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AGA Tucson Conference & Gala Dinner, Dance & Auction - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

(Read the topic Spotlights here...)

Whether your interests pertain to undisclosed treatments, new emerald fillers, value-added gemstone cutting, "collector gems," amazing historical tidbits, or how to take amazing gem photographs, this conference is a must. Expert speakers include the following:

Conference Spotlights

(Photo © GIA)

Tablet to Tablet: Treasured Pages from Past to Present

Dona Mary Dirlam, Director of the Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center

In a dramatically illustrated lecture, Dona will highlight 15 different sets of library and gem materials from 1496 to the present. The talk traces the development of the written word while showcasing the GIA Library's extraordinary collection of rare books about gems, minerals, and natural science. Most of these books had never before been on display until a recent exhibit in Carlsbad, California of the same name.

Dona will include an overview of how the GIA librarians plan to provide greater access to these rare books for the gem community globally.  This goal is being achieved through a massive digitization project using newly acquired state-of-the art scanning equipment.

(Photo by Kevin Schumacher. © GIA.)

Covering a span over 500 years long, the books described trace the development of gemology, crystallography, jewelry manufacturing, jewelry design, pricing of gemstones and precious metals, diamond mining as well as the documentation of one family's incredible wealth: the Romanov jewels and regalia.

The oldest book described is Pliny's Natural History, from 1496,the content of which dates back to 77 CE. It is our foundation on ancient gemology. Pliny died during the first recorded eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.

One-of-a-kind works include original renderings of various jewelers' designs, a handwritten book from 1840 about minerals from Great Britain illustrated with beautiful hand-colored plates and a self-published book containing original artwork that the author, Wendell Wilson, created for the Mineralogical Record.

Lore Kiefert, Gubelin Gem Lab - Luzem, Switzerland

Lab Contamination

The increasing need for gemological information on new finds, treatments and origins has lead to a rise in the number of gem labs and researchers performing the tests relied upon by the trade.

Unfortunately, improper training or specimen preparation can lead to false conclusions and Dr. Kiefert will reveal some startling mistakes from her encounters.

New Ethiopian Black Opal Find

Dr. Kiefert will share her current research of the Ethiopian black opal found in 2013. While previous black opal from Ethiopia proved to be treated, natural material is now emerging from Welo Province.

The location, properties and test results to date will be examined as well as viability in the marketplace.


Focusing on Photography

The Art of Photomicrography
Danny Sanchez

Photomicrography provides us with a glimpse into the otherwise unseeable. In gemology it allows us to better understand a stone's origin as well as any processes it may have undergone. From lighting and specimen preparation to microscopy tricks, "image stack" technology and the software he uses, Danny will give us an inside look at his cutting edge position in the field and how the everyday gemologist can adapt affordable equipment to record the otherwise unseeable.

Smart Phone Photomicrography
Edward Boehm

On the other hand, did you know that your phone is smart enough to also take some great photographs through the microscope? Edward Boehm will demonstrate his road-tested tips and techniques to add photomicrography to your portable arsenal.


Collector Gems: A Co-Evolution of Life, Minerals, and Technology

Jeffery Bergman, International Expert On Exotic Gems

A few decades ago names like Bastnasite, Hackmanite, Jeremejevite, Painite and Taffeeite were reverently whispered among mineral collectors, gem geeks and scientists. And while most of us are familiar with trapiche emeralds, few among us realize there are trapiche sapphires and rubies as well.

Today, in no small degree thanks to TV and internet vendors, these and many other "obscure" gem rarities are being sought by a growing number of increasingly savvy rock hounds and consumers. In an evermore competitive marketplace, these gems offer new opportunities, but only for those who are knowledgeable about them.

Jeffery Bergman will take you on a memorable journey, explaining and showing how many of these gems were formed, from the Big Bang, to the formation of our solar system and planet, to the development of over 4,500 known mineral species.

Find out more about these sparkling creations and learn how modern technology has affected supply and demand for them and take advantage of the opportunity to see and examine a few dozen of these genuine rarities—an opportunity almost as rare as the gems themselves. Remember: it was just a few decades ago that diaspore, tanzanite and tsavorite were virtually unknown in the marketplace …and just imagine what new discoveries in the mineral kingdom are waiting to be unearthed … and what opportunities are yet to come!

Faceting as a Factor of Gemstone Appraisal on Tomorrow's Market

Victor Tuzlukov, Gem-Cutter Extraordinaire

Come see how offering gems that are exceptionally well cut will set you apart from the competition, and the results will not only be sparkling gems, but a sparkling bottom line!

Whether talking about diamonds or colored gems, knowledgeable professionals understand how important good cutting is in transforming rough material into the dazzling product we see in jewelry. What many do not know, however, is that many – possibly most – of the cut and polished gems we see today are not dazzling and are not exhibiting their full potential. Even what we think of as beautifully cut gems, based on existing standards, most fall far short of their potential. In the hands of a skilled cutter, however, the results can be nothing short of mesmerizing!

With today's much greater understanding of how light moves through gemstones, and advances in equipment available to lapidary artists such as Victor Tuzlukov, cutters are able to control the light movement, resulting in gems with far greater brilliance, fire and dispersion. A skilled cutter can shape gem rough into a glorious eye-catcher, re-cut a stone that is "pretty" into a gem that is truly stunning, and their allure will yield sparkling benefits in all facets of the field!

About the AGA Conference & Gala - Register Now...

Conference check-in begins at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Conference sessions run from 8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. Continental breakfast, light lunch & Gala ticket are included with the conference fee. The annual AGA membership meeting will be held during the lunch break of the conference.

The evening will conclude with a festive dinner and awards ceremony, honoring the 2015 winner of the prestigious Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology.

The Gala Champagne Reception is from 6:30 to 7:30 pm followed by the Gala Dinner Dance, Bonanno Award Ceremony & Auction from 7:30 to 11:00 p.m.

Gala Dinner Dance Tickets Only

If you wish to attend our Annual Gala Dinner Dance but not the conference, tickets are also available.

Early pricing for Gala Only Tickets:
AGA & Gem-A Members: $75, Non-Members: $95

Late pricing for Gala Only: $95 & $105

Conference Fees - Early Registration until January 15, 2015

Conference registration includes continental breakfast, light lunch and the AGA Annual Dinner Gala featuring great networking opportunities, auction, live band, dance floor and the presentation of the Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology.

Early Registration Fees:
AGA & Gem-A Members: $195
Non-Members: $240

Register Now...

Registration after January 15, 2015:
AGA & Gem-A Members: $230
Non-Members: $280

LOCATION: Marriott University Park Hotel Conference Center,
880 E. Second Street, Tucson, Arizona (map)

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