The Color Conundrum – Gem ID Series

Location of event: MARICOPA ROOM
Time: 9:00 - 10:00 AM, Wednesday, February 5th
Hosted by: Claire Scragg, FGA, DGA, Learning & Development Manager, Jewelry Television

Have you ever wondered where to begin when separating out gems of the same or similar color? If so, this seminar is ideal for you.

Focusing on key green and yellow gemstones, this practical 'hands-on' session will cover the important and effective gem testing techniques that you can apply to successfully identify gems of similar colors, using just handheld equipment. So, if you are looking to learn new testing skills, or develop existing ones, we look forward to seeing you there.

JVC Legal Update

Location of event: GREENLEE ROOM
Time: 9:00 am - 10:00 am, Wednesday, February 5th
Hosted by: Tiffany Stevens, President and CEO, Jewelers Vigilance Committee & Sara Yood, Senior Counsel, Jewelers Vigilance Committee

Come hear Tiffany Stevens, JVC President & CEO, and Sara Yood, JVC Senior Counsel, discuss new developments in the laws and regulations that apply to gem dealers and the jewelry industry at-large. Tiffany and Sara will cover updates from the Federal Trade Commission, new developments at the State Department, advertising regulations, anti-money laundering requirements, and anything else that suits your fancy! Come armed with your questions for the industry’s legal experts.

A Brief History of Faceting and the Birth of Modern Gem Cutting

Location of event: GRAHAM ROOM
Time: 9:00 am - 10:00 am, Wednesday, February 5th
Hosted by: Justin K Prim, Faceting Instructor, Institute of Gem Trading, Bangkok

Justin K Prim, author and faceting historian, explores the history of colored gemstone cutting in Europe. Beginning in the 1300s and taking us on a visual journey through history to modern times, the talk includes images and videos of faceted gemstones in jewelry from various eras, and also discusses the development of techniques and machinery through the ages. We’ll look at how the gem cutting craft has evolved, and how it’s been influenced by artistic and technological trends of the times—from the Renaissance to the Modern Era, from table cut to concave faceting. Along the way, we’ll follow the journey of the European faceting machine as it changed and developed from country to country before heading overseas and revolutionizing the gemstone world in the process.

Practical Guide to Jewelry Appraising

Location of event: MOHAVE ROOM
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm, Wednesday, February 5th
Hosted by: Cos Altobelli, CGA, Altobelli Jewelers

This seminar covers: the importance of Gemological and Appraisal Titles and their influence on increasing sales and services; the American Gem Society’s new standards for colored gemstones and pearls, gender, and type descriptions; grading damaged diamonds; software programs; changes in Colorvision requirements; the Advanced Personal Property Appraisal (APPA) program; registering with the IRS; the Certified Gemologist Appraiser (CGA) program at Conclave 2020 (especially regarding the importance of titles); and other topics that can be litigious, particularly when dealing with synthetic and damaged diamonds as well as wax-set stones. This seminar will help appraisers navigate these business issues that are common in today’s market environment.

AGL: Updates from the Laboratory

Location of event: MARICOPA ROOM
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm, Wednesday, February 5th
Hosted by: Christopher Smith, CEO, American Gemological Laboratories, New York

Come and see what the AGL has been working on this past year—from famous and important articles that have come up for auction, to the current status of gemstone treatments and insights for how to recognize them. This seminar also includes a review focusing on the better refinement of criteria for establishing gem varieties that are based on color.

The Lustrous Mysteries of American Natural Pearls

Location of event: GREENLEE ROOM
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm, Wednesday, February 5th
Hosted by: Gina Latendresse, American Pearl Company, Inc.

Dating back to the 1500s, European royal families considered natural Pearls harvested in the New World to be among the rarest and most prized of all things, even exceeding the value of gold and Emeralds. Once the New World—the Americas—was discovered, they sent their armadas in search of her distinctive and unique Pearls, especially those harvested from the lakes and rivers of North America. We can find numerous examples among the antique pieces in the Royal Collections of England, Spain, and Portugal. We can also see numerous examples of these Pearls featured in the dramatic Art Nouveau, delicate Edwardian, and geometric Art Deco designs as well as the whimsical Mid-Century designs. Today we will explore the natural freshwater pearling industry and its impact on jewelry and jewelry design throughout history.

