Please stop by and introduce yourselves! Let us know your name and where you're based (town and country - no actual addresses please). Why not tell us how you got into gemmology, if you're currently involved in the trade, what you love most about gems, or maybe just tell us your favourite gemstone!
I'll kick things off...
My name is Georgina Brown. Based at Gem-A's London office, I work on Gems&Jewellery magazine, as well as designing printed material for Gem-A. My favourite gemstone is opal - I am fascinated by the colours and its formation
Thanks George! I love opal - Andrew Cody gave an excellent presentation at the Gem-A Conference last year that covered lots of interesting information on the formation of opal and locality, he even managed to get mars and a chicken in there.....
My favourite stone has to be labradorite, the colours are incredible. I found a wonderful piece earlier this year in Tucson which I wear as a necklace but I also like to collect some larger rocks - I love the way they look in the sunlight. Unfortunately there just isn't enough sun in London so I think I might have to relocate to Tucson
Hi All, it is nice to see the website and particularly the forum up and running. I got interested in gemology during summer work at a gem mine while working on my undergrad in geology. My favorite stones in general are sapphire and opal, but I often have a hard time choosing a favorite between the two. My particular area of interest is microscopy of gem materials. you can see some of my work published in several gemology journals.
You can see my microscopy work on Instagram @microworldofgems
My name is Guy Borenstein, and I am located in Israel.
In my daily job, I am working as a VP Gemological Services for the digital gem color analysis company Gemewizard, specializing in gem color grading and evaluating.
In addition, I am working as a Chief Gemologist at the European Gemological Center (EGC) laboratory in Israel, directing the colored stones, colored diamonds and advanced instruments departments (FTIR, UV-Vis, Raman, Photoluminescence).
I am an addicted gem collector and this is how I got into this profession. Favorite gem? It changes all the time...
Hi my name is Marianne Pughe (pronounced 'Pew"...my husband is Welsh!)
We have had a small jewellery shop in Corbridge, Northumberland for the past 18 years and I have always tried to be knowledgable and up to date with the gemstones I sell. I love going to the Tucson gem shows to bring unusual treasures back to set into jewellery. Current favourites are brown diamonds, particularly with great clarity and make in fancy shapes, Malaya garnet, Russian demantoid, blue-green Zambian emerald and indicolite tourmaline but the list goes on and on. I'm interested in the ethical practices of the gem trade and I want to know all about the latest treatments and synthetics, (especially the sneaky undisclosed ones). I'm hoping that I can use this forum to discuss ideas, report and hear feedback of good and bad commercial practices. I've got lots of questions...is there anybody out there??
Well, there's me - although I now pop in less frequently than I used to as there are so few posts here. Anyway, welcome Marianne!
I live at the opposite end of the country to you, fairly close to the historic city of Winchester. I've been retired for some nine years now and fill many hours on most days with gemmological studies, reading and testing or examinations of one sort or another. It's the scientific aspects of gemmology that attract me the most. I try not to waste time reading pieces that that tell me what the birthstones are and which gems will bring me health, good fortune etc., all of which seem quite unethical to me (but I'm willing to listen to those who think otherwise) Conversely, time spent re-examining my still slowly growing collection of cut stones, geologically formed crystals (some synthetics too) and other interesting specimens never bores me or seems to be time wasted.
With this forum so quiet, I spend most of my 'forum hours' on the Mindat site. I find that some grasp of geology and mineralogy adds a helpful perspective to many gemmological considerations and it seems no wonder at all that so many leading gemmologists firstly qualified as mineralogists. After all, 'gemmology' is not yet 100 years established as a distinct field of study . Before its advent, there were mineralogy and the other earth sciences only. But that to one side, it would be truly great to to find others here who enjoy chatting about any of the very varied aspects of gemology, If you want to start the occasional thread, you can be sure of at least one correspondent!
Sorry for taking so long to get back with my burning topic! I had a few technical errors in getting back onto this forum, all of my own making, but by the time I'd re-set my password and username numerous times, the wind had gone out of my sails! My interest surrounds the topic of glass filled ruby, bear with me and I'll give background as I go.
