CIGem News Spring 2016

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

we have been busy with various gem shows/workshops and are now preparing for our summer activities.  

The Vancouver Gem Show held March 11 – 13 was highly successful and well attended;  the BC Gem Show in Abbotsford, BC attracted visitors from the Fraser Valley and Washington State.

Please note in your calendar the following dates:

  • Northwest Fluorescent Mineral Society, FMS Chapter, Renton, WA, July 16 – 17. I will be speaking  about “Advanced Spectroscopy in Mineral Identification” during their annual meeting.
  • Join us at FACETS Sri Lanka, Colombo, September 1 – 4. Several workshops are being planned. TBA

Vancouver Gem Show, August 12 – 14

11x17_vancouver

Kitsilano Arena
2690 Larch St, Vancouver, BC

Friday, August 12th 2016, 12:00-9pm
Saturday, August 13th 2016, 10am-6pm
Sunday, August 14th 2016, 10am-5pm

Admission Fee at Show doors:
General: one-day ticket – $7, three-day ticket – $10
Senior/Student: one-day ticket – $5, three-day ticket – $7
Children 12 and under free (with adult)

The new and exciting bi-annual Gem & Mineral Show coming to Vancouver following nine successful shows in Calgary and Edmonton.

We will have a booth representing the Canadian Institute of Gemmology (C.I.G.) and Gemlab Research & Technology demonstrating the latest advanced gem testing equipment. Books (new Exotic Gems Vol 4 by Newman) and instrument sales (used equipment listing (PDF), Meiji GEMZ-8TR), special gem study collections, free on-site gemmological services (2 items per visitor), etc.

We recently  joined the ISG Global Network; it is free and provides a vast resource base for anyone interested in gems and gemmology.

From Gemlab Research & Technology

GL Gem Spectrometer 2016/17 model

If you have an iPhone or similar cellphone you know that a new model with better electronics and features will be offered by the manufacturer every year. Some people replace their phone regularly others are happy if there are any upgrades for their old models. 

After five years and a user base of over 200  around the world we decided to replace the motherboard in the GL Gem Spectrometer with a modern modular design and faster microprocessor. This will allow us to add new features and components in the future such as Bluetooth, WiFi communication, database search, etc.

BETTER and FASTER: The GL Gem Spectrometer™ 2016/17 model with new motherboard and “Point & Shoot” software version 3.0 (just released); it is now available for purchase at a slightly higher price (US$ 1,695).

The new software version 3.0 does not run on previous models and provides a simple interface that produces a stable normalized transmission/absorption spectrum in real-time. The screen can be saved and printed out in addition to fast loading of reference spectra, etc.

Watch how a normalized absorption spectrum of green glass is obtained in 25 seconds (video, no sound).

For users of the older spectrometers we upgraded the software to version 2.8;  an upgrade package is available for download in the GLGemSpec Support section. To access the user section you have to log-in; if you lost your password please request a new one and the system will send it to your e-mail address.

Upgraded GL Gem Raman PL535 2016 model

BETTER and FASTER: The GL Gem Raman PL 532 TEC™ (100 – 5,440 cm-1) and Photoluminescence Spectrometer (530 – 750 nm) 2016/17 model with new motherboard and “Point & Shoot” software version 3.0 (just released). The databases have been updated and are available for download in the GLGemRaman Support section.

FOR SALE

Meiji GEMZ-8TR microscope 

Various gem testing tools; download current listing (PDF)

GL GemRaman PL532 TEC Demo (2015 model refurbished)

Fall 2016 Workshops

Due to the increased interest in advanced gem testing we have scheduled the following classes:

Foreign students must enter Canada on a visitor’s visa; copy of official Visa document must be provided 40 days prior to course commencement.

ISG Network Logo Member of ISG Global Network

GL Newsletter April 2016

Dear Friends and Colleagues, this year has been busy already with various show. 

Vancouver Gem Show

The Vancouver Gem Show held March 11 – 13 was highly successful and well attended. Saturday, March 12 broke the record with over 2,000 visitors and people were lining up for half an hour to get into the show. It was perhaps the most popular gem show Vancouver has ever seen.

