The Gems&Jewellery Autumn 2019 Issue Has Landed!

We are pleased to announce that the Autumn 2019 issue of Gems&Jewellery is now available to Gem-A Members and students in print and online.

Our quarterly magazine includes exciting updates from the world of gemstones and jewellery, as well as interviews and features from industry experts and the latest Gem-A news.

The Autumn issue begins with our CEO Alan Hart looking ahead to some of the most anticipated events in Gem-A’s calendar, including International Jewellery London, the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair and of course the Gem-A Conference 2019! Turn to page 16 for an exclusive preview of the brilliant line-up of speakers and talks planned for this year’s Conference.

An opal mine in Queensland, Australia. Image: Barbara Kolator.

On page 10 you can read Olga González’ highlights of Las Vegas’ jewellery and gem shows in June, which included Couture, JCK and AGTA GemFair. The shows may have been a departure from the norm, but the jewellery was bigger and better than ever. You can see some sparkling and inspiring examples from Valani Atelier, Lord Jewellery and L. Courteille Créations on pages 10 and 11.

Turn to page 12 to go on a journey through the Australian Outback with Gem-A collection curator, Barbara Kolator FGA DGA EG. Her account includes tales of visiting opal mines, sifting for sapphires and gemstone shopping!

Read more: What Are the Different Types of Opal?

Celebrated gemmologist and author, Renée Newman GG, tells us why we should consider redefining the 4Cs of diamonds and proposes a new system '6Cs and 2Ts' on pages 20-21. Directly following on page 22, we delve into the famous Al Thani Collection of treasures, including the 400 pieces recently sold by Christie's, and turn to jewellery historian Jack Ogden FGA for his expert opinions.  

Moonflower Sanni Falkenberg Gem A Gems Jewellery Autumn 2019 issueSanni Falkenberg's Award-Winning Agate 'Moonflower' Vase. Image: Sanni Falkenberg.

Elsewhere, Brighton-based lapidary artist Sanni Falkenberg takes us through the step-by-step process of creating her agate ‘Moonflower’ vase, which won gold at the Goldsmiths’ Craft & Design Council Awards 2019, while over on page 44, we bring you all the essential information – including the brilliant prizes up for grabs – about this year’s Gem-A Photographer of the Year Competition!

Read more: What Factors Influence Sapphire Prices?

The striking cover photo from this season’s issue features the astounding 'Siren of Serendip' sapphire set in a white gold and diamond necklace. On page 36, Rui Galopim de Carvalho FGA DGA reports on the origins of this 422.66 carat gem and the process of transforming it into a magnificent piece of jewellery.

A Turn of the century gold necklace set with turquoises, turquoise matrix and blister pearls designed by Archibald Knox for Liberty & Co. Image courtesy of Charlotte Glyde at Woolley and Wallis.

Jewellery historian and valuer John Benjamin FGA DGA FIRV brings us the next instalment in his Gemstone Conversations series with an exploration of the various faces of turquoise in jewellery design history, from the courts of the Shahs of Persia to the cutting-edge jewels of the Art Deco era. To round off our issue, we look back on our visit to JCK and AGTA GemFair in Las Vegas and let you know where we are heading next!

If that wasn’t enough, this issue also features articles on jewellery designer Sarah Ho’s new Full Circle Collection; the interesting career and upcoming projects of Belgian jewellery designer Jochen Leën; tortoiseshell trading confusion; a Gem-A student project on ‘The Importance of Jade in the Mughal Court’; and a quick introduction of the Ivory Act.

Gem-A Members and students can access a PDF version of Gems&Jewellery here. Simply access the archive with your log-in details. 

Would you like to receive print editions of Gems&Jewellery and The Journal of Gemmology straight to your door? Become a Gem-A Member today.

Do you have an idea for an upcoming Gems&Jewellery feature? Share your thoughts with our editorial team on

Cover image: The 422.66 carat Siren of Serendip blue sapphire set in a white gold and diamond necklace by jeweller Ingo Henn. Image courtesy of the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Additional Info


Gem-A at International Jewellery London 2019

International Jewellery London is just around the corner and all of us at Gem-A are hugely excited for what promises to be a scintillating showcase of jewellery and gemstones!

If you will be attending IJL 2019, we would like to invite you to join us at Booth F21, where you can meet our team, find out about our courses and try out some practical gemmology with our tutors!

