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chris smith

Chris Smith began his gemological career in 1986 when he joined the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Beginning as a diamond grader, he soon moved into the gem identification department, working with such notables as Shane McClure, Bob Kane, Chuck Fryer, Emmanuel Fritsch and others.

In 1991, he moved to Switzerland to join the Gubelin Laboratory in Luzern, where he worked for almost 12 years, becoming Laboratory Director. During his tenure at Gubelin, he oversaw operations, developed key new services, expanded the scope of Gubelin’s operations globally, and pioneered research into several areas of gemology, including the further development and refinement of country-of-origin criterion for rubies, sapphires, emeralds, alexandrites, and other gemstones.

In 1993, Chris returned to the GIA Laboratory in New York City as Director of Identification Services, continuing his work in the areas of research and colored stone services. In December, 2006, Chris joined the American Gemological Laboratories (AGL) as Vice President and Chief Gemologist where, together with C.R. (Cap) Beesley, he is spearheading the growth and development of AGL colored stone services.

His work has focused on several important areas and taken him to numerous gem mines in many countries, including Myanmar, (Mogok), Sri Lanka, the Ural mountains in Russia, Australia, and Thailand. His primary work has focused on several important areas: expanding the characterization of ruby and sapphire from a number of newly discovered deposits, such as Mong Hsu ruby, sapphires from Vietnam, rubies and sapphires from Nepal and rubies from Tajikistan; the distinctions between non-treated and treated gems, covering a variety of heating techniques used on corundum and HPHT treatment of diamonds, and other techniques; the origin of color and its identification in rubies and sapphires, diamond, coral and other materials; the identification of, and distinction between, natural and synthetic gems; and the further development of analytical techniques and their application in gemology.

Chris is a sought-after lecturer and has been widely published; he is a recipient of the Most Valuable Article Award for Gems & Gemology. Chris was also a founding member of the Laboratory Manual Harmonization Committee (LMHC).

Chris was the recipient of the AGA Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology in the year 2009.

dr. cigdem lule

Dr. Cigdem Lule PhD has been a gemology instructor at GIA London since 2004.

She has dedicated a significant part of her professional career to the identification of gem findings from archaeological sites, with an emphasis on origin investigation. Dr. Lule is well known in this area of research, contributing time to several archaeo-logical studies during the past decade. In addition to her PhD in mineralogy, Dr. Lule also earned her FGA and DGA in 1998 and her GG in 2005. Prior research positions include, The Chevening Scholarship for PhD. research at the Ashmolean Museum of Oxford and the Natural History Museum of London, UK awarded by the British Council of Turkey in 2000. She also worked as a research assistant in the Geological Engineering Department of Ankara University between 1998 and 2001.

Since 2004, the focus of her research has been Chromium-bearing Chalcedony from NW Turkey. In addition, Dr. Lule established the Gem Laboratory of Ankara University and has trained graduates and undergraduates in gemological research.

thomas hainschwang

Thomas Hainschwang has an extensive gemological education, completing 10 years of gemmology and geology courses at Universities including University of Nantes and University of Manoa, Oahu, Hawaii. He attended private industry programs including Gem-A and GIA. During his studies he funded the GEMLAB Laboratory for Gemstone and Pearl Analysis and Reports in 1996. In 2005, he was selected to conduct coloured diamond research at GIA’s GemTechLab in Geneva.

In 2007 he re-launched GEMLAB and is now working for GEMLAB as the managing director of the lab. Besides his active role in the launching of the laboratory, he is an published author in diamond, coloured stone and pearl research. He has also developed several instruments in the past two years.

Since his first steps in spectroscopy in 1998 he has been passionate for coloured diamonds and has developed his specialization in the field of diamond research and origin of colour determination, besides a deep interest in all other gems, pearls and organic materials.

Currently Mr. Hainschwang is working on his PhD about a diamond topic at the University of Nantes under the supervision of Prof. Emmanuel Fritsch and Dr. Benjamin Rondeau.

ann simpson

Ann Simpson has over 15 years of domestic and international experience in visual displays and lighting. Her primary responsibilities at Dazor involve engineering LED product lines and technical marketing.

Prior to Dazor Manufacturing Corp., Ms. Simpson was a Program Manager for the C17 Simulator program at McDonnell Douglas. She was on the development team of a wide angle visual system for the VITAL program used on both commercial and military flight simulators.

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, she received her BS degree in Physics from William Jewell College and her BS in Electrical Engineering from Washington University.

Speaker Bios from the 2010 Tucson Conference & Gala - Wednesday, February 3, 2010

dr. don hoover

Dr. Don Hoover, FGA

Dr. Hoover’s education includes bachelors and masters degrees in electrical engineering, and a doctorate in geophysics. Most of his professional career in geophysics has been as a research geophysicist with the U. S. Geological Survey in Denver, Colorado. He has over 100 professional publications and reports related to exploration geophysics and mineral deposits. He has recently retired so as to be able to spend more time on his gemological research interests.