We are now getting ready for the  BC Gem Show, Abbotsford BC to be held April 8 – 10 (next week-end).

For the upcoming Advanced Spectroscopy Workshop and Advanced Gem Identification in May (see below) I recommend to register now; there are few spaces left.

Foreign participants who do not have their Visa papers for entry into Canada by now will be unable to register; we will off er the same workshops again in November. 

BC Gem Show, Abbotsford BC, April 8 – 10, 2016

BC Gem Show 2015 Many Club Displays, Demonstrations, Grab Bags, Children’s Creative Workshop, Gold Panning & Door Prizes.

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

The  GL Gem Spectrometer  and the GL Gem Raman PL532 will be demonstrated.

Visit our booth at the Canadian Institute of Gemmology (C.I.G.) and Gemlab Research & Technology.

For Sale are books (newly published Exotic Gems Vol 4 by Newman) and instruments (used equipment listing (PDF), Meiji GEMZ-8TR), special gem study collections, free on-site gem and mineral identification with GL Gem Raman PL532 TEC  (2 items per visitor) and much more.

Upcoming Events and Workshops

April 8 – 10: BC Gem Show, Abbotsford, B.C. – bring your gemstones for free testing

The following C.I.G. courses take place at the Sandman Signature Hotel – Vancouver Airport, Richmond B.C.

May 13: GEM 350 Advanced Spectroscopy Workshop – introduction to the use of advanced spectrometers

May 14 – 17: GEM 250 Advanced Gem Identification – upgrade course for A.G. (C.I.G.) diploma holders and others.

Gemmology Equipment FOR SALE

Meiji Gemz-8tr-45

Meiji GEMZ-8TR microscope FOR SALE

List Price with all accessories is over US$ 4000.

Sale Price Can$ 3,500.00

Don’t miss this opportunity.

Gem-n[Eye II Gem N Eye II Tester Can$ 380 (paid US$ 480) chelsea Chelsea filter Can$ 35 (new US$ 39)
spectroscope Prism Spectroscope with illuminated wavelength scale Can$ 150 (compare Kruss US$ 165.95) spectroset Table Prism spectroscope with quartz halogen light Can$ 400 (new US$ 500+)
gemoro Gemoro CZ Master Diamond Color set of 10 @ 1ct size Can$ 300 (paid US$ 335) MicromatGauge Micromat Leverage Gauge Can$ 200 (paid US$ 287)
  • Diffraction grating spectroscope Can$ 60 (compare Kruss US$ 89.95)
  • Calcite Dichroscope Can$60 (paid US$ 69)
  • I – Gem Gold Price Scale Can$ 25 with power adapter (Amazon on sale US$ 24.95)
  • Download current listing (PDF).

We also have the following Raman system available; please contact us.

GL GemRaman PL532 TEC Demo (2014 model refurbished)

Jade & Abalone Pearl Handbook

Exotic Gems, Volume 4 (Can$ 29.95) by Renee Newman will be available during the BC Gem Show, Abbotsford BC.

Exotic Gems

Buying jade is a challenge because its value can vary significantly depending on its quality and treatment status. Moreover, fake jade is prevalent in the marketplace.

Exotic Gems, Volume 4 describes with text and photos how to evaluate jade quality, as well as detect imitations and dyed jade. The guide also illustrates advanced detection techniques, and compares price factors and characteristics of jadeite and nephrite jade.

Abalone pearls are also covered, with tips on how to identify and evaluate them.

GL Newsletter August 2015

Dear C.I.G. students and friends,

Just a reminder of the following upcoming events. I hope to see many of you during the first annual Vancouver Gem Show, August 14 – 16.

Please register for the fall C.I.G. Professional Development Courses soon as the number of participants is limited (see GEM 250 Advanced Gem Identification below).

IMPORTANT: Again I urge all Gem-A members to cast their vote in the upcoming election for Trustees. The choice is between a trade association headed by  “Seven Disgruntled Members”  (also read ISG Editorial) or candidates who will support the high educational standards  of Gem-A  and are qualified to run a modern UK professional association. Only one candidate is a Gem-A diploma holder; Ronnie Bauer FGA has never written a Gem-A examination!