While in recent years we were located in the upstairs section of the show, this year we are positioned at the front of the show (on the right hand side as you walk through the door) in a learning hub alongside the NAJ and The Goldsmiths’ Centre.

Guide to International Jewellery London 2019

Sunday 1 September 2019

Presentation: Gem Empathy Award Winner 2019

Location: Gem-A Booth, F21

The entries have been judged and one lucky IJL exhibitor/visitor will be announced the winner of the Gem Empathy Award 2019 and take home the 12.9 carat precious coral cabochon sourced and cut by Enzo Liverino 1894.

Tuesday 3 September 2019

Seminar: Precious Coral & Sustainability

Location: Catwalk Theatre

Read more: Misunderstandings about Precious Coral

Rui Galopim De Carvalho FGA DGA, Vice-President of the CIBJO Coral Commission, dives into the underwater world of precious coral and addresses some of the misunderstandings around its use in the jewellery industry.

Daily at the Gem-A Booth

Across all three days at IJL 2019 we shall be running in-booth gemmology training sessions at our Practical Gemmology Lab! These fun, 20-minute sessions run by our brilliant team of tutors will help you get to grips with the basics of gemstone identification:

10:30 am:  The Diamond Detective

Learn the basics of separating diamonds from its simulants and synthetics.

12:30 pm: A Gemmologist’s Best Friends

Get the most out of your loupe, lights and the microscope.

2:30 pm: Become a UV Jedi

Master the use of UV to distinguish between similar-looking stones.

4:30 pm: Spot the Difference

Separate blue stones with the use of the dichroscope and Chelsea colour filter.


Are you a gem detective? Drop by the booth at any time and test your knowledge! Cast your eye over eight different blue stones and try to identify the gems! If you are new to gemmology you can get some help from our gemmology tutors or use the clues provided.

Exclusive Offers for IJL Visitors

We are pleased to invite you to take advantage of special discounts and offers, exclusively reserved for exhibitors and visitors at IJL, including 15% off Gem-A one-day workshops and our GemBasics course when you book at the show!

What’s more, we are offering two fantastic instrument bundles at a significantly reduced rate – an offer only available at the show and while stocks last! IJL visitors and exhibitors can choose from:

Offer 1: The Filters Bundle

Includes: Chelsea colour filter, dichroscope, flat light and Maglite all for £75 inc. VAT, saving £23.40.


Offer 2: The Power Couple

Includes: A desktop microscope plus PhotoAtlas Vol. 3 for £1650 inc. VAT plus free UK shipping, saving £220.


We cannot wait to see some of the fascinating presentations lined up for the Inspire Seminar Programme, fresh designs from emerging talent and of course the amazing array of gems and jewellery on display. If you haven’t already, head to the IJL website to register! We look forward to seeing you there!

We have some fantastic guest speaker events planned for October, including a workshop on Organics with Gem-A President, Maggie Campbell Pedersen FGA ABIPP and a workshop on The World of Antique Jewellery with jewellery historian and valuer, John Benjamin FGA DGA FIRV. To book tickets, head to the workshops webpage

Additional Info


A First Time Visit to International Jewellery London 2019

Gem-A’s communications assistant, Olivia Gillespie, reflects on her first experience at one of the UK’s biggest jewellery trade shows, International Jewellery London.

Having never visited International Jewellery London before, it was difficult to know what to expect! Upon walking through the front door of Olympia London on Sunday, the opening day of the show, I was quite taken aback by the enormity of the venue and the masses of visitors and exhibitors already networking and eyeing the many dazzling jewels on display.

I was also quite surprised by the variety of exhibitors, ranging from jewellers and gem wholesalers, to watch dealers and educational institutions, and by how far some had travelled to be at IJL, with some being based as far afield as Denmark, Hong Kong and Canada. There was a veritable feast of jewels and gems to behold at IJL, but a few remarkable exhibits and events made an especially sparkling impression on me…

 The amethyst 'Victoriana' necklace by Fei Liu Fine Jewellery.

International Jewellery London: Fine Jewellery Design

IJL 2019 had numerous exhibitors showing fine jewellery but I was particularly dazzled by the beautifully elegant statement jewels from Fei Liu Fine Jewellery. Fei Liu was showing his new collection, Victoriana, which is inspired by popular gemstones and stone cuts from the Victorian period, most notably the octagon cut, which featured in an exquisite suite of amethyst jewellery on display.

