people with the objective of changing them for the better.

Evaluation and Pricing of Jadeite and Nephrite Jade

Speakers: Jeff Mason, GG, Owner, Mason-Kay, Inc.,; Renée Newman, GG, Gemologist and Author,

Translucency, color, fractures, and treatments can have a huge impact on Jade value. This session discusses how these and other factors affect the pricing of Burmese Jadeite jewelry and both cut and rough Nephrite from North America, Siberia, and the Hotan (Hetian) area of China. Pricing examples will be provided.

Foundations of Gem Optics

Speakers: Rex Guo, Sutra Gems, Singapore,

Effects of the financial meltdown of 2008 are still being felt globally across the luxury industries with the gems and jewellery space unspared. Of the 4C's (Carat, Colour, Clarity, Cut), Cut is the only factor under human control, and its improvement represents one of the best opportunities for the gem industry to revitalize itself. The first step in the evolution of Cut is by understanding gem optics. Go beyond Snell’s Law and learn the physics that govern how light behaves inside a gem at the micro and macro levels, leading to the image that the eyes perceive. The relationship between cut, colour, and human visual perception will be discussed as well as the optical characteristics of the classic cutting styles seen on the market.

Green Gems: ID of Natural, Treated, and Synthetic Look-Alikes with Portable and Lab Instruments

Speakers: Branko Deljanin, GG, FGA, Director and Head Gemologist, CGL Canadian Gemlab, Inc.,

At the heart of gemology is gem identification. For example, it is very difficult to distinguish some Emeralds, tsavorites Garnets, and glass, by mere observation. Since the values of these gemstones are considerably different, an accurate identification is necessary. It is important that the identification is performed without any destruction of the gems. Thus, using a PL Inspector by Gemetrix and Gempen by Gemometrics (portable and low-cost instruments allowing viewing of fluorescence and phosphorescence), CPF (Cross Polarized Filters), and spectroscope may be indispensable as fast optical methods, in addition to using essential tools such as loupe. By using the above standard gem testing instruments and techniques, trained gemologists can recognize most green gem materials. Branko will cover the use of four basic portable instruments that are practical for using on the road, at a gem field, or at a gem show without the need for a refractometer and microscope with an electrical outlet. Man-made green glasses, synthetic green spinel, and synthetic Emerald have characteristic fluorescence under LW/SW light that could separate them from natural gems. The advantage of the fluorescence technique is that it could be used as a screening test on mounted Emeralds, or polymer treated (B) and dyed (C) Jade, or larger pieces of Jade that may not fit in lab spectrometers.

JVC Legal Update

 Speakers: Tiffany Stevens, President and CEO, Jewelers Vigilance Committee; Sara Yood, Senior Counsel, Jewelers Vigilance Committee

Come hear Tiffany Stevens, JVC President and CEO, and Sara Yood, JVC Senior Counsel, discuss new developments in the laws and regulations that apply to gem dealers and the jewelry industry at-large. Tiffany and Sara will cover updates from the Federal Trade Commission, new developments at the State Department, advertising regulations, anti-money laundering requirements, and anything else that suits your fancy! Come armed with your questions for the industry’s legal experts.

Let’s Get Social! The Power of Socially Responsible Sourcing

Speakers: Mia Katrin, Moderator, Jewel Couture, Panelists; Ron Ringsrud, Ron Ringsrud Company; Sheahan Stephen, Sheahan Stephen Sapphires; John Ford, Lightning Ridge Collection by John Ford

It’s the new buzzword: Transparent ethical supply chains with “socially responsible sourcing.” And the demand is client-driven. Millennials especially expect transparency and awareness of how the gems and metals in their jewelry is sourced. “First, do no harm.” At a minimum, clients expect a guarantee that source materials for their jewelry arise from conflict-free areas and that local mining does not harm the environment or the mining communities. But beyond that, increasingly aware consumers are seeking a positive impact from the process of production. They want their treasured ring or pendant to positively contribute to the quality of life in indigenous areas—to “give back” to the source, increasing prosperity and social justice. Socially responsible sourcing is a powerful concept, generating a compelling story which retailers can use to create the meaningful experience that increasingly enlightened consumers crave. Three experts with combined decades of experience in indigenous mining areas—Colombia, Sri Lanka, and Australia—share their hands-on experience with the latest developments in socially responsible sourcing and the impact it’s having locally and throughout the supply chain.