Wolf Kuehn, F.G.A. (diploma holder since 1985), F.G.G.

Vancouver Gem & Mineral Show, August 14 – 16

van2015

Visit us a the C.I.G. (Canadian Institute of Gemmology) booth #32; books and small gem testing instruments will be on sale.

Location: Kitsilano Rink 2690 Larch St, Vancouver, BC

Friday, August 14th, 12:00-8pm
Saturday, August 15th, 10am-6pm
Sunday, August 16th, 10am-5pm

Adults: $7, Seniors/Students: $5

Children 12 and under free (with adults)

Please bring interesting gems and minerals (2 per visitor) and have them identified with our GL Gem Raman PL532 TEC while you wait and watch.

GEM 210 DIAMOND GRADING

This course is an up-date course  for A.G. (C.I.G.) diploma holders and graduates of other schools and institutes.

GEM210

  • Course Type: Combination of correspondence course and weekend/during week (2 1/2 days) workshop. C.I.G. DIAMOND GRADING certificate
  • Prerequisite: A.G. (C.I.G.) diploma or equivalent (please contact us)
  • Fee: $ 995 includes home study lessons (must be completed prior to workshop), grading projects with actual diamonds, study materials and exam fee (no HST) but does not include the textbook “Diamond Grading ABC: Handbook of Diamond Grading” by Pagel Theisen, 2007 (price $ 90)

In ten (10) assignments you learn the basic knowledge to buy, sell and evaluate diamonds effectively.

In five (5) practical sessions you grade diamonds for clarity, colour and cut (according to GIA and European (CIBJO) grading standards) including performance and device based approaches such as AGS (American Gem Society) ASET, Hearts & Arrows (Ideal Scope), Cut Advisor and others. Special procedures for assessing the quality of mounted diamonds will be shown.

Course Content: 1. Introduction to Diamond Grading 2. Determination of Colour Grades 3. Clarity Nomenclature and Grading 4. Cut and Proportions 5. Evaluation of Colour, Clarity and Cut 6. Diamond Grading Procedure 7. Representation of external and internal features 8. Practical Grading of Clarity, Colour and Cut 9.Proportionscope and Fancy Cuts 10. Grading Tools, Recutting, Diamond Imitations, HPHT Treatments, Synthetic Diamonds

IMPORTANT: The practical grading workshop must be taken during a C.I.G. scheduled class. Diamonds cannot be mailed out.

Please register here. View/Download and read carefully our refund policy (PDF).

advan advan advan

GEM 250 Advanced Gem Identification

The following course is an up-date course  for A.G. (C.I.G.) diploma holders and graduates of other schools and institutes; it is recommended as an introduction to the use of advanced gem testing equipment.

In this advanced course students will learn state-of-the-art techniques (including immersion-scope, gemstone magnetism, IR-VIS-NIR and Raman spectroscopy), etc. designed to identify confidently any gemstone encountered in the market place. Between 100 and 120 challenging gems including the most recent synthetics and treatments are available for testing. Max 5 participants.

  • Fee: $ 995 includes comprehensive study guide and materials (copy of Gemstone Inclusion Library), use of lab equipment and study stones. Recommended text-book: Gemology by Peter Read. Download course flyer (PDF).
  • GEM 250 – 3: Mon – Thu, November 9 – 12, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. RESERVED
  • GEM 250 – 4: Sat – Tue, November 14 – 17, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. SPACE AVAILABLE
  • Location: Sandman Signature Hotel – Vancouver Airport, Richmond B.C. (special room rate).  Please register by October 15, 2015
  • To keep costs down no lunch or beverage services are offered, lunch break 12:30 – 1:30 p.m
  • Prerequisites: A.G. (C.I.G.) diploma or equivalent (please contact us)

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, moissanite, synthetic CVD and HPHT grown and treated diamonds and many others. Gem enhancement techniques such as polymer impregnation (jadeite), heat-alteration, surface colour diffusion, irradiation, HPHT and glass filling are studied.