Two stunning statement rings by Fei Liu Fine Jewellery. Ring 1: 18 carat white gold ring set with a 17.35 carat green tourmaline and surrounded by 1.92 carats of tsavorites and 2.19 carats of baguette-cut diamonds. Ring 2:18 carat rose gold ring with a 9.35 carat garnet, 1.68 carats of diamonds and 4 carats of rutilated quartz.

I was utterly transfixed by two glorious rings on the brand's stand. The first is an 18 carat white gold ring set with a 17.35 carat green tourmaline and surrounded by tsavorites and baguette-cut diamonds, while the second is an 18 carat rose gold ring featuring a 9.35 carat garnet centre stone, flanked by 4 carats of rutilated quartz and bordered by diamonds.

Unusual Gemstones

As a member of the Gem-A family, I always get excited to see unusual coloured gemstones. I was very happy to get the chance to peruse the collection of gemstones exhibited by Ntinga, a London-based fine jewellery brand, which included a brilliant array of interestingly gems, including tanzanite, watermelon tourmaline, ametrine, iolite, indicolite and a fiery orange sunstone.

Sunstone from Ntinga

The IJL Catwalk

I made sure to pay a visit to the first catwalk of the day which showcased stunning jewels for women and men from the show’s exhibitors. It was great to see British gemstones as well as British jewellers on display, as one of the models sported CW Sellors’ silver and jet octopus ring and octopus pendant, bracelet and necklace on the catwalk. The huge Whitby Jet jewels on display at CW Sellors’ stand also caught my eye, especially the somewhat spooky spider necklaces!

 Whitby Jet jewellery from CW Sellors

Gem-A's Gem Empathy Award

The first day of IJL also saw the presentation of the Gem Empathy Award, an annual jewellery design competition run by Gem-A and hosted at IJL. Entrants were asked to conjure a design featuring this year’s prize stone, a 12.9 carat precious coral cabochon sourced from Enzo Liverino 1894.

Read more: Breaking Down the Misunderstandings About Precious Coral

The winner of this year’s award was student designer Bingjie Zhao for her magnificent ring design entitled ‘Trawling’. Like the judges I also adored Bingjie’s original and sophisticated design and look forward to seeing her future creations!

Pearls! Pearls! Pearls!

Another of my personal highlights had to be the amazing variety of pearls and pearl jewellery on display. It seemed like there was an ocean of pearls at the show, with wholesale suppliers such as Raw Pearls selling ropes of an amazing variety of pearls, including freshwater, Akoya, and Tahitian, in a sublime array of colours.

The new collection from Ora Pearls

Positioned near the entrance on the ground floor, it was difficult to walk by without stopping to gawp at Yoko London’s divine fine pearl jewellery. At very much the high end of the market, Yoko London’s jewels ooze luxury and many pieces shimmered and sparkled in diamond and white gold settings.

Read more: Saltwater versus Freshwater Pearls

Another fabulous pearl jeweller exhibiting at IJL was Ora Pearls, who was showing a new collection of jewels with a focus on brilliantly large baroque pearls.

New Designers at International Jewellery London

It was very encouraging to see a spotlight on young and emerging jewellery designers at IJL and to see their fresh and unique creations on display. I also really enjoyed getting to speak to these designers and finding out about the inspirations behind their collections. Eloise Kramer told me about her intention to tell a story through jewellery with her nature-inspired pieces, explaining that her colossal resin and copper peach ring should be worn alongside her insect rings to create a scene of creatures swarming around an irresistible fruit.

Eloise Kramer's 'Peach Ring', made from copper and resin, accompanied by one of her 'Insect' rings.

Isla Gilham of Isla Gilham Jewellery was also attracting a lot of attention with her fantastically fun and colourful ‘Jelly Tot Tiara’, which swapped out gemstones for genuine jellies! Another piece which quite literally made me stop in my tracks was a show-stopping necklace from emerging fine jewellery brand Aureliean, which featured a huge sapphire surrounded by diamonds and smaller sapphires and set in 18 carat gold on a double strand of pearls.