I have read in lots of recent gem press that glass filled rubies are becoming more common, in my shop we make jewellery to order, some expensive and some not and we also buy jewellery from other designer makers, I try to stock a good range. I have bought some beautiful expensive pieces of loose faceted ruby from trusted gem dealers at the (trade only) Tucson gem fair and from dealers in the UK that I have dealt with for many years and have always felt confident. Last year I was looking around the Designer Collections at IJL International Jewellery London, which I have exhibited at many years ago as a designer maker, and in more recent years as a buyer, for additional stock to compliment what we make ourselves in our own workshop. I saw some interesting gem-stone jewellery within the Designer Collections area, set in 18ct gold with coloured rose cut stones, these are very fashionable at the moment, the London based Indian designer seemed knowledgable and the prices were good so I bought a few pieces, which were later sent to my workshop after I had paid the pro-former as per norm. On reflection the stones labeled as ruby seemed overly pink to me and I decided that I would label them as pink-sapphire as to me it would be unfair and a little mis-leading to sell them to a customer as ruby, although anyone in buying jewellery will know that this border between the two is very 'flexible' to some people. At this point I took up my loupe and studied the stones a little more carefully and discovered that they were full of swirls and bubbles. I looked closely at the emerald and sapphire pieces which were crazed and crackled all over the facet surfaces. I phoned the designer to discuss this, me stating that it is a clear industry rule that treatments such as glass filling of ruby must be declared. I expected the usual 'so sorry, this was overlooked' etc, but the response was along the lines of, "my glass filled ruby is natural, its the good stuff, I have it specially certificated" at this point he emailed me a certificate to prove how 'legit' it was. I was pretty horrified and returned the goods, I didn't even get round to discussing the dyed stones, but I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg, is anyone checking the quality or providence of the gemstones which are being sold through our own UK trade jewellery fairs? Who is in charge, or does nobody care any more? I've also been sold green garnet and pink tourmaline which are clearly synthetic and undisclosed and 'heated opal' whatever that is, by a very well known 'brand'. I would love to know other peoples thoughts on this subject, and if I'm the unreasonable one in thinking that its not ok?
Oh my! I think you have a start point for at least three separate threads there
As I understand it, buyers of gems and jewellery are as entitled to fair and proper descriptions of what what they are offered for sale as are the buyers of all other goods offered for sale to the general public. For the last ten years, the Act governing this is the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 Act that is fully compliant with the EU Directive of similar name. Has any UK trader in gems/jewellery been prosecuted under this legislation? Not as far as I know (and it should cause quite a stir in the gem world as and when it does). In England and Wales, policing this is the responsibility of county councils or the equivalent. Have a word with yours and see what they say?
As regards the authority to say what is what, CIBJO is the world-wide authority, publishes a comprehensive listing of gemstones in all their varieties , You can download a copy of this from the main Gem-A website. The correct (and only proper) description for glass-filled rub/emerald etc. is 'composite stone' . I believe that there is US precedent in finding it unlawful to sell composite stone as ruby but, as said, I don't know of any Engllsh precedent. Maybe you can with your local authority bring a test case and do us all a service?
All that said, reading and re-reading your post, - and being of an argumentative disposition - I can't find in your words anything that convinces me of glass filling or of dyeing. Do you take any photos? What tests did you carry out? SG? RIs? Other? However, your general point (that the market is flooded with glass/ruby composite material is certainly true. Personally, though I find this sad I think it's inevitable in a world where so many think that they can expect to wear ruby but pay only schmuckerei price. Friends bought me a piece of glass ruby composite as a reference stone for my collection a few years back. As Tuscon the price for that was about USD 15 per ct.
Synthetics is a whole new conversation. Perhaps we might return to it when you are first satisfied about the other matters. For now, may I conclude by saying that I envy you your younger woman's eyes. Being old, male and and still studying gems is a weak combination.