Hands-on exercises with our portable in-house developed GL Gem Spectrometer and GL Gem Raman PL532 TEC system. Practicing gemmologists may use this lab class to up-grade their skills.

Please register here. View/Download and read carefully our refund policy (PDF).

GEM 270 GL Gem Spectrometer and Raman Workshop

This course is for current or future users of the GL Gem Spectrometer and GL Gem Raman PL532 system.Raman In Operation

  • Using PowerPoint presentations the development and use of advanced spectrometers is introduced
  • Learning step-by-step testing method for the GL Gem Spectrometer and use of the GLGemRaman software and searchable database.

Practical testing of a number of interesting gem materials by the participants under supervision of the workshop facilitator; most up-to-date information on synthetic diamonds including CVD, HPHT and irradiation treatments and their detection. Limited to 4. participants.
Prerequisite: previous practical experience with spectroscope/spectrometer and good understanding of advanced spectroscopy.

Facilitator: Wolf Kuehn, B.A., M.A., Dipl.oec, FGA, FGG

  • GEM 270-3 Friday, Nov 13 from 9:00 – 1:00 p.m. (4 hours) RESERVED
  • GEM 270-4 Friday, Nov 13 from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. (4 hours) SPACE AVAILABLE

Sandman Signature Hotel – Vancouver Airport, Richmond B.C. (special room rate). Please register by October 15.

Fee: $ 295 (free for purchasers of the GL Gem Spectrometer or Raman PL532 TEC*); to keep costs down no lunch or beverage services are offered.

Please wait with travel arrangements until final confirmation.

Please register here. View/Download and read carefully our refund policy (PDF).

*Participants who  will purchase the GL Gem Spectrometer or GL Gem Raman system within one month will receive a $ 295 refund/discount.

_________

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

© 2015 Gemlab Research & Technology, Vancouver, Canada

The name and logo GEMLAB GROUP is a registered trade mark (Registration # TMA407372 with the CIPO)

Gemlab Research & Technology.

GL Newsletter July 2015

Man-made diamonds are fascinating objects. There are probably more scientists involved in diamond research than for all other gemstones combined. The Athens gem conference had several diamond growers in attendance and the latest information about methods to screen and detect synthetic diamonds were shared.

I received encouraging responses from several FGAs about my concerns over the misuse of the FGA designation by non-diploma holders (as expressed in the CIGem News  Summer 2015 newsletter). We will obtain clarification about the proper use of the F.G.A. (Hon) designation after the new Council is in place.

Again I urge all Gem-A members to cast their vote in the upcoming election for Trustees. The choice is between a trade association headed by  “Seven Disgruntled Members”  or candidates who have and will support the high educational standards Gem-A has been known for decades and are able to run a modern UK professional association.

Wolf Kuehn, F.G.A. (diploma holder since 1985), F.G.G.

Upcoming events: Vancouver Gem & Mineral Show, Aug 14 -16 and GEM 250 Advanced Gem Identification, Nov, 14 – 17 (more info below)

How to quickly identify CVD grown diamonds

During the Athens gem conference Dr. Joe Yuan from  Taidiam Technology  described the growth and detection methods of the most recent synthetic diamond products. I tested a Taidiam CVD grown diamond in my lab with the GL Gem Spectrometer, GL Gem Raman PL532 TEC using liquid nitrogen (LN) immersion and a binocular microscope with polarizing accessory.

I found that the SiV– optical center at 737 nm as commonly seen in CVD grown synthetic diamonds appears to be unstable. Taidiam, IIa company and Apollo/SCIO may show 737 nm line (including very few natural diamonds), Element 6, Washington and Taidiam (after my own experiment by immersing it in Liquid Nitrogen as described below) have NO 737 nm peak. Dr. Yuan confirms my findings by explaining that CVD growth is dependent on conditions of quartz bell or plate, quantity of doped Si and its detection by the type and precision of spectrometer used; even the same product may give different results.