Dr. Hoover has studied with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), is a Charter member of the GIA Alumni Association, Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, and was granted an honorary Fellowship in the Gemmological Association of Australia. He was an organizer of the Colorado Gemological Association, and has served as President of the organization. He currently serves on the editorial review board of the Australian Gemmologist.

He is author of  "Topaz", a monograph on gem topaz in the Butterworth-Heinemann gem series. He has authored over thirty papers related to gems and gemology, principally related to instrumental techniques. Among these are papers on thermal testing probes [Journal of Gemmology,  June, 1982 ; Gems and Gemology, Summer, 1983], fluorescence excitation-emission spectra of  chromium-bearing gems [International Gemological Symposium, Los Angeles, 1991; Australian Gemmologist, May, 1993], Dispersion measurements with the gemmologist’s refractometer part 1 & 2 [Australian Gemmologist, 2000, 2001], A critical review of the ‘Hanneman refractometer’ [Journal of Gemmology, 2003], Crossed filters revisited, [Australian Gemmologist, 2005], Better refractometer results with the bright line technique [Australian Gemmologist, 2007], Magnetic susceptibility for gemstone discrimination [Australian Gemmologist, 2007], Magnetic susceptibility a better approach to defining garnets [Journal of Gemmology, 2008].

Dr. Hoover lived and worked in Brazil for several years, speaks Portuguese, and is quite familiar with the country, its geology and gem materials. He is currently working with Brazilians on projects there.

David Porter, GG

David Blount-Porter, GG

David Blount-Porter is co-founder and Director of public information for the Society of Natural Pearls. He built his career in jewelry manufacturing, design, estate & diamond appraisal in a retail sales and wholesale business development environment.

David began his career researching and learning the craft of silversmithing whose origins can be found in America’s native Indian settlements inhabiting the Mexican and Arizona Southwest regions.  In 1973 David founded Turquoise and Silver Trading Company (TSTC), a complete turnkey operation with focused expertise in the area of native arts and crafts including turquoise assessment, cutting and polishing, and the complete design and manufacturing of hand crafted southwest inspired design jewelry.

David's expertise in sales and marketing was the foundation for David's next venture in retail sales, and in 1981, David Porter Jewelry (DPJ) was launched in Pinole, California - an American Gem Society store. DPJ was a full service jewelry operation that actively sourced the finest and rarest jewelry pieces and gems from remote and exotic regions of the globe. The store opened with a display of The American Gemstone Jewelry Collection, designed and attended by Aldo Chipullo on loan from the Smithsonian. This store was the first in the US to be trusted with this collection.

In 1997, David’s entrepreneurial spirit saw him orchestrate the acquisition of rare jewels from royalty such as the Queen of Nepal, European aristocrats and other important collectors for established auction houses.

His experience culminated David’s most ambitious effort to date.  David spent three years developing a market for natural pearls under the auspices of Prince and Princess of Sulu and North Borneo, which involved the gathering of information and verification of the highly controversial and illusive Nautilus Pompilius Peal verified by the Gemologist Institute of America.

Today, David’s passion and love for his craft continues in his ongoing research and development with a mission of improving the communication between the major laboratories on natural pearl reporting, with a view of developing scientific  and globally accepted standards for the pearl industry.

richard hughes

Richard Hughes is a native of the United States and has spent many years in Asia, where his interest in precious stones was first kindled. Today he is Senior Vice President of Gemstone Acquisition & Marketing at NCS Group in Bangkok.

His career spans thirty years and is somewhat unusual in that he has been involved not only with academic and laboratory gemology, but also on the wholesale business side.

Traveling to scores of countries in search of precious stones, Richard Hughes has authored two books and more than a hundred articles on all aspects of gemology and the gem and jewelry trades. Richard’s "Ruby & Sapphire" is considered the standard work on the subject. His writings on the challenges posed to the gem industry by undisclosed gemstone treatments would prove prophetic. Richard’s appreciation and understanding of people, regardless of their lot in life, often earned him access to observe the interesting cultures and histories associated with some of the most important gem producing areas of the world. (Read more details on his website - ruby-sapphire.com

Richard was the recipient of the AGA Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology in the year 2010.

Stan Hogrebe

Stan J. Hogrebe is President & Chief Executive of Dazor Manufacturing Corp. with 15 years of domestic and international entrepreneurial, advisory, and executive experience in the task lighting industry. Prior to Dazor, Mr. Hogrebe was a Manager for the international accounting firm of KPMG, where he participated in financial audits and mergers and acquisitions of over 100 businesses including Citicorp, Emerson Electric, ESCO Electronics, General American Life Insurance, and Mercantile Bancshares.

His expertise included Securities and Exchange Commission regulatory compliance, and financial reporting integrity within the market sectors of Industrial Manufacturing, Government Contracting, Financial Institutions, and Insurance.

Stan current serves as Chairman of AGA's Task Force on Lighting.

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