CIGem News Summer 2012

ISSN 0846-3611 GEMMOLOGY CANADA – Wolf Kuehn, F.G.G., F.G.A., Editor

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From the Editor

After a quiet summer season we are getting ready for a busy fall semester. If you live in the Vancouver area please drop by at our Info Session on August 31. I am also teaching a new course “Discovering Gems and Jewellery” as part of UBC’s (University of British Columbia) Cultural Enrichment program at Robson Square in Vancouver, B.C.; there is a section in English and in Mandarin interpreted (study materials in Chinese).

Mark your calendar for the GIT 2012 conference in Bangkok, Thailand (December 12 – 13); I will be attending and have submitted an abstract about “Raman Spectroscopy – a powerful tool in gemstone identification”. More info to follow in the next GL Newsletter September 2012.

Vancouver Info Session August 31, 2012

We have scheduled the annual info meeting for Friday, August 31 from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m in Room C-010 at UBC Robson Square, 800 Robson Street, Vancouver.

The Translink web site allows you to plan your trip via transit to UBC from any Lower Mainland location.

To access the Robson Square’s underground parking travel to the corner of Howe Street and Nelson Street (Howe Street is a one-way street). Once you have entered the parking lot follow the directional signs to UBC Robson Square parking area.

Prospective C.I.G. students can pre-register in person for local C.I.G. courses and pick-up study materials and text books if already registered. Please consult the 2012 schedule for Vancouver classes.

During the info session we will demonstrate the GL Gem Raman and the GL Gem Spectrometer; visitors are welcome to bring interesting samples – in particular jadeite pieces as we are conducting a study for proper identifcation and treatment detection. Please contact us at (604) 530-8569 for further information.

 

Discovering Gems and Jewellery – an Introduction

ubc

UBC Continuing Studies at Robson Square in Vancouver, B.C. is offering as part of their CULTURAL ENRICHMENT program:

WD508F12A Sat, Sep 22-Oct 27, 12:30-2:30pm; UBC Robson Square. $360+tax

WD508F12B Sat, Sep 22-Oct 27, 3-5pm; UBC Robson Square. $380+tax (Interpreted in Mandarin)

Gemstones have intrigued us throughout history and are reputed as symbols of wealth, power, healing and love. In this course, students explore the unique properties of gemstones that affect their value and study the locations where they are found.

Participants will board a virtual tour of splendid gem collections found in museums around the world and discover the challenges in differentiating between natural and man-made gem materials. In addition, advice will be given for purchasing jewellery at various venues such as at auction.

Instructor: J. Wolf Kuehn, B.A., M.A., Dipl.oec., F.G.A., F.G.G.

 

GL Gem Spectrometer Anniversary Sale

Join the growing number of GL Gem Spectrometer users around the world. For a limited time save $ 100 during our Second Anniversary Sale (until August 31, 2012). Click here for more information.

Click here to order the GL Gem Spectrometer

Click here to register in the next GL Gem Spec Workshop

The GL Professional Refractometer (on-line price $ 369.95) is in stock again.

Omphacite and Jadeite

In the GIA Lab Updates of the G&G eBrief (April 10,2012) “a green cabochon in a piece of jewelry was submitted to the Carlsbad laboratory in early 2012. Although standard gemological properties indicated jadeite (1.66 RI, chrome lines, and a 437 nm line in the desk-model spectroscope), its identity was questioned by a staff gemologist because the texture was slightly more granular than normal. Surprisingly, its Raman spectrum provided a very good match for omphacite, using reference spectra from the RRUFF database. The identity of each RRUFF specimen has been confirmed by X-ray diffraction analysis.”

We have tested all the “jadeite” specimen in the C.I.G. gem study collection but so far not encountered omphacite. There are 2 Raman spectra for omphacite provided in the GLGemRaman database; users should not have any difficulty in separating jadeite from omphacite. An update is available in the GLGemRaman Support section.

“GIA’s laboratory reports will now call such stones omphacite jade. In doing so, we are expanding the term jade to encompass more minerals than just jadeite and nephrite, including those stones that test gemologically as jadeite but are actually omphacite”.

GLGemRaman Software Update 1.4

All GL Gem Raman users should have received version 1.4 of the GLGemRaman software; it has an automatic calibration feature built into the software using a calibration sample. This should be done from time to time to get best matches with the RRUFF databse.

In case the unit has been exposed to severe physical/thermal shock a more comprehensive optimization procedure should be conducted by an experienced technician. We have presently support personnel in Canada, USA and Germany (for European clients).

Please contact us for more information at (604) 530-8569.