Cape Diamond

CVD grown diamonds, however, can be quickly identified with a hand spectroscope or preferably with the GL Gem Spectrometer in order to detect any “Cape lines”.

If not present inspect the diamond under a microscope with crossed polarizers and look for abnormal birefringence and/or coarse parallel or crossed column lines indicating CVD.

According to Dr. Yuan “this approach is  100%” and I believe him. Please download more instructions here (PDF).

Usefulness of Liquid Nitrogen in Spectroscopy

For several days I have been testing diamond and gemstone samples immersed in LN (liquid nitrogen) to determine whether there are any benefits for users of the GL Gem Spectrometer and the GL Gem Raman PL532 TEC. The answer is: not really.

LN setup

Low-cost LN setup for use with spectrometers.

Always follow instructions about proper use of liquid nitrogen. 

A common problem is the icing up of the used low-cost glass device causing signal loss. There is no easy solution unless someone is willing to spend a larger amount of money for a dedicated LN accessory. For that reason I believe that increasing exposure times and controlling background noise is a better alternative; TEC for the Raman spectrometer makes sense when exposure rates are higher than 1,000 ms. LN will reveal stronger PL and additional peaks not seen at room temperature and narrows spectral width which can be seen only with scientific quality spectrometers.

The following show results obtained from a Taidiam CVD grown diamond before at room temperature/during and after LN immersion.

GL Gem Raman PL532 TEC

GL Gem Raman PL532 TEC (in real time)

GL Gem Raman PL532 TEC (in real time)

GL Gem Raman PL532 TEC (in real time)

The Future of Man-Made Diamonds

During the round-table discussion there were opposing views whether synthetic diamonds have a future in jewellery stores; looking back 25 years many of the diamond producers have been unsuccessful. Now with production costs coming down considerably it will be possible to produce a diamond at 1/3 price or less than its natural counterpart.  The question remains whether a young couple will accept a lab grown diamond in their engagement ring instead of the traditional solitaire. The growers are investing heavily in presses and cutting equipment; but without an effective marketing campaign to attract more jewellery buyers I am somewhat pessimistic. However, we must educate ourselves to identify these new materials for the obvious reason!

I  had a chance to briefly test the largest HPHT grown and cut 10.02-carat, E, VS1, type IIa, square, emerald-cut  stone produced by New Diamond Technology LLC  of St. Petersburg, Russia. It is certainly a spectacular piece and displayed some orange fluorescence both under the UV lamp and a strong LED light which could be an identifying feature.

Vancouver Gem & Mineral Show, August 14 – 16

Vancouver Gem Show Visit us a the C.I.G. (Canadian Institute of Gemmology) booth; books and small gem testing instruments will be on sale.

First annual Vancouver Gem and Mineral Show

Please bring interesting gems and minerals (2 per visitor) and have them identified with our GL Gem Raman PL532 TEC while you wait and watch.

Location: Kitsilano Rink
2690 Larch St, Vancouver, BC V6K 4K9

Friday, August 14th 2015, 12:00-8pm
Saturday, August 15th 2015, 10am-6pm
Sunday, August 16th 2015, 10am-5p
Adults: $7, Seniors/Students: $5, Children 12 and under free (with adults)

In this advanced course students will learn state-of-the-art techniques (including immersion-scope, gemstone magnetism, IR-VIS-NIR and Raman spectroscopy), etc. designed to identify confidently any gemstone encountered in the market place. Between 100 and 120 challenging gems including the most recent synthetics and treatments are available for testing. Max 5 participants.

  • Fee: $ 995 includes comprehensive study guide and materials (copy of Gemstone Inclusion Library), use of lab equipment and study stones. Recommended text-book: Gemology by Peter Read. Download course flyer (PDF).
  • GEM 250 – 3: Mon – Thu, November 9 – 12, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. RESERVED
  • GEM 250 – 4: Sat – Tue, November 14 – 17, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. SPACE AVAILABLE
  • Location: Sandman Signature Hotel – Vancouver Airport, Richmond B.C. (special room rate).  Please register by October 15.
  • To keep costs down no lunch or beverage services are offered, lunch break 12:30 – 1:30 p.m
  • Prerequisites: A.G. (C.I.G.) diploma or equivalent (please contact us)

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, moissanite, synthetic CVD and HPHT grown and treated diamonds and many others. Gem enhancement techniques such as polymer impregnation (jadeite), heat-alteration, surface colour diffusion, irradiation, HPHT and glass filling are studied.