Market Trends, Industry Changes, and Gem Sourcing Considerations

Speakers: Richard Drucker, President, Gemworld International (publisher of GemGuide),; Stuart Robertson, Vice President, Gemworld International,

Market demand and prices are changing due to several factors. Presented by the team behind GemGuide, the industry leader for gem pricing and market information, this annual talk on gemstone prices and market trends will address how and why gem prices are changing and bring you the latest information on sourcing.

Opportunities in the Gem Market Beyond the ‘Big 3’

Speakers: Cigdem Lule, Ph.D., FGA, GIA GG, DGA, Owner, Kybele, LLC,

The movement toward supply chain consolidation of the Big 3 (Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald) is creating profitable opportunities for dealers and retailers in a number of other gem varieties. Diamonds and the Big 3 have always been staples of the gem business, yet current market dynamics are reshaping the trade. In the recent decade, a changing attitude from a new generation of consumers has boosted interest in an array of gem materials that had previously been regarded as semi-precious. The current trend of breaking away from tradition in favor of fashion-focused, more affordable gemstone options presents exciting possibilities to expand colored gemstone sales. Dr. Lüle will discuss both these classic and unusual gem materials and how they appeal to the new generation of buyers.

Retail or e-Commerce – The Blended Future

Speakers: Jennifer Markas, Executive Director, Women’s Jewelry Association,; A Panel of WJA Members

The biggest question brands face in our industry today involves the future business model of e-commerce and traditional retail. Will boutiques struggle or flourish with in-person transactions? Will business be done solely online? Or is there potential for an ideal blend of the two? Our expert panel—ranging the gamut of business models—will share their thoughts, explain the benefits and shortcomings of their model, and speak to their focus for the future. Join us for this interactive panel and learn about the future of your business!

Sapphire Isle: Updates on Madagascar Sapphire

Speakers: Billie Hughes, Lotus Gemology, Bangkok, Thailand,

Join Lotus Gemology’s Billie Hughes for an overview of one of the most important colored gems on the market: Madagascar Sapphire. We will cover the history of Sapphire mining in Madagascar, as well as highlights from Billie’s most recent field trip to Madagascar in 2019. This seminar will also look at the results of Lotus Gemology’s experiments in low-temperature heat treatment of this material and how to detect it. Furthermore, we will discuss the mining of Madagascar Sapphire from an ethical standpoint.

Sapphire Trend: Peach and Teal vs. Traditional Blue

Speakers: Sheahan Stephan, Sheahan Stephen Sapphires,

Over the past five years, the Sapphire market has seen an uptick in demand for two hues of Sapphire—peach and teal. This session will give attendees the tools to understand and articulate clearly to their customers the subtle difference between orangish-pink, pinkish-orange, and Padparadscha. Sheahan will also give clear-cut descriptions for green, teal, and yellow-green Sapphires. Through reviewing a number of graphs which cover time, color, consumption, and shifting prices, attendees will gain an in-depth understanding of what’s causing this movement toward fancy-colored Sapphires vs. traditional blue. Ultimately, this session will help attendees understand more clearly their customers’ requests/needs and help them close sales on these unique, fancy-colored Sapphires.

Seeing Colour: Succeed with the Spectroscope

Speakers: Charles Bexfield, FGA, DGA, EG

The Color Corundum - Gem ID Series

Speakers: Claire Scragg, FGA, DGA, Learning and Development Manager, Jewelry Television

Have you ever wondered where to begin when separating out gems of the same or similar color? If so, this seminar is ideal for you. Focusing on key green and yellow gemstones, this practical 'hands-on' session will cover the important and effective gem testing techniques that you can apply to successfully identify gems of similar colors, using just handheld equipment. So, if you are looking to learn new testing skills, or develop existing ones, we look forward to seeing you there.