The GL Gem Raman is available now

 

I have been using the GL Gem Raman for the last 6 months checking stones in the C.I.G. gem study collection; the instrument is an enormous time saving device as it eliminates the use of all other gem testing instruments in many cases. It takes me less than one minute to identify a gemstone (even if set in a piece of jewellery) as to what it is. Of course the microscope is still absolutely necessary for final identification if the stone could be man-made. For highly fluorescent materials (Raman signals are weak and can be “overwhelmed” by fluorescence) the intensity of the laser has to manipulated to get acceptable results; or as an alternative the GL Gem Spectrometer can help.

In general all advanced gem testing instruments have advantages and disadavantages but in a busy lab situation a Raman is an extremely valuable tool and can pay for itself quickly.

GIT Conference in Bangkok

The Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand proudly announces the 3rd International Gem and Jewelry Conference or GIT 2012, the third of its kind after the successful predecessors’ GIT 2006 and GIT 2008.

It is another GIT’s landmark technical event to be held from December 12-13, 2012 in Bangkok, and followed by a post-conference excursion option to visit Chanthaburi, and Pailin of Cambodia during December 14-16, 2012.

GEM 250 GEM IDENTIFICATION II (Advanced)

  • Course GEM 250-2 Sat – Tue, Nov. 17 – 20, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.(limited space please pre-register)
  • Location: Richmond, B.C. Airport Hotel
  • Prerequisite: “Gemmologist” certificate or similar gemmological qualification.
  • Fee: $ 995 includes comprehensive study guide, Gemstone Inclusion Library, use of lab equipment and study stones.

In this course students will learn state-of-the-art techniques including immersionscope, konoscope, advanced spectroscopy, etc. designed to identify confidently any gemstone encountered in the industry. Between 100 and 120 challenging gems including the most recent synthetic and imitation gem materials are available for testing.

Here a brief list of man-made gems in our study collection: Chatham, Kashan, Ramaura, Knischka, Lechleitner, Regency, Biron, Lenix, Gilson, Tairus rubies, sapphires, emeralds, alexandrite, opal and many others. Gem enhancement techniques such as heat-alteration, surface colour diffusion, irradiation and glass filling are studied.

Hands-on exercises with our portable  GL Gem Spectrometer and GL Gem Raman system. Practicing gemmologists may use this lab class to up-grade their skills.

To Register, please call: 604-530-8569

GEM 370 GL Gem Raman Workshop

This course is for current or future users of the GL Gem Raman system.

  • Using PowerPoint presentations the development and use of Raman spectrometers is introduced.
  • Learning step-by-step testing method with GLGemRaman software and searchable database; procedure of proper calibration with Laser Glasses (190-548nm);
  • Practical testing of a number of interesting gem materials by the participants under supervision of the workshop facilitator.

GEM 370-3 Thu, Nov 15 from 6:30 – 9 p.m. (2 1/2 hours)

Location: Vancouver Airport Hotel TBA, Richmond B.C., Canada

Fee: $ 295 (limited to 5 participants). To register on-line go here.

We reserve the right to cancel courses if there is insufficient enrolment; upon return of all course materials students will receive a full refund for the tuition paid but no other compensation can be offered.

Please wait with travel arrangements until final confirmation.

For more info about the C.I.G. Professional Development Program (AG-PDP) go to Advanced (GEM 200-level) Courses or download brochure (PDF).

If you have a cellphone scan the QR code and you will be taken directly to the website of the Canadian Institute of Gemmolgy.

Save the bookmark!

GL Newsletter June 2012

From the Editor

I attended a very informative Geo-Raman conference in Nancy, France and learnt about the most advanced research from many young and aspiring scientists. We are looking forward to attending the XIth meeting which will be held in St. Louis, MO, USA in 2014.

We are now preparing for the GIT 2012 conference in Bangkok, Thailand (December 12 – 13) with a paper on the use of the GL Gem Raman in gemstone identification.

On a negative note – on several occasions I have been contacted by a group “of respected gemologists and dealers ….. ” with malicious and damaging allegations. In general I do not react to this type of  “anonymous crap” supposedly representing this industry.

I wish everyone a pleasant summer (or winter if you live in the wrong place!).

Brief Report from the Geo-Raman Xth Meeting

The Geo-Raman Xth Meeting was held in Nancy from June 11-13; over 50 presentations and close to 100 poster sessions were attended by more than 130 participants from around the world. The conference covered Raman spectroscopy applied to Earth Sciences and demonstrated the rapid developement of this technology in numerous applications; see program (PDF).

