From Prism Volume III: Member Opinion Letter from Roland Schluessel

By Roland Schluessel, Pillar & Stone International, Inc.

Hello, AGTA friends,

Gem merchants have one of the greatest jobs in the world because of the fascinating beauty of our products. Those of us in the trade who are driven by this passion for gems know they are undeniably linked to variety and beauty, but perhaps most important, gems are a business of integrity.

Our clients trust us to share our passion for beautiful gems but also the truth behind the purchases. One of the most significant rules in our trade is that trust is based on full disclosure. This rule is one of the fundamental principles of our American Gem Trade Association, and clients look to us to live this passion and honesty. Our AGTA practices virtually guarantee trust and generate sales.

The recent pandemic has left deep scars in many aspects of society and trade. The supply chain is as entangled with logistics as it is with proper disclosure. Lately, I have witnessed on a global stage the trend of proper disclosure that was growing before the pandemic being compromised by a variety of players. Happily, this is not the case within AGTA.

From Prism Volume III: Member Opinion Letter from Roland Schluessel

AGTA members can be proud that they remain true to their Code of Ethics and did not revert from it during tough times. This is proof of great strength, as principles are only principles when they are placed above the appeal of money!
No one should be particularly proud of ethical behavior—it should be the norm in any society or industry. Not to minimize its importance, but fair business practices at AGTA are a given and are particularly obvious during trade shows. There, everyone speaks the same language and are in person and accountable for their wares and actions. During Covid-19 lockdowns, some, under the faceless cover of the Internet, prioritized money over truth, selling gems that weren’t what they claimed. But not AGTA dealers.

The seriousness with which members conduct business is a testament to the organization and something that should be promoted and championed (even though I personally frown upon commercializing virtue).
Colorful gemstones speak for themselves. Where many scientists just see inorganic chemistry, dealers get lost in a world of subtle color differences, dancing reflections of light, and flashing facets that mirror each other or play hide and seek in the light. Every gem displays intriguing beauty and individuality. And, like a person, every gem tells a story. In fact, gemstones reveal geological history, like tenacious pieces of resistance that never surrender to the relentless erosion of time. Gemstones are pieces of eternity.

If AGTA dealers stick to the pillars of beauty, story, and full disclosure, few can sidetrack down the path of greenwashing.

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This article first ran in Prism Volume III 2023. See the flipbook by clicking here.