Seeing Colour: Succeed with the Spectroscope

Location of event: GRAHAM ROOM
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm, Wednesday, February 5th
Hosted by: Elaine Ruddie, Marketing Manager, Gem-A

Become a spectroscopy super-user with this informative entry-level workshop from Gem-A. Learn the basic principles of colour and selective absorption before getting to grips with different types of portable spectroscopes. This session will cover the importance of good lighting and practicing useful techniques to help you get the most out of your spectroscope wherever you are. You’ll learn how to identify similarities between stones with distinct absorption patterns and pick out differences that aid with the identification of these materials, even when other instruments are not available.   Leave this seminar with the confidence you need to work with this valuable tool and achieve reliable results.

Retail or e-Commerce – The Blended Future

Location of event: MOHAVE ROOM
Time: 9:00 - 10:00 AM, Thursday, February 6th
Hosted by: Jennifer Markas, Executive Director, Women’s Jewelry Association & A panel of WJA Members (TBA)

The biggest question brands face in our industry today involves the future business model of e-commerce and traditional retail. Will boutiques struggle or flourish with in-person transactions? Will business be done solely online? Or is there potential for an ideal blend of the two? Our expert panel—ranging the gamut of business models—will share their thoughts, explain the benefits and shortcomings of their model, and speak to their focus for the future. Join us for this interactive panel and learn about the future of your business!

Market Trends, Industry Changes, and Gem Sourcing Considerations

Location of event: MARICOPA ROOM
Time: 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM, Thursday, February 6th
Hosted by: Richard Drucker, President, Gemworld International (publisher of GemGuide) & Stuart Robertson, Vice President, Gemworld International

Market demand and prices are changing due to several factors. Presented by the team behind GemGuide, the industry leader for gem pricing and market information, this annual talk on gemstone prices and market trends will address how and why gem prices are changing and bring you the latest information on sourcing.

Evolution of The Pearl Goddess

Location of event: GREENLEE ROOM
Time: 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM, Thursday, February 6th
Hosted by: Betty Sue King, Owner and Pearl Goddess, King’s Ransom

How did Betty Sue King—the daughter of Chinese immigrant parents growing up in a mom-and-pop grocery store—become the Pearl Goddess? How did she transition from teaching elementary school to presenting lectures at conferences and conducting exhibitions at pearl trade shows? Her journey will encourage, inspire, and give life to “Yes, you can!” Betty Sue asks the question, “What is beauty and how does it serve us?” The answer is elemental and universal.

Advances in Hydrocarbon Gemology: Is It All Just ‘Smoke and Mirrors

Location of event: GRAHAM ROOM
Time: 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM, Thursday, February 6th
Hosted by: Sarah Steele, FGA, DGA, Consultant Gemologist, Ebor Jetworks, Whitby Museum, United Kingdom

Despite representing a socio-symbolically significant resource since the Paleolithic Era, little progress has occurred in the characterization of gem-quality hydrocarbons. Requiring oceanic anoxia, the jetification of wood has seldom occurred in Earth’s geological history. Resulting materials display polymeric properties and can be described as ‘Jurassic plastic.’ Unprecedented demand for jet in the 19th century required simulants. Baekeland’s 1907 creation ‘Bakelite’ was retailed as jet until 1943. Bakelite not only shared the qualities of jet, but its inventor claimed that we, as a race, had created a new material under the sun, and we had entered the “Fourth Kingdom.” Despite the odds, jet has survived as a gem product: proof—if we needed it—that “plastic is forever and a lot cheaper than diamond.”

Line ‘Em Up: Single-Row Pavé Setting by MJSA "At the Bench Live"

Location of event: GILA ROOM
Time: 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM, Thursday, February 6th
Hosted by: Joel McFadden

Single-row pavé, which consists of a line of small diamonds set into a narrow strip of metal, is a beautiful use of melee. Learn how to master this style to create a bold, brilliant look.

The Social Spectrum: How Industry Stars Color Their Instagram Pages

Location of event: MOHAVE ROOM
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 PM, Thursday, February 6th
Hosted by: Barbara Palumbo, Moderator, Adornmentality & a panel of AGTA Members (TBA)

Writer and journalist Barbara Palumbo will moderate a panel of industry personalities from various backgrounds who've managed to organically build big Instagram followings through their creative and colorful content. Learn tips and tricks from the best in the business on how to gain social media followers by choosing to color outside the lines.