From 3D Raman units with imaging systems costing $100k+ to proposals of UV gated Raman spectrometers  reducing luminescense by a factor of 100 (which caught many participants by surprise). The instrument shows the typical Raman diamond feature only for type IIa; it would be a valuable instrument for CVD detection. However, the parts needed to be UV capable and a 244nm pulsed laser still costs $ 20,000.

Another interesting study about mesocrystal poymorphism in nacre demonstrated the potential of Raman spectroscopy; see preparatory studies “Nano-Composite Structure of Nacre Biocrystal” (PDF) and “Voronoi Growth Model of Sheet Nacre ” (PDF). The authors believe that AFM and Raman spectroscopy is ideally suited for studying mesocrystals and their polymorphic growth.

Raman spectroscopy can be used for provenance studies of heavy-minerals. The study has been extended to Feldspars and may expand Joel Arem´s observations on plagioclase feldspars (PDF). We will make the poster containing numerous Raman graphs of Labradorite found in the Himalaya–Tibet orogenic belt available in the next GL Newsletter.

Very interesting research is being conducted by the German Research Centre using a hydrothermal diamond-anvil cell resulting in growth of jadeite, albite, paragonite in an assemblage silicate glass and aqueous fluid heated to 600 degree Celsius.

Gemlab Research & Technology submitted an abstract and a poster “The GL Gem Raman- a powerful tool in gem and mineral identification” (950KB,PDF). The unit was demonstrated to interested parties and well received.

A selection of papers presented at the GeoRamanX Conference will be published as a thematic issue of the European Journal of Mineralogy (EJM). In the meantime several gemmology related studies were presented during the 6th International Congress on the Application of Raman Spectroscopy in Art and Archaeology (RAA 2011) in Parma, Italy; download the Abstracts (PDF) here.

Raman spectroscopy is an ideal technology for gems and mineral identification. The GL Gem Raman quickly can tell the difference between diamond, cubic zirconia, glass and zircon, distinguish jadeite from nephrite, separate real from faux pearls, tell whether it is ivory or plastic; it works great on beads, carvings and gem materials set in jewellery. For more info go to the product page.

Update for GL Gem Raman Software

Version 1.3 of the GLGemRaman software has now a base-line correction feature. Based on a similar algorithm as used in the CrystalSleuth software the raw GLGemRaman spectrum can be “forced down” making it easier to compare with reference spectra in the data-base; the corrected Raman spectrum will be saved both as a complete .fak file and can be directly imported into Spekwin32 for further editing and as a .rruff file for quick search in the RRUFF database.

GL Professional Refractometer available again soon

Our new professional refractometer sold out quickly. We will have new supply by mid-July.From GL Newsletter April 2012: Very impressive is the performance of the new and redesigned GL Professional Refractometer (on-line price $ 369.95); it comes in a white plastic casing and was actually properly calibrated.

The refractometer has a high hardness CZ (cubic zirconia) hemicylinder and a built in LED-based yellow light source that is powered by either two AA batteries or a small 110-240V power supply with 3VDC output.

Anonymous “Andesine Perpetrators” resort to cyber-bullying

Since the conclusion of the “Art Garabedian/DSN vc Robert James Andesine case ” (Court document, PDF) I have been approached several times by an anonymous group “of respected gemologists and dealers on three continents dedicated to gemological integrity and full disclosure of all treatments” with malicious allegations about our school, our products and questioning my personal integrity. I believe I know who these people are and I think it is time to distance one-self from these unprofessional members of the gemmological community. I also reserve the right to take legal steps to stop this personal bullying and libel.

As a member of the World Gem Society I agree fully with the response of Robert James (can be read here); also his article on Wikipedia & Internet Cyber Bullies (PDF).

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© 2012 Gemlab Research & Technology, Vancouver, Canada

GL Newsletter May 2012

From the Editor

In a few days I will be leaving for Europe to first attend the Geo-Raman in Nancy, France; as a consequence we will have limited office hours during the month of June but we can be reached by e-mail.

We submitted a poster (950KB, PDF) “The GL Gem Raman – a powerful tool in gem and mineral identification” and will demonstrate the Raman unit during the conference. For more information visit the Geo-Raman Xth Meeting website.

Treated fresh water pearls

The GL Gem Raman can be used to detect colour treatment of freshwater cultured pearls. Based on recent research all natural colour pearls show the two mayor Raman resonance features of polyacetylenic pigments assigned to C=C stretching at about 1530cm-1 and C-C stretching at about 1130 cm-1.

We have tested a number of strands in the C.I.G. study collection and can confirm this observation. However, the Raman features may show up in colour treated pearls if the pigments were present before treatment. Further studies will be necessary to cover those possibilities.