Hands-on exercises with our portable in-house developed GL Gem Spectrometer and GL Gem Raman PL532 TEC system. Practicing gemmologists may use this lab class to up-grade their skills.

Please register here. View/Download and read carefully our refund policy (PDF).

GEM 270 GL Gem Spectrometer and Raman Workshop

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

Using PowerPoint presentations the development and use of advanced spectrometers is introduced.
Learning step-by-step testing method for the GL Gem Spectrometer and use of the GLGemRaman software and searchable database.

Practical testing of a number of interesting gem materials by the participants under supervision of the workshop facilitator; most up-to-date information on synthetic diamonds including CVD, HPHT and irradiation treatments and their detection.
Prerequisite: previous practical experience with spectroscope/spectrometer and good understanding of advanced spectroscopy.

Presenter: Wolf Kuehn, B.A., M.A., Dipl.oec, FGA, FGG

GEM 270-3 Friday, Nov 13 from 9:00 – 1:00 p.m. (4 hours); limited to 3 participants.

GEM 270-4 Friday, Nov 13 from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. (4 hours); limited to 3 participants. RESERVED

Sandman Signature Hotel – Vancouver Airport, Richmond B.C. (special room rate). Please register by October 15.

Fee: $ 295 (free for purchasers of the GL Gem Spectrometer or Raman PL532 TEC*); to keep costs down no lunch or beverage services are offered.

Please wait with travel arrangements until final confirmation.

Please register here. View/Download and read carefully our refund policy (PDF).

*Participants who  will purchase the GL Gem Spectrometer or GL Gem Raman system within one month will receive a $ 295 refund/discount.

_________

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

© 2015 Gemlab Research & Technology, Vancouver, Canada

The name and logo GEMLAB GROUP is a registered trade mark (Registration # TMA407372 with the CIPO)

Gemlab Research & Technology.

CIGem News Summer 2015

ISSN 0846-3611 GEMMOLOGY CANADA – Wolf Kuehn, F.G.G., F.G.A.(diploma holder since 1985), Editor

From the Editor:

The summer is in full swing with record high temperatures; I wish everyone a relaxing holiday season.

The 1st Mediterranean Gem and Jewellery Conference in Athens was a great success with several diamond manufacturers in attendance. I will report about interesting contributions in the next Gemlab Newsletter.

Of great concern to me is an ongoing campaign by a Facebook group  attacking the current administration of Gem-A; the matter is now out in the public and should be further investigated (see below). For the upcoming AGM on July 29 I urge all FGAs with voting rights to elect Trustees who will serve the Association in a competent and professional manner.

Please mark August 14 – 16 for the Vancouver Gem & Mineral Show; the Canadian Institute of Gemmology and Gemlab Research & Technology will exhibit there and offer gem identification services demonstrating our newest GL Gem Spectrometer,  GL Analyzer PL405 Kit and the GL Gem Raman PL532 .

Gem-A Annual General Meeting, July 29

For some time developments at Gem-A have given rise to concern; more recently a Facebook group has started publicly slandering existing Gem-A board members with the intent to bring the whole board of trustees down and replace it with their own nominees. [Editor: many posts at the offensive ‘Friends of Gem-A’ Facebook page have been selectively removed; however, carefully evaluate the posters who are either nominees or have endorsed them]

I am asking all F.G.A.s to make their voices heard and vote in the upcoming AGM; members in good standing should soon be receiving a list with nominees and instructions of how to vote by proxy. Please check and question the backgrounds, agendas, competence in UK association law and potential conflict of interest (Gem-A is the sole UK agent for “nominee’s” company, etc.) of those named for election by the above Facebook group: Ronnie Bauer, Alberto Scarani, Guy Clutterbuck, Michael Hoare, John Bradshaw, Kathryn Bonanno and Greg Valerio. Do not believe anything on mere hearsay!