The Color of Money: Turning Consumer Trends into Profit

Speakers: Kate Peterson, CEO, Performance Concepts, Inc., for Diamond Council of America,

Knowledge is power—and for most businesses, that power brings with it a potential for growth that is astounding. Today, much as throughout retail history, some brands are staring into the abyss, while others are reaching for the stars. The difference between the two groups may well be the willingness of the latter to look beyond the “way we’ve always done it” and to respond to the changing market in ways that meet and even exceed consumer expectations. Experts around the world agree that the luxury consumer is back in the spending game, and there are more opportunities than ever for creative brands and entrepreneurs to satisfy evolving consumer needs. Both recent sales history and a careful analysis of top consumer trends point to a major resurgence in the demand for colored gemstones as part of this new world order. Don’t miss this overview of colored gemstones as they relate to top, must-know consumer trends, and the opportunity to learn how you and your team can capitalize in the coming months. Learn what's on the horizon and see how you can best prepare your product, your brand, and your team to be where the spending customer is.

The Gemstone Market: A Historical Perspective

Speakers: Helen Molesworth, Managing Director, Gübelin Academy, Switzerland,

The jewelry industry and gem markets have seen great change and development in recent years, apparently more than ever before. Markets have experienced both growth and fluctuation on a massive scale. World records are constantly being broken. Recent sales results are frequently observed and discussed. Yet all this often happens without a larger context. Much of our price and value knowledge comes from recent, living memory… but what do we know about gem pricing in the recent and even distant past? How have we gotten to where we are today, compared with a hundred or more(!) years ago? How has our concept of prices and value changed? Furthermore, can this help indicate where we are going? Helen will address the importance of history through examples and models, with special references to Ruby in particular. She’ll also investigate shifts in the gem market from the perspective of the bigger picture.

The Lustrous Mysteries of American Natural Pearls

Speakers: Gina Latendresse, American Pearl Company, Inc.,

Dating back to the 1500s, European royal families considered natural Pearls harvested in the New World to be among the rarest and most prized of all things, even exceeding the value of gold and Emeralds. Once the New World—the Americas—was discovered, they sent their armadas in search of her distinctive and unique Pearls, especially those harvested from the lakes and rivers of North America. We can find numerous examples among the antique pieces in the Royal Collections of England, Spain, and Portugal. We can also see numerous examples of these Pearls featured in the dramatic Art Nouveau, delicate Edwardian, and geometric Art Deco designs as well as the whimsical Mid-Century designs. Today we will explore the natural freshwater pearling industry and its impact on jewelry and jewelry design throughout history.

The Social Spectrum: How Industry Stars Color Their Instagram Pages

Speakers: Barbara Palumbo, Moderator, Adornmentality; A Panel of AGTA Members

Writer and journalist Barbara Palumbo will moderate a panel of industry personalities from various backgrounds who've managed to organically build big Instagram followings through their creative and colorful content. Learn tips and tricks from the best in the business on how to gain social media followers by choosing to color outside the lines.

Turquoise – Stone of Mystery

Speakers: Eric Fritz, Manager, University of Arizona Gem and Mineral Museum,

Turquoise has been revered and worked by indigenous people in the southwestern United States and Mexico for well over a thousand years, predating the explorers from Europe. Artifacts, such as the Aztec Calendar Stone, have been recovered from archaeological sites great distances from known deposits of Turquoise. A long-held belief that the Aztec people were trading far north and obtaining Turquoise from Arizona and New Mexico is now being challenged. Joint research in geosciences and anthropology at the University of Arizona has provided a scientific explanation for the original source of Turquoise. In this study, graduate student Alyson M. Thibodeau and colleagues demonstrate that geological sources of Turquoise in the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico can be distinguished from each other through the measurement of lead and strontium isotopic ratios. This process has similarities to carbon-14 dating—a bit more household word. These isotopic analyses thus provide a new way to investigate the mining and translocation of this mineral in prehistory.