The GL Gem Raman is ideal for testing of pearls, jade, turquoise, lapis lazuli and many other gems and minerals.

Reference: Karampelas S., Fritsch E., Sklavounos S., Soldatos T (2007) Identification of treated-color freshwater cultured pearls, Bulletin of the Geological Society of Greece vol. XXXX, 2007, pp. 794-804

GL Gem Raman Version 1.1

We have made a slight change to the way the GL Gem Raman program saves a spectrum; version 1.1. saves now the full range from 200 – 2,500 cm-1 as a [nameR].fak file (similar to the GL Gem Spectrometer). As shown in the spectral graph it is very easy to import the raw Raman spectrum into Spekwin32 for further processing and editing.

At the same time GLGemRaman saves the spectrum as a [nameR].rruff file in the range from 200 – 1,500 cm-1 as this is the most common range found in the RRUFF databases. Just clicking on the file will open the CrystalSleuth program and depending on the speed of your computer you will receive a match within less than 10 seconds.

The GL Gem Raman spectra for a diamond and cubic zirconia samples were saved as a .fak file, imported into Spekwin32 and normalized. The Raman peaks are very distinct and allow immediate separation as the GLGemRaman program displays real-time data acquisition.

Spekwin32 is a free optical spectroscopy software (Version 1.71.6) which has been modified by its author Dr. F. Menges. for use with our spectrometers.

 

Introductory price for GL Gem Raman ends

Unfortunately prices for several of the high quality optical parts for the Raman unit have gone up in the last couple of weeks. We strive to purchase the best components at the most economical prices but have no other choice than to increase the price for the GL Gem Raman as of June 1, 2012 (2 units are left for immediate shipment; delivery time if ordered by May 31 is approximately 4 weeks).

The GL Gem Raman could quickly pay by itself in time saved when facing difficult gem and mineral identification and by avoiding mistakes in buying and appraising gems and jewellery; go to the Gemlab on-line store or download the GL Gem Raman info sheet (PDF).

For more information go to GL Gem Raman.

Undisclosed synthetic diamonds

In a recent JCK article about “Undisclosed Synthetic Diamonds Appearing on Market” questions about detection methods were asked. CVD diamonds are type IIa and transmit UV light; one has to determine whether the diamond in question is opaque to UV or transparent to UV. Type Ia and Ib diamonds are by far the most common natural diamonds and do not transmit UV.

Though we have not received a CVD diamond in our lab as yet we have used the SSEF Diamond Spotter for detection of HPHT treated diamonds in the past; watch an on-line slide show about its use (it was made available to us by the SSEF in 2003) or download a promotional presentation (PDF). In addition to the typical columnar strain/growth seen through the microscope (using crossed polarizers) the GL Gem Raman should also be useful.

In a new book “Infrared and Raman Spectroscopy in Forensic Science” (Google Books, Feb. 2012) the following observation was made: Brown type IIa diamonds have been found to exhibit a very weak one-phonon infrared absorption that begins near the Raman energy at 1332cm-1, and increases, with decreasing wavenumber, to a maximum at 1016cm-1 with a shoulder on the high-wavenumber side at about 1050cm-1. A colourless type IIa specimen showed an even weaker absorption beginning again near 1332cm-1 and increasing to show two maxima near 1100cm-1 and 1000cm-1. These specimen also showed birefringence patterns between crossed polars that are indicative of plastic deformation. It is suggested that the infrared absorptions are caused by dislocations.

As soon as we can test CVD diamonds with the GL Gem Raman we will report about the results.

In this context read this interesting article “The Mystery of two Gemesis Companies under one hat”.

Andesine Update

In the never ending story of the Andesine scam sometimes the truth prevails ….. read “Art Garabedian/DSN lose Andesine case (Court document, PDF)”.

Pre-announcement for Vancouver, B.C.

The University of British Columbia Continuing Studies at Robson Square is offering as part of their CULTURAL ENRICHMENT program:

Discovering Gems and Jewellery – an Introduction

Gemstones have intrigued us throughout history and are reputed as symbols of wealth, power, healing and love. In this course, students explore the unique properties of gemstones that affect their value and study the locations where they are found. Participants will board a virtual tour of splendid gem collections found in museums around the world and discover the challenges in differentiating between natural and man-made gem materials. In addition, advice will be given for purchasing jewellery at various venues such as at auction.

Instructor: J. Wolf Kuehn, B.A., M.A., Dipl.oec., F.G.A., F.G.G.