The Color of Money: Turning Consumer Trends into Profit

Location of event: Greenlee Room
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 PM, Thursday, February 6th
Hosted by: Kate Peterson, CEO, Performance Concepts, Inc., for Diamond Council of America

Knowledge is power—and for most businesses, that power brings with it a potential for growth that is astounding. Today, much as throughout retail history, some brands are staring into the abyss, while others are reaching for the stars. The difference between the two groups may well be the willingness of the latter to look beyond the “way we’ve always done it” and to respond to the changing market in ways that meet and even exceed consumer expectations. Experts around the world agree that the luxury consumer is back in the spending game, and there are more opportunities than ever for creative brands and entrepreneurs to satisfy evolving consumer needs. Both recent sales history and a careful analysis of top consumer trends point to a major resurgence in the demand for colored gemstones as part of this new world order. Don’t miss this overview of colored gemstones as they relate to top, must-know consumer trends, and the opportunity to learn how you and your team can capitalize in the coming months. Learn what's on the horizon and see how you can best prepare your product, your brand, and your team to be where the spending customer is.

Sapphire Isle: Updates on Madagascar Sapphire

Location of event: GRAHAM ROOM
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 PM, Thursday, February 6th
Hosted by: Billie Hughes, Lotus Gemology, Bangkok, Thailand

Join Lotus Gemology’s Billie Hughes for an overview of one of the most important colored gems on the market: Madagascar Sapphire. We will cover the history of Sapphire mining in Madagascar, as well as highlights from Billie’s most recent field trip to Madagascar in 2019. This seminar will also look at the results of Lotus Gemology’s experiments in low-temperature heat treatment of this material and how to detect it. Furthermore, we will discuss the mining of Madagascar Sapphire from an ethical standpoint.

Scaling New Heights: Fishtail Setting by MJSA "At the Bench Live"

Location of event: GILA ROOM
Time: 3:30 - 5:00 PM, Thursday, February 6th
Hosted by: Joel McFadden

The fishtail setting gets its name from the way when viewed from the side, its prongs flare into two sections and resemble a fishtail. Simple in appearance, it’s one of the most beautiful setting styles when done correctly—as this session will demonstrate.

Research Update

Location of event: MOHAVE ROOM
Time: 9:00 : 10:00 AM, Friday, February 7th
Hosted by: James Shigley, Ph.D., GIA Distinguished Research Fellow, Gemological Institute of America

Dr. James Shigley, GIA Distinguished Research Fellow, and a member of GIA's research team will share insights on important industry developments. His talk will include an update on the GIA Laboratory, research efforts at the Institute and other timely topics, including the state of the Diamond industry, an update on synthetic diamond identification, and trends in colored stones.

Let’s Get Social! The Power of Socially Responsible Sourcing

Location of event: MARICOPA ROOM
Time: 9:00 - 10:00 AM, Friday, February 7th
Hosted by: Mia Katrin, Moderator, Jewel Couture & Panelists: Ron Ringsrud, Ron Ringsrud Company; Sheahan Stephen, Sheahan Stephen Sapphires; John Ford, Lightning Ridge Collection by John Ford

It’s the new buzzword: Transparent ethical supply chains with “socially responsible sourcing.” And the demand is client-driven. Millennials especially expect transparency and awareness of how the gems and metals in their jewelry is sourced. “First, do no harm.” At a minimum, clients expect a guarantee that source materials for their jewelry arise from conflict-free areas and that local mining does not harm the environment or the mining communities. But beyond that, increasingly aware consumers are seeking a positive impact from the process of production. They want their treasured ring or pendant to positively contribute to the quality of life in indigenous areas—to “give back” to the source, increasing prosperity and social justice. Socially responsible sourcing is a powerful concept, generating a compelling story which retailers can use to create the meaningful experience that increasingly enlightened consumers crave. Three experts with combined decades of experience in indigenous mining areas—Colombia, Sri Lanka, and Australia—share their hands-on experience with the latest developments in socially responsible sourcing and the impact it’s having locally and throughout the supply chain.

Effective Strategies for Dealing with Difficult People

Location of event: GREENLEE ROOM
Time: 9:00 - 10:00 AM, Friday, February 7th
Hosted by: Kate Peterson, CEO, Performance Concepts, Inc., for Diamond Council of America

Steve Jobs said, “A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.” Sounds great in theory—but how do you assemble and keep that A+ team when it seems there’s a ‘C’ around every corner? Every company has at least one ‘C player’ at one time or another—that difficult person who threatens to suck the life out of every other member of the team. They come in many flavors: the chronic complainer, the nonstop talker, the seasoned employee who sabotages every effort to change anything about your business, the top salesperson who has the solution to every problem your organization faces, but who never does anything to help... Short of getting rid of them, what do you do? This session will provide practical, straightforward information about how to best approach these difficult people with the objective of changing them for the better.