On another matter: For some time Gem-A has started to bestow Honorary Fellowships to members of the trade who made major contributions to gemmology. Unfortunately a number of individuals awarded with the F.G.A. (Hon.) designation do not display this fact with their credentials; I consider this practice unprofessional and damaging to the standing and reputation of all FGA diploma holders who have EARNED this prestigious membership designation. In the past candidates had to pass rigorous and challenging examinations before being admitted into the Association as a Fellow.

Further Information about iPetition

I agree fully with Dr. Jack Ogden, previous CEO of Gem-A  in his response to allegations by the above Facebook group (Note: it was first published for Gem-A members on Gem-Talk but has since been released to the public by Sara Abey):

Dear all,

Like most of you I await details of the AGM (soon please) and hope to hear what has really been happening, as much as any legal processes allow.

Also like many of you I despair at the appalling way this whole campaign in support of the CEO has been managed. It seems to have started with the iPetition and gone downhill since then. The Petition itself was so poorly thought-out that it seems extraordinary that it swept up so many in its wake.

Let’s start with the iPetition, with comments

  • Postponement of the AGM without explanation or an alternative date

If there is any aspect of the finances that the Board considers prevents them from ‘signing off’ the Annual Accounts, the AGM has to be postponed. Straightforward. Happened a few years ago with no outcry.

  • All staff members instructed to have no contact with the CEO, without explanation.

If there is a potential disciplinary action in the offing, this is hardly surprising.

  • Withdrawal of Corporate Social Responsibility programme from recent prospectus and website, without explanation (note CSR/ ethics and sustainability are core to the Charity’s Aims and Objectives …. )

If the Board considers that a CSR programme is not appropriate, then this is one way of dealing with it. Maybe a bit unusual? Obviously one has to ask whether the CEO had not stopped it sooner despite requests from the Board to do so? The Petition shouldn’t have quoted that Charity Commission stuff – I wrote it and the intent was simply to say the Gem-A had to retain a watching brief on what was happening in the whole ethical field. I never considered it right for a Gemmological education body to provide courses in the area. Perhaps better questions from Members are whether Greg Valerio was being paid by Gem-A to be involved in this (if so I’d understand him being peeved) and why the CEO hasn’t completed the required Charity Return forms for 2011, 2012 and 2013 (the requirement was scrapped in 2014). Transparency please.

  • Alleged resignation of the Chairman, without formal announcement or explanation

The Chairman is and has always been appointed by the Board at a ballot at a Board meeting. The Members have no say. In theory the Board could appoint a different Chair for every meeting. Chairs come and go (for various reasons) and in the past no communication was issued unless some thanks were later expressed in Gems and Jewellery magazine.

  • Board has been non-responsive to formal enquiries and concerns, resulting in a lack of transparency and communication

Can’t comment on this, but if at heart there is some potential disciplinary action (or investigation to see if one was needed) discretion is unavoidable.

  • Lack of treasurer in recent months

Really? A ‘Treasurer’ in an organisation with a CEO and elected Board is viewed as a vestigial organ – totally unnecessary. There never was one my time as CEO (9 years) and if they did appoint one, I imagine a CEO would be deeply insulted. There is an Audit Committee which includes at least one Board member and the independent Auditors for the Annual Accounts.

  • Refusal by the Board to sign Conflict of Interest forms

All of the Board? This is a bit of a side-show anyway, conflict of interest forms are seemingly not a necessity, even just having a Conflicts of Interest policy is optional (according to the Charity Commission). The provisions in the Gem-A Memorandum and Articles of Association and Charity regulations regarding Board Members’ conflicts of interest are sufficiently robust to make individual forms redundant. This is not one-sided, the Charity Commission recommends similar Conflict of Interest considerations for the CEO of an organisation such as Gem-A.

  • Staff have repeatedly asked for decisions to be explained and evidenced in writing and have been repeatedly ignored. Board have dictated action without due explanation.