WD508F12A Sat, Sep 22-Oct 27, 12:30-2:30pm; UBC Robson Square. $360+tax

WD508F12B Sat, Sep 22-Oct 27, 3-5pm; UBC Robson Square. $380+tax (Interpreted in Mandarin)

To register contact UBC Continuing Studies.

_________________________

© 2012 Gemlab Research & Technology, Vancouver, Canada

GL Newsletter April 2012

From the Editor

We had many (and several American friends from WA state) visiting our booth at the BC Gem & Mineral Show last week-end. Every day the GL Gem Raman attracted mineral collectors who tested their samples and made suggestions about how the Raman could be modified for their particular applications (at additional cost); we will be looking into it as some of the features might be of interest to gemmologists as well.

We have started preparing for the Geo-Raman in Nancy, France (June 11-13); I am looking forward to meeting several colleagues and demonstrating the GL Gem Raman . We also added two new refractometers to our gem testing tools in the online store.

New Refractometers

The new compact and fairly accurate GL Gem Refractometer (on-line price $ 129.95) is a good choice for the beginner gemmologist and non-professional user. Like all basic Chinese refractometers the units had to be manually recalibrated against our R.I. 1.4703 reference stone.

Very impressive is the performance of the new and redesigned GL Professional Refractometer (on-line price $ 349.95); it comes in a white plastic casing and was actually properly calibrated.

The refractometer has a high hardness CZ (cubic zirconia) hemicylinder and a built in LED-based yellow light source that is powered by either two AA batteries or a small 110-240V power supply with 3VDC output.

The scale is very easy to read and the shadow lines are very sharp; the refractometer is more accurate than the Japanese built Kyowas we purchased for the C.I.G. classes some 20 years ago for $ 650 each.

This new professional refractometer has the best performance for its price and is highly recommended.

GL Gem Raman Upgraded

Before delivering the first production units of the GL Gem Raman we were able to change slightly the design of the optical path and replace one lens. As a consequence the Raman signal has improved by 20 – 30% eliminating the second step required for readjusting exposure before subtracting the background.

After focusing the Raman beam the default exposure is now sufficient to get an excellent Raman spectrum off most surfaces. In this sense the Raman is easier to operate than the GL Gem Spectrometer and faster to obtain results. Watch “How to obtain a spectrum with the GL Gem Raman” – (video, no sound – window will pop up) of green untreated jadeite.

All Ramans delivered have already the modified design and the units are slightly smaller and lighter than the proto-type. For up-to-date information go to our special page for the GL Gem Raman.

GLGemSpec News

We have updated the on-line version of “How to Get Started” instructions (for registered GLGemSpec users; can be translated). For additional spectral information we recommend the Edward J. Gübelin Collection which contains unpolarized spectra of a wide variety of gemstones in the 350-750 nm range.

For testing opaque materials or gemstones with little or no light transmission such as diamonds an additional light source (fiber optics halogen light or Xenon flash-light) should be used.

We now carry a good quality portable Xenon flashlight in the on-line store.

We compared the radiation spectrum of the built-in GL Halogen 10W Gem Holder and the Xenon flashlight. To reduce noise in the near UV region we are running the 10W/12V halogen bulb hotter at 15Volts.

The Xenon light can be used with the GL Gem Holder or unmounted as an excternal light source.

The Xenon light ( 7.4V 15W bulb) comes with 2x CR123A Lithium 3V batteries; however, we recommend to use rechargeable batteries of type 16340. These batteries are rated 4.2V at full charge each and will produce an illuminance of 154.00 lux overall with an output of 214.06 lumens (according to the manufacturer) which is quite impressive.

Searchable Database for the GL Gem Spectrometer

We have been looking for a spectral recognition software/database program for some time; unfortunately commercial programs cost from $ 1,000 – 2000 exceeding the cost of the spectrometer. Analysis of transmission spectra is complex as it is much dependent on optical path which will affect the appearance of the spectrum.

Search

Thermo Scientific provides a Spectra ONLINE service which can be used with GLGemSpec files. We have tried it and it may be useful for the identification of certain samples.

First the GLGemSpec file *.fak has to be imported into Spekwin 32 and saved as a *.spc (THERMO Galactic GRAMS) file. If your spectrum has not been normalized in the GLGemSpec program it can be done here before saving.

On the on-line data entry browse to your saved *.spc file and submit it. A new window appears: under “Technique” select UV-VIS Spectrum, under “YUnit” Absorbance or Transmission, leave the “Algorithm” in the default option with “Auto-Baseline” ON. Then click “Search”.

The results show references with similar spectra and their chemical composition.