 The 'Jelly Tot Tiara' by Isla Gilham Jewellery

Leading Lights Awards & Celebration

As I visited on the first day I was lucky to have been able to attend the drinks reception and Leading Lights Awards, a new addition to IJL for 2019. I found that the awards were a good way to highlight exceptional work from a range of disciplines within the industry – including jewellers, jewellery education providers and bloggers – and to celebrate the achievements of all exhibitors and everyone working behind the scenes to produce such a showcase of international jewellery.

All in all, I had a fantastic experience at International Jewellery London 2019; the variety of interesting jewels on display was a treat for the eyes and I especially loved having the opportunity to speak to designers about their creations and inspirations. I can’t wait to see what next year brings!

Interested in learning more about gemstones? Check out our upcoming workshops.

Are you ready for the Gem-A Conference 2019? Find out more here.

Cover image: Fei Lui Fine Jewellery's 9.35 carat Garnet Ring in rose gold featuring diamonds and rutilated quartz.

Additional Info


Gem-A at Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair 2019

Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair is only a few days away and we are getting excited to meet visitors and colleagues from the jewellery and gemstone industries, and of course be dazzled by the many gemmological marvels that will be on show at this world-class event.

We invite you to join us at Booth 3M204 in the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre from 18-22 September to meet our team, find out about our courses, collect your pre-orders and test your gemmological knowledge with a gem quiz! Although our booth number has changed, we shall be located in the same space as last year (in Hall 3 of the Centre).

We also have an exciting array of additional activities and events planned for our four-day visit to Hong Kong – take a look at our schedule to make sure you don’t miss out!


Wednesday 18 September


Join us at Booth 3M204!

On the much anticipated opening day of the 2019 show we shall be set up at Booth 3M204, ready and eager to meet you and assist with any questions you may have about becoming a Gem-A student or Member. Please note however that we are not able to carry out membership renewals at any point during the show.

The Gem-A booth at Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair 2018. Look out for our legendary front door at this year's show!

You can also test your gemmological knowledge with our ‘Are You a Gem Detective?’ quiz! Drop by the booth and cast your eye over eight different blue stones and try to identify the gems. If you are new to gemmology you can get some help from our gemmology tutors or use the clues provided.

Read more: Understanding the Value of Sapphires

From Wednesday you can also pick up your pre-orders placed with the Gem-A Shop from our booth at any time during exhibiting hours.

Thursday 19 September


Gem-A Meet & Greet

From 11.00am-13.00pm you can meet our CEO, Alan Hart FGA DGA, at the Gem-A Booth and take your photo outside the Gem-A front door!  

Gem-A Gathering

After the show on Thursday 19 September, we shall be holding our third Gem-A Gathering in Hong Kong at the Assaggio Trattoria Italiana in the Hong Kong Arts Centre. Less than a 10-minute walk from the Hong Kong Convention Centre, the Assaggio Trattoria Italiana is a modern Italian restaurant with stunning views over Hong Kong.

We invite you to join us at this relaxed and sociable event, where you will have the opportunity to network and catch up with fellow gemmologists, friends and colleagues from 6.30-8.30pm over drinks and canapés. This is a free event and anyone can attend, but please ensure to register your attendance in advance here.

Friday 20 September


Gem Empathy Award: Special Presentation

We would love you to join us at the Gem-A booth at 3.00pm for a celebration of entries from Asia to the 2019 Gem Empathy Award and a special award presentation to one outstanding jewellery design that particularly impressed our judging panel. You can read more about the 2019 Gem Empathy Award and announcement of the overall winner at International Jewellery London 2019 here.

Saturday 21 September


Meet your local ATC!

On Saturday we will be joined by representatives from two of our Accredited Teaching Centres (ATCs) in Taiwan. If you are interested in studying one of our courses in Taiwan, this is the perfect opportunity to put any questions you may have to our fantastic ATC tutors.

Read more: Five Things to Consider before Starting the Gem-A Gemmology Foundation Course

From 11.00am-12.30pm Mr Wu Chao Ming will be on the stand ready to answer questions, followed by representatives from Taiwan Gemmological Institute from 3.00-4.30pm.

Sunday 22 September

The Last Day!

We shall be back at Booth 3M204 for the final day of the show. Make sure to make the most of your final chance to meet our team, pick up your pre-orders, find out about our courses and discover how you can get involved with Gem-A!