Finish Line: Creating Cool Textures by MJSA "At the Bench Live"

Location of event: GILA ROOM
Time: 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM, Friday, February 7th
Hosted by: Lee Krombholz

Designers continue to use evocative textures—hammered, scratched, stippled, and more—to enhance their creations. See how, with a few basic tools and techniques (along with some imagination), you can add flair to your designs.

An Update on Pearl Localities

Location of event: GRAHAM ROOM
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 PM, Friday, February 7th
Hosted by: Elisabeth Strack, Gemmologisches Institut, Hamburg, Germany

This update compares past and present finding places and shows that the last 15 years have seen a distinct rise for prices of fine qualities, nearly attaining the high levels of the natural Pearl market between 1850 and 1930—this includes American freshwater Pearls. The renewed demand may explain the sudden interest in exotic Pearls that originate both from marine gastropods (like Conch, Horse Conch, Abalone, Melo, Turbo, Cassis, and lately Tutufa Pearls) or from other than Pinctada bivalve mollusks (Lion’s Paw, Atrina, Spondylus, Quahog, and Tridacna Pearls). While freshwater cultured Pearl farms in China and Japan still follow the established pattern, Akoya production focuses on quality Pearls and a healthy ecological environment. Emphasis is also on natural, unbleached colours, larger sizes, and off-round shapes. The South Sea cultured Pearl market is above all stable, and Tahitian cultured Pearls see a prolonged upward trend, with the Fiji Islands still filling an important niche similar to Mexico’s cultured Pearls from Baja, California.

Turquoise – Stone of Mystery

Location of event: MOHAVE ROOM
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 PM, Friday, February 7th
Hosted by: Eric Fritz, Manager, University of Arizona Gem and Mineral Museum

Turquoise has been revered and worked by indigenous people in the southwestern United States and Mexico for well over a thousand years, predating the explorers from Europe. Artifacts, such as the Aztec Calendar Stone, have been recovered from archaeological sites great distances from known deposits of Turquoise. A long-held belief that the Aztec people were trading far north and obtaining Turquoise from Arizona and New Mexico is now being challenged. Joint research in geosciences and anthropology at the University of Arizona has provided a scientific explanation for the original source of Turquoise. In this study, graduate student Alyson M. Thibodeau and colleagues demonstrate that geological sources of Turquoise in the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico can be distinguished from each other through the measurement of lead and strontium isotopic ratios. This process has similarities to carbon-14 dating—a bit more household word. These isotopic analyses thus provide a new way to investigate the mining and translocation of this mineral in prehistory.

Evaluation and Pricing of Jadeite and Nephrite Jade

Location of event: MARICOPA ROOM
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 PM, Friday, February 7th
Hosted by: Jeff Mason, GG, Owner, Mason-Kay, Inc. & Renée Newman, GG, Gemologist and Author

Translucency, color, fractures, and treatments can have a huge impact on Jade value. This session discusses how these and other factors affect the pricing of Burmese Jadeite jewelry and both cut and rough Nephrite from North America, Siberia, and the Hotan (Hetian) area of China. Pricing examples will be provided.

The Gemstone Market: A Historical Perspective

Location of event: GREENLEE ROOM
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 PM, Friday, February 7th
Hosted by: Helen Molesworth, Managing Director, Gübelin Academy, Switzerland,

The jewelry industry and gem markets have seen great change and development in recent years, apparently more than ever before. Markets have experienced both growth and fluctuation on a massive scale. World records are constantly being broken. Recent sales results are frequently observed and discussed. Yet all this often happens without a larger context. Much of our price and value knowledge comes from recent, living memory… but what do we know about gem pricing in the recent and even distant past? How have we gotten to where we are today, compared with a hundred or more(!) years ago? How has our concept of prices and value changed? Furthermore, can this help indicate where we are going? Helen will address the importance of history through examples and models, with special references to Ruby in particular. She’ll also investigate shifts in the gem market from the perspective of the bigger picture.

A Closer Look: Vintage Hand-Engraved Patterns by MJSA "At the Bench Live"

Location of event: GILA ROOM
Time: 3:30 - 5:00 PM, Friday, February 7th
Hosted by: Lee Krombholz

With modern bench microscopes, jewelers can more easily employ the techniques that hand engravers have used for hundreds of years. View a gallery of patterns and learn how you can re-create them for a vintage look.