Geo-Raman Xthmeeting, Nancy (France) from June 11 – 13, 2012

“Geo-Raman meetings started in Paris in 1986 followed by Toulouse (1989) and Nantes (1996). The meeting moved out of France for the first time in 1999 (Valladolid-Spain) and continued a wide international journey, Prague 2002, Hawaii 2004, Granada 2006, Gent 2008 and Sydney 2010. They are focused on the application of Raman Spectroscopy to Earth Sciences from the surface to the deep mantle and to earth materials used in cultural heritage. Such meetings are typically interdisciplinary and allow Earth scientists and Raman spectroscopists to present their latest results obtained in these disciplines and discuss transversally. Raman instrumentation and in situ experimentation are also a part of such meetings since this optical spectroscopy in a huge variety of environment including the exploration of planet of the solar system”. For more information visit the website.

We submitted an abstract (320KB, PDF) and a poster (950KB, PDF) “The GL Gem Raman – a poweful tool in gem and mineral identification”  and will demonstrate the GL Gem Raman during the conference. Please contact me if you are interested in attending.

New Studies on Tibetian Andesine

In the never ending story of Andesine several articles have been published recently which are of interest:.

Joel Arem’s (PhD, F.G.A.) article Observations on the Occurrence of Plagioclase Feldspars (PDF) was also published in the ICA’s (International Colored Gemstones Association) magazine InColor – Winter ’11 (Electronic version)

________________________________________________________

Wolf Kuehn, B.A., M.A., Dipl.oec, F.G.A., F.G.G. – GLR&T Project Manager

CIGem News Spring 2012

ISSN 0846-3611 GEMMOLOGY CANADA – Wolf Kuehn, F.G.G., F.G.A., Editor

From the Editor:

Since my return from a very successful AGTA GemFair in Tucson, Arizona we have been busy shipping orders and answering questions about our courses and products. I am happy to report that the work for the GL Gem Raman has now been completed and the first units are ready for shipment.

The Canadian Institute of Gemmology will be exhibiting at the upcoming BC Gem and Mineral show (see below). At the C.I.G. booth the GL Gem Spectrometer and the GL Gem Raman will be demonstrated to both dealers and visitors; we also have new books on display and specials on gem testing equipment are available. Please drop by if you are in the area.

I will be travelling to Europe to attend the Geo-Raman in Nancy, France (June 11-13). Before and after I am available for any meetings, demos or talks to groups interested in our line of spectrometers and any training sessions; please contact me.

We have started revamping our website. The interface is being upgraded using the Genesis Framework which will give us the flexibility and power to develop a modern and secure web environment.

BC Gem & Mineral Show – April 13, 14 & 15

Ag-Rec Building, Central Fraser Valley Fairgrounds, 32470 – Haida Drive, Abbotsford, British Columbia

  • Friday: 10:00am – 8:00pm
  • Saturday: 10:00am – 6:00pm
  • Sunday: 10:00am – 5:00pm

Admission: Adults – $6.00, Students (6 – 17) – $2.00, Under 6 (accompanied by an adult) – Free

Learn about mining from Britannia Mine Museum and Sego Resources, see the beauty created by Clayburn Copperworks, Beads, Crystals, Minerals, Gifts & supplies for the lapidary hobby. Many Club Displays, Demonstrations, Grab Bags, Children’s Creative Workshop, Gold Panning & Door Prizes.

C.I.G. Advisory Board Member Charles Lewton-Brain Receives Award

(Heath McCoy, from – The Calgary Herald – 28 Feb. 2012)

A Calgary goldsmith, artist and educator, renowned internationally for his innovative work in the world of jewellery, will be presented with a 2012 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts at the end of March. Charles Lewton-Brain, 55, longtime teacher in th jewellery and metals program at the Alberta College of Art& Design (ACAD) will receive the Saidye Brongman Award at the official awards ceremony on March 28 at Ottawa’s Rideau Hall. Along with a special issue medallion by the Royal Canadian Mint, Lewton-Brain and his fellow recipients will be awarded with $25,000.

The London, England born goldsmith has dedicated his life to the art of jewellery since being introduced to the craft as a teenager while in the American southwest. It was a girlfriend’s mother, a dealer of Native American jewellery, who got him hooked, he says, when she taught him how to grind turquoise by hand “the old fashioned way, using a grindstone.”

Studying jewellery and metals at the Nova Scotia College of Art Design and then traveling around the world to learn from some of the top goldsmiths on the planet, Lewton-Brain arrived in Calgary in 1986 to begin his illustrious career at ACAD. He first found himself in the international spotlight in the late ‘80s for inventing a technique called foldforming, which uses simple hand tools to rapidly shape sheet metal. Lewton-Brain has also made a substantial impact as an educator. In addition to his work at ACAD he started his own publishing company, Brain Press, through which he’s published “eight books and about 25 papers,” he says. He also co-founded Ganoskin.com, the world’s largest free online resource for jewellers.