This year’s show looks set to be packed with a host of seminars, talks and exhibits showcasing some of the world’s most incredible gems and fine jewellery. If you haven’t already, visit the Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair website to book your place for this year’s show. We look forward to seeing you there!

Interested in developing you gemmological knowledge? Take a look at our Gemmology Foundation course.

Do you have a passion for diamonds and want to find out more? Check out our free Introduction to Diamonds webinar scheduled for 10 October 2019.


Additional Info


Gem-A Photographer of the Year Competition Now Open for Entries

The Gem-A Photographer of the Year Competition returns for 2020 to discover the very best images which capture facets of the gem world in all its diversity and beauty.

Gem-A is pleased to announce that the Gem-A Photographer of the Year Competition is returning for 2020! We would like to see gripping images which represent the vast breadth and variety of the field of gemmology. If you’ve captured a truly dazzling piece of jewellery, an incredible inclusion or an eye-opening image of gem mining in the field, we want to see it!

This year's competition has three themed categories: Cover Shot, The World of Gems and Photomicrographs and Special Details.

The Categories in Detail

Cover Shot: Entries to this category should be images suitable for a magazine cover; images should be shot in portrait and feature striking subjects. Images representing the vast breadth and variety of the field of gemmology are welcomed.

The World of Gems: We want to see images that illustrate the full spectrum of gemstone culture, including people, places and finished jewellery products. Examples of subject matter may include jewellery making, gem trading, mining, finished jewellery, rough and cut gems and gem artistry. 

Photomicrographs and Special Details: This category is exclusively for photomicrographs and photographs of special gem features, for example, intriguing inclusions and visual phenomena such chatoyancy, fluoresence and colour-change - the list is extensive! 

Why Enter?

+ Win the chance to have your photograph featured in Gems&Jewellery magazine. Winners could be featured on our cover, our Last Impression or our Big Picture feature page

+ You can add the accolade of being named Gem-A’s Photographer of the Year to your portfolio

+ Entry is free and open to all


'Microchip' by Evgenios Petrides, a photomicrograph of an iron oxide inclusion in quartz from Brazil, was named the winner of the Gem-A Photographer of the Year Competition 2019. Image credit: Evgenios Petrides FGA.

The Prize

+ The overall winner will be gifted a £300 voucher to spend at Gem-A Instruments and one year’s free Membership of Gem-A

+ Two runners-up will win a £50 Gem-A Instruments voucher

+ All three winning entries will see their photographs published in Gems&Jewellery magazine

Danny Sanchez's 'Play of Colour in Opal from Jalisco, Mexico' made the final shortlist of Gem-A's 2019 competition. Image credit: Danny J. Sanchez.

Judging Process

+ The Gems&Jewellery editorial team will shortlist nine entries (three from each category) which will be uploaded to the Gem-A Facebook page where the public can vote for their top five.

+ A guest judge will then choose a winner and two runners-up from the final five photographs.

How to Enter

Email your entry to The Competition is open now and will be accepting entries until 30 September 2020. The winner will be announced on Gem-A’s Facebook page shortly after the Competition has closed.

Wim Vertriest's 'A Hard Day's Work' was a shortlisted entry in last year's competition. Image credit: Wim Vertriest FGA GG.

Competition Rules

+ A maximum of three photographs may be entered per person and each photograph must fit into at least one of the three listed categories

+ Entries must be accompanied by your name and post-nominals (if applicable)

+ Images must be captioned with a title and a description of no more than 150 words telling the story behind the photograph

+ All photographs entered into the Competition must have been taken within the last 18 months

+ The image must be your own work and not belonging to a third party

+ Photographs must be high resolution, with a minimum of 300dpi and ideally a minimum of 1mb in size

+ Please send files larger than 10mb via or (these are free to use media transfer services)

+ By entering the Competition you accept that your image may be used in Gems&Jewellery magazine, on the Gem-A Blog and on Gem-A’s social media channels. You will always be credited as the creator of the work

For more information on the Competition rules, terms and conditions click here. If you have any further questions you can email

We can't wait to see your entries - good luck!

Cover image: 'Floating Mushroom' by Billie Hughes FGA was a runner-up in last year's Gem-A Photographer of the Year Competition. The photomicrograph shows a mushroom-shaped cristobalite inclusion in amethyst. Image credit: Billie Hughes FGA.

Additional Info

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