CIGem News Summer 2010 - ISSN 0846-3611 GEMMOLOGY CANADA - Wolf Kuehn, F.G.G., F.G.A., Editor

The Quarterly Newsletter of the Canadian Institute of Gemmology (C.I.G.)

From the Editor

Summer is upon us - without a doubt my favorite season. We have been busy in putting the final touches on our GL Gem Spectrometer system; the first units have already sold and I hope that the affordable price will allow others to invest in this valuable electronic tool. It is still a "work in progress" but the hard-ware part is ready; read more below. Also new is the Accredited Gemmologist (C.I.G.)® Professional Development Program (AG-PDP) being offered in the fall.

Pearl Buying Guide, 5th Edition

Pearl Buying Guide Renee Newman has just published an updated 5th edition of her popular "Pearl Buying Guide: How to Identify and Evaluate Pearls and Pearl Jewelry".

Initially published in 1992, the Pearl Buying Guide was the first book to give consumers details on judging pearl quality and value. The 207 new colour photos in this updated 5th edition show new types of pearls, clasps and jewellery styles. Updated information has been provided on natural pearls, treatments, cultivation and identification techniques, and a brief chapter on antique pearl jewelry has been added.

The 154 page book contains 207 colour photos, is easy to read, well-organized, and packed with fascinating information and photos. Price US$ 19.95

You can order this book from our on-line store or directly from the author.

I highly recommend Renee Newman's gem series of Buying Guides and Handbooks.

Gemstone Purchases on eBay

A couple of weeks ago we made some purchases from an eBay dealer with good ratings to see how accurate the description of the items were and if the final price was a "good deal". Most of the websites selling gemstones have elaborate imagery with fancy appraisal certificates including movie clips like the following.

Launch in external player

To see an enlarged image of the following certificates just move your mouse over the image.

CertificateParaiba Tourmaline, 3.90 cts, Mozambique

Price $ 61.00 (+ $ 5 shipping)
The attractive stone had quite a vivid colour and came with a certificate stating: Estimated Retail Replacement Value $ 4,680 and a Note: Stone tested for copper content.

We tested the stone with our GL Gem Spectrometer and found no presence of copper. If one reads the certificate carefully it states: ... "tested for copper" ...; it does not say "Cu-bearing tourmaline"!

Unfortunately many people think they are buying a Paraiba tourmaline based on the inflated appraisal.

CertificateMystic Topaz, 6.40 cts cts, United States

Price $ 1.04 (+ $ 5 shipping)
The certificate includes the following Estimated Retail Replacement Value $ 356.00 and the Note: Mystic Topaz is a trademark of Azotic corporation; for more information visit www.azotic.usa.

I think this was a "good deal" though the coating was not properly disclosed and the evaluation dramatically inflated as most of these appraisals are.

CertificateStar Sapphire, 2.61 cts

Price $ 5.50 (+ $ 5 shipping)
The certificate suggests Estimated Retail Replacement Value $ 206.00 and contains the Note: Stone has been diffusion treated for color enhancement.

CertificateRainbow Moonstone, 3.70 cts

Price $ 1.81 (+ $ 5 shipping)
The Estimated Retail Replacement Value for this stone is $ 111; it appears untreated. However, the stone looks almost "dead" and not nearly as attractive as in the picture.

In summary I would encourage everyone to visit eBay or other on-line gem dealers to see what is available. However, use caution and buy from reputable and professional businesses only.

GL Gem Spectrometer System (300 - 1000 nm) - AVAILABLE NOW


Portable GL Gem Spectrometer system with Dell Mini 9" netbook. Raw transmittance spectrum of synth. ruby (flame fusion, note "fluorescenc peak" at 694.22 nm)
Download the archived GLGemSpec files RubySynFlame.fak and Reference.fak (.rar file), 70 KB or (.zip file), 76 KB and import for smoothing, normalization, base-line correction, zoom, etc. into - free optical spectroscopy software", revised Version 1.71.5 by F. Menges. More spectra in the database at the Student Activity Centre.

We are proud to offer this economically priced and efficient spectrometer package to the experienced gemmologist.

Over the last 3 years we have tested several spectrometers and numerous soft-ware packages. The high price of commercial systems excluded many gemmologists from owning and operating such a valuable tool.

With the help of a local engineer we custom designed a broad band gem spectrometer which is affordable and highly sensitive. It uses a back illuminated CCD sensor; the software compensates for etalation in the near IR. Our diffraction grating efficiency is optimized for 500 nm (see specifications below); at 300nm it is 35%, around 1000 nm it is 45% (with averaged efficiency for both polarizations around 55%). That is better than other units costing twice as much.

Also important is a proper light source though the spectrometer can be used with the fiber alone; spectroscopists often develop their own setup depending on the material and the type of measurement. For gemstone analysis a tungsten halogen light source, a xenon light, various types of lasers and UV-LEDs are being used. The GL Halogen 10W is a basic light source with built-in cosine corrector, cooling fan, gem positioner and is mounted directly onto the spectrometer; it can also be used with spectrometers of other manufacturers.

The GL Gem Spectrometer is a USB 2.0/HID compliant device and does not need a soft-ware driver as many other spectrometers do; the GLGemSpec software is simple to install (only 104 KB; it would work on an old laptop running Windows 98), easy to learn and extremely fast in obtaining and saving spectras. They can be imported into other software such as the highly recommended Spekwin32 spectroscopy software which allows for quick viewing, comparison and documentation of a project; we also provide LabVIEW users with VIs for further development on their platforms.