Doesn’t sound great… But maybe we should hear the staff’s point of view in due course (in the spirit of transparency again). In the absence of a CEO in an organisation like Gem-A it is traditional for the Chairman to take over.

  • Coercion of staff members

Ditto – but I remind staff that ‘whistle-blowing’ is protected under UK employment law. I assume the Petition implies coercion by the Board, not by the CEO?

  • The dismissal of the Human Resources manager. The replacement (brought in by the Board) has not been properly introduced to all staff.

Gem-A’s Board started outsourcing HR to a specialist consultancy company many years ago who allocated a guy to it. Of necessity this person develops a very close working relationship, even friendship, with the CEOs since there are many sensitive issues they have to handle together. If and when a problem between Board and CEO arises, a change of HR person is essential if the process is to be seen as unbiased and transparent. Introducing a consultant to all the staff may be a nicety, but with the apparently serious stuff going on neglecting this is hardly a major crime.

So, in all, a bit of a non-starter…

I must admit that I initially assumed that the CEO was behind this ‘revolt’, trying to get friends onto the Board to change the balance of power to best ensure he can remain in place, but the seeming lack of familiarity with Gem-A’s working, Charity requirements and Company law suggest not. If he had, I could understand him wanting support, but it is such a shame that it has all degenerated into an unethical, mud-slinging, ill-informed campaign being played out in public.

One other point, having non-UK Board members for a UK charity is not contrary to Charity Commission guidelines, but they have to be in a minority. Having a handful of non-UK board members is a good idea – it has been raised in the past – but it would be a new thing for Gem-A and raises issues that should have been formally settled in advance. For example, Gem-A pays Board members’ travel expenses to meetings and if we pay one to come from Edinburgh why not Hong Kong? Current individuals may well waive claiming such costs, but procedures need to be properly agreed by Members and documented for the future. Before (or concurrent) with nominating non-UK Board members, the nominators or the CEO might have usefully proposed relevant new clauses for the Gem-A Governing documents so Members understand the ramifications of non-UK Boards members and any potential for future complications reduced. One such clause would be to cover what happens if elections (or Board resignations) result in non-UK Board members no longer being in the minority.

I’m not arguing for one side or the other here, I’d hate to be in James’s position, but I do urge Members and new nominees to the Board not to be caught up in a band-wagon revolt against the present Board that if not intelligently handled could derail Gem-A for a generation.

I’m reminded of Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’ where the Popular Liberation Front of Judea demanded nothing less than the complete dismantlement of the Roman Empire.

Dr Jack Ogden FSA

Gem Forum Friday, Nov. 13, 2015
The fall meeting of members of the “Gem Connoisseur Club”, students and friends of the Canadian Institute of Gemmology; all Accredited Gemmologists (C.I.G.) and former C.I.G. students are welcome.  Program TBA soon.

Advanced Gem Identification (GEM 250)

The following course is an up-date course  for A.G. (C.I.G.) diploma holders and graduates of other schools and institutes; it is recommended as an introduction to the use of advanced gem testing equipment.

In this advanced course students will learn state-of-the-art techniques (including immersion-scope, gemstone magnetism, IR-VIS-NIR and Raman spectroscopy), etc. designed to identify confidently any gemstone encountered in the market place. Between 100 and 120 challenging gems including the most recent synthetics and treatments are available for testing.

  • Fee: $ 995 includes comprehensive study guide, Gemstone Inclusion Library, use of lab equipment and study stones. Recommended optional study materials: Gemology by Peter Read, Handbook of Gemmology 2015 (3rd edition)
  • Date: Sat – Tue, November 14 – 17, 2015, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Location: Sandman Signature Hotel – Vancouver Airport, Richmond B.C. (special room rate). Please register by October 15, 2015
  • Prerequisites: A.G. (C.I.G.) diploma or equivalent (please contact us)

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, moissanite, synthetic CVD and HPHT grown and treated diamonds and many others. Gem enhancement techniques such as heat-alteration, surface colour diffusion, irradiation, HPHT 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.

Please register here. View/Download and read carefully our refund policy (PDF).