Opportunities in the Gem Market Beyond the ‘Big 3’

Location of event: MARICOPA ROOM
Time: 9:00 - 10:00 AM, Saturday, February 8th
Hosted by: Çiğdem Lüle, Ph.D., FGA, GIA GG, DGA, Owner, Kybele, LLC

The movement toward supply chain consolidation of the Big 3 (Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald) is creating profitable opportunities for dealers and retailers in a number of other gem varieties. Diamonds and the Big 3 have always been staples of the gem business, yet current market dynamics are reshaping the trade. In the recent decade, a changing attitude from a new generation of consumers has boosted interest in an array of gem materials that had previously been regarded as semi-precious. The current trend of breaking away from tradition in favor of fashion-focused, more affordable gemstone options presents exciting possibilities to expand colored gemstone sales. Dr. Lüle will discuss both these classic and unusual gem materials and how they appeal to the new generation of buyers.

Foundations of Gem Optics

Location of event: 9:00 - 10:00 AM, Saturday, February 8th
Time: GREENLEE ROOM
Hosted by: Rex Guo, Sutra Gems, Singapore

Effects of the financial meltdown of 2008 are still being felt globally across the luxury industries with the gems and jewellery space unspared. Of the 4C's (Carat, Colour, Clarity, Cut), Cut is the only factor under human control, and its improvement represents one of the best opportunities for the gem industry to revitalize itself. The first step in the evolution of Cut is by understanding gem optics. Go beyond Snell’s Law and learn the physics that govern how light behaves inside a gem at the micro and macro levels, leading to the image that the eyes perceive. The relationship between cut, colour, and human visual perception will be discussed as well as the optical characteristics of the classic cutting styles seen on the market. 

Marrying Tradition and Tech: CAD/CAM at the Bench by MJSA "At the Bench Live"

Location of event: GILA ROOM
Time: 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM, Saturday, February 8
Hosted by: Gary Dawson

Computer-aided design and manufacturing can help bench jewelers as well as designers. Learn how CAD/CAM can be integrated with traditional bench techniques to streamline repairs and restoration, and breathe new life into small workshop businesses.

Sapphire Trend: Peach and Teal vs. Traditional Blue

Location of event: MARICOPA ROOM
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 PM, Saturday, February 8th
Hosted by: Sheahan Stephen, Sheahan Stephen Sapphires

Over the past five years, the Sapphire market has seen an uptick in demand for two hues of Sapphire—peach and teal. This session will give attendees the tools to understand and articulate clearly to their customers the subtle difference between orangish-pink, pinkish-orange, and Padparadscha. Sheahan will also give clear-cut descriptions for green, teal, and yellow-green Sapphires. Through reviewing a number of graphs which cover time, color, consumption, and shifting prices, attendees will gain an in-depth understanding of what’s causing this movement toward fancy-colored Sapphires vs. traditional blue. Ultimately, this session will help attendees understand more clearly their customers’ requests/needs and help them close sales on these unique, fancy-colored Sapphires.

Green Gems: ID of Natural, Treated, and Synthetic Look-Alikes with Portable and Lab Instruments

Location of event: GREENLEE ROOM
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 PM, Saturday, February 8th
Hosted by: Branko Deljanin, GG, FGA, Director and Head Gemologist, CGL Canadian Gemlab, Inc.

At the heart of gemology is gem identification. For example, it is very difficult to distinguish some Emeralds, tsavorites Garnets, and glass, by mere observation. Since the values of these gemstones are considerably different, an accurate identification is necessary. It is important that the identification is performed without any destruction of the gems. Thus, using a PL Inspector by Gemetrix and Gempen by Gemometrics (portable and low-cost instruments allowing viewing of fluorescence and phosphorescence), CPF (Cross Polarized Filters), and spectroscope may be indispensable as fast optical methods, in addition to using essential tools such as loupe. By using the above standard gem testing instruments and techniques, trained gemologists can recognize most green gem materials. Branko will cover the use of four basic portable instruments that are practical for using on the road, at a gem field, or at a gem show without the need for a refractometer and microscope with an electrical outlet. Man-made green glasses, synthetic green spinel, and synthetic Emerald have characteristic fluorescence under LW/SW light that could separate them from natural gems. The advantage of the fluorescence technique is that it could be used as a screening test on mounted Emeralds, or polymer treated (B) and dyed (C) Jade, or larger pieces of Jade that may not fit in lab spectrometers.

The Three Cs: Carving, CAD, and Casting by MJSA " At the Bench Live"

Location of event: GILA ROOM
Time: 3:30 - 5:00 PM, Saturday, February 8
Hosted by: Gary Dawson

Whether hand-carving models or creating them through CAD, bench jewelers must understand casting’s dynamics to ensure those models can become well-made jewelry. Discover tips and tricks for creating precise models that will lead to clean castings.