Emerald, Sapphire, Diamond Coated CZ

At the booth of Anupam Gems located in the GJX tent during the Tucson gem shows we were introduced to several new “man-made” gemstones (see advertisement).

We purchased a very nice looking .80 ct emerald, a 2.58 ct deep blue sapphire and a .10 ct sparkling diamond simulant.

The emerald was disclosed as “recrystallized” in a proprietary process, the sapphire as “diffusion treated” and the “Diamondspark” as a diamond coated cubic zirconia (“Diamond Nano Coated CZ from Japan”). We tested the samples with regular gem testing tools, the GL Gem Spectrometer and the GL Gem Raman.

The emerald was showing a similar spectrum as the Lechleitner type I and II synth. emerald samples we have in the C.I.G. study collection. However, the stone was almost flawless under 40x magnification.

The seller could not explain the manufacturing process but we believe it to be hydro-thermal; similar stones can be had from Russian sources for around $ 50/ct; I think we paid a bit too much for the stone but it has a very attractive Muzo colour.

Under the microscope the “Diamondspark” looked very much like diamond but tested CZ with a diamond tester.

With the GL Gem Raman we obtained the typical spectrum for cubic zirconia.

The very nice looking 2.58 ct blue sapphire was disclosed as diffusion treated.

At their website, however, listed are re-crystallized sapphires “Made from 100 % natural stone in Japan using nano tech”.

Under the microscope and in immersion we could not find any typical pattern pointing to surface diffusion treatment. The stone was flawless under 40x magnification; if the sapphire had been re-crystallized one would expect some occurrence of “melting” features or gas bubbles which are difficult to keep out.

While untreated sapphires rarely exhibit fluorescence, stones exposed to high-temperature heat treatment and synthetic (flame fusion) sapphires do; read the article “Heat Seeker” by R W Hughes/J L Emmett. Our sapphire became fluorescent when irradiated by the laser beam in the Raman unit.

GIT reported an “Update on Titanium diffused Sapphire” in 2010 where colour patching was more difficult to detect.

Using the GL Gem Spectrometer we obtained similar absorption curves on record for natural (untreated, unheated) Ceylon sapphire; the Raman spectrum was affected by the fluorescence of the stone and therefore of limited value.

In summary the information provided by the seller was confusing. The high price for the emerald and the very low price/ct paid for the sapphire cannot be explained either. In smaller sizes these stones could be cause of concern as they might be difficult to identify and further studies are necessary; if they are bigger (and the seller had fairly large stones for sale) the lack of any inclusions should ring the alarm bell.

Untreated Natural [name of gemstone]

Walking through the isles of the AGTA GemFair I noticed many signs stating “UNHEATED”; it appears to be a new selling strategy to avoid any disclosure that perhaps this “unheated ruby or sapphire” may have been treated by some other means. If that’s the case it still does not make the gemstone a natural gemstone. An untreated gemstone is a natural gemstone (by definition coming out of the ground). A ruby is a “natural” gemstone unless it is heat-treated, filled, or enhanced by other means and disclosed accordingly.

There are very few “untreated” rubies and sapphires; most of these rubies, emeralds, sapphires (just to name a few of the more popular gems) have been modified, manipulated or “man-made”. Most consumers have no idea what these stones looked like when they came out of the ground. If they did and realized how much the treated gemstone will cost them perhaps they started looking for alternatives. There are very nice man-made gemstones which are available at reasonable prices; they are more durable and can look very deceiving!

I am occasionally wearing a small 14k yellow gold ring set with a very attractive Kashan synthetic ruby to my gem identification classes. Most students believe it is the real thing until I have them check the stone under the microscope. I also have a ring set with a large chrysoprase cabochon which is often mistaken for jadeite.

GL Gem Raman Ready for Delivery

I have used the GL Gem Raman for one month now and I must say it has been the most effective and time saving tool in my career as a gemmologist.

In a few minutes I could identify a carved Buddha statue in my office as jadeite which I had difficulty to confirm in the past due to its size.

Discovering the potential of the Raman helped me greatly in preparing the support materials for the GL Gem Raman package; new users will find the operation of the unit straight forward and in some ways easier than the GL Gem Spectrometer.

I have almost stopped using the traditional testing tools (with the exception of the microscope) as the Raman can handle most gem materials (including those set in jewellery) as long as they fit in the sampling stage (max. 90 x 90 x 50 mm). If the sample is larger the observation lid needs to be kept open and safety goggles must be worn during the testing.