For more technical data and description go here..

The GL Gem Spectrometer System Package

Portable GL Gem Spectrometer system includes attachable GL Halogen 10W Gem light holder, fiber probe (1 m laboratory grade UV-VIS), USB cable, 12 V power adaptor, software

Available now: US$ 1,695.00* (for delivery in Canada add 12% HST)

Order now on-line at Gemlab Books & Instruments.

* Price is for direct bank transfer or certified cheque; on-line purchase in Can$ includes currency exchange and credit card surcharge. Please contact us before ordering to confirm availability; allow 3 weeks for delivery.
GL Gem Spectrometer (300 - 1,000 nm) with the GL Halogen 10W Gem light holder attached

Special price for A.G. (C.I.G.) diploma holders (in good standing), graduates from the AG-PDP program and students taking the GEM 250 upgrade course: Can$ 1,450.00 (add 12% HST) (until August 31, 2010)

The GL Halogen 10 W Gem Light Source

GL Halogen 10W Gem light holder with built-in cosine corrector, cooling fan, includes 12V/1.5 A power adaptor (110 - 240 Volts with international adaptor plugs); this unit is included in the portable GL Gem Spectrometer System set.

This unit has a SMA 905 coupler and can be mounted onto spectrometers of other manufacturers. Optional Halogen 20 W, Xenon 10/15/20 W light sources; please contact us for advice.

Price*: US$ 375.00 (for delivery in Canada add 12% HST)

Order now on-line at Gemlab Books & Instruments.

* Price is for direct bank transfer or certified cheque; on-line purchase in Can$ includes currency exchange and credit card surcharge. Please contact us before ordering to confirm availability; allow 3 weeks for delivery.
The GL Halogen 10W gem holder mounted onto a USB2000

Gemfair in Teˇfilo Otoni, Minas Gerais, Brazil - August 24 - 28

Teofilo Otoni The annual and very popular FIPP2010 (20¬ Feira Internacional das Pedras Preciosas) will be held again in Teˇfilo Otoni, Minas Gerais, Brazil from August 24-28, 2010; for more info go here; the C.I.G. will be represented at the show.

Vancouver C.I.G. Courses and Workshops - Fall 2010


Introduction to Gemmology - new_grn for Fall 2010 - REGISTER by September 8

Gemmology I and II ($995/30 hours, 10 sessions includes binder with study materials but not the text-books "Guide to Gems" by Oldershaw, 2004 (price $ 14.95) and "Gemmology, 3rd edition, 2008" by Peter Read (price $ 50.00) (no HST) - NEW CLASS

  • Course GEM 110/120 Wed, Sept 15 - Nov 17, 6:15 - 9:00 p.m. (10 sessions, Vancouver)
  • GEM 150This course combines GEM 110 and GEM 120 introducing the basic identifying features of all important gems, including their appearance, special physical and optical characteristics, their occurrence and value factors. Also included is an introduction to diamond and colour gem grading, the use of gemmological instruments to aid identification. GEM 120 covers the F.G.A. preliminary exam syllabus.

    For more info go to Vancouver Courses.

    Accredited Gemmologist (C.I.G.)® Professional Development Program (AG-PDP) - new_grn for Fall 2010 - REGISTER by August 15

    AGThe Canadian Institute of Gemmology is offering a self-guided study program for students who have completed a gemmology program with another institution.

    Upon successful completion of the AG-PDP graduates are entitled to use the international recognized professional Accredited Gemmologist (C.I.G.)® designation - a registered certification mark.

    Entrance requirement: "Fine Jewellery Expert (C.I.G.)", F.G.A. or equivalent from other international institutions; foreign candidates may apply but must enter Canada under a visitor's visa (no student visas available). If credentials were obtained before 2001 a practical entrance test must be passed.

    Course credits required: all GEM 200-level courses such as GEM 210 Diamond Grading, GEM 220 Advanced Gemmology, GEM 230 Gem Colour Grading, GEM 250 Gem Identification II; for more info go to Advanced (GEM 200-level) Courses.

    GEM 250 Gem Identification II: For this course it is recommended that students have basic gem equipment at their disposal to complete individual projects at home or at their work place; students will also learn the use of UV- VIS - NIR spectrometers. There will be a four-day practical workshop at the end of the program; the last day will be exam-day for both written and practical exam.

    We have reduced the price for several books to clear our inventory. Go to Specials or visit gemlab Books and Instruments.

    The name and logo GEMLAB GROUP is a registered trade mark (Registration # TMA407372 with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office).

    Past issues of C.I.Gem News: Click on the edition you want to read: Spring 2009 - Summer 2009  - Fall 2009  - Winter 2010 - Spring 2010 . The next newsletter will be published September 21, 2010.

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    Unless indicated otherwise images (c)2010 J. Wolf Kuehn and Canadian Institute of Gemmology. Users may download images for their own private, non-commercial use.

    The articles in CIGem News express the opinions of the editor and do not necessarily reflect those of the Canadian Institute of Gemmology (C.I.G.). The included links are provided for educational purposes. Copyright and content responsibility remains with the linked organization and do not represent any endorsement by the author. The designation ACCREDITED GEMMOLOGIST (C.I.G.)® diploma is a registered certification mark (see Industry Canada, Canadian Intellectual Property Office) and requires a user license for business use.