It takes less than 2 minutes to obtain a spectrum. It may take a bit longer if the sample is fluorescent as the laser intensity has to be reduced and some parameters in the GLGemRaman program adjusted; if the fluorescence is too strong the GL Gem Spectrometer will be helpful.

The GL Gem Raman is an ideal addition to the GL Gem Spectrometer which has over 100 users world-wide. The operation of the Raman unit is easy to learn as is the calibration procedure in case the unit has been transported and/or exposed to shock. A large database for gems and minerals is available to match a spectrum. Like a GLGemSpec spectrum file it can be saved and imported into Spekwin 32 for further processing and editing (see spectral graphs on this page).

The package comes with a support CD (including video) for proper operation of the GL Gem Raman; a trained gemmologist should be able to follow and execute the step-by-step instructions including the calibration procedure if necessary. A 2 1/2 hour workshop (GEM 370 offered by the Canadian Institute of Gemmology and other industry groups in the future) is recommended for gemmologists, mineral collectors and other users; we also provide assistance via Skype video-conferencing.

The GL Gem Raman is now available for under $ 8,000 FOB Vancouver, Canada . Click here for more information; to order go to the Gemlab on-line store.

Warning for Students in Gem ID Classes

It may not be widely known that strong fiber-optic light sources can cause damage to the eye; reflections coming off the surface of a gem while being observed with a spectroscope (in particular the small diffraction grating type) can cause burns to the retina which in some cases cannot be repaired.

In earlier newsletters I have also warned against the use of green and/or blue lasers for gem identification or fluorescence testing without proper eye-protection. A much safer option is the GL Gem Spectrometer or the GL Gem Raman where the sample area is fully secured and the spectral graph is seen on the computer monitor.

GEM 250 GEM IDENTIFICATION II (Advanced)

  • Course GEM 250-1 Sat – Tue, May 19 – 22, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (4 days)
  • Location: Richmond, B.C. Airport Hotel
  • Prerequisite: “Gemmologist” certificate or similar gemmological qualification.
  • Fee: $ 995 includes comprehensive study guide, Gemstone Inclusion Library, use of lab equipment and study stones.

In this course students will learn state-of-the-art techniques including immersionscope, konoscope, advanced spectroscopy, etc. designed to identify confidently any gemstone encountered in the industry. Between 100 and 120 challenging gems including the most recent synthetic and imitation gem materials are available for testing.

Here a brief list of man-made gems in our study collection: Chatham, Kashan, Ramaura, Knischka, Lechleitner, Regency, Biron, Lenix, Gilson, Tairus rubies, sapphires, emeralds, alexandrite, opal and many others. Gem enhancement techniques such as heat-alteration, surface colour diffusion, irradiation and glass filling are studied.

Hands-on exercises with our portable in-house developed GL Gem Spectrometer and GL Gem Raman system. Practicing gemmologists may use this lab class to up-grade their skills.

To Register, please call: 604-530-8569

GEM 370 GL Gem Raman Workshop

This course is for current or future users of the GL Gem Raman system.

  • Using PowerPoint presentations the development and use of Raman spectrometers is introduced.
  • Learning step-by-step testing method with GLGemRaman software and searchable database; procedure of proper calibration with Laser Glasses (190-548nm);
  • Practical testing of a number of interesting gem materials by the participants under supervision of the workshop facilitator.

GEM 370-2 Tue, May 22 from 6:30 – 9 p.m. (2 1/2 hours)

Location: Vancouver Airport Hotel TBA, Richmond B.C., Canada

Fee: $ 295 (limited to 5 participants). To register on-line go here.

We reserve the right to cancel courses if there is insufficient enrolment; upon return of all course materials students will receive a full refund for the tuition paid but no other compensation can be offered.

Please wait with travel arrangements until final confirmation.

For more info about the C.I.G. Professional Development Program (AG-PDP) go to Advanced (GEM 200-level) Courses or download brochure (PDF).

The Canadian Institute of Gemmology is a member of the World Gem Society.

For a nominal fee you can access a variety of resources available.

___________

Wolf Kuehn, B.A., M.A., Dipl.oec, F.G.A., F.G.G. – Director of Education

© 2012 Canadian Institute of Gemmology, Vancouver, Canada – www.cigem.ca

The name and logo “Canadian Institute of Gemmology” and the designation Accredited Gemmologist (C.I.G.)® are registered trade/certification marks (Registration # TMA407372 CIPO)

Canadian Institute of Gemmology