--- Close Window ---
Elisabeth Strack

Elisabeth Strack started her gemmological training with Professor Schlossmacher at the Institut für Edelsteinforschung in Idar-Oberstein and she continued it in England and at the Gemological Institute of America. In 1967, she was awarded the Tully Medal as a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain.

After several years of practical work as a gemologist with mining companies, jewellers and institutions of the jewellery industry in different countries, she established her own gem testing laboratory in Hamburg in 1976, which she named "Gemmologisches Institut Hamburg" in 1994.

Elisabeth Strack has since made a name for herself as an independent expert. Her daily work enables her to see hundreds of pieces of jewellery which she documents and uses as a basis in her scientific work. Elisabeth Strack travels frequently and gives lectures and seminars both in Germany and abroad. She has published three books with Rühle-Diebener-Verlag. The first edition of her pearl book appeared in 1982.

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.

Ken Scaratt

Ken Scarratt has more than 30 years of experience in gemology, and is considered one of the top gemologists in the world. He has extensive experience in the identification of a broad range of gem materials and detection of treatments.

Ken began his career in gemology with the Gem Testing Laboratory of Great Britain, where he worked with some of the well-known greats of gemology and eventually rose to be Chief Executive and Laboratory Director. During his leadership in Great Britain, their lab was affiliated with our laboratory in providing GIA grading report services to the London trade.

He headed the AIGS Laboratory in Bangkok prior to his seven year tenure as director of the AGTA Laboratory in New York. Mr. Scarratt also worked for GIA briefly in 1993 and returned in March 2005.

Ken has authored or co-authored articles in many gemological journals worldwide, and has co-authored two books: The Crown Jewels, and The Pearl & the Dragon. Topics of these works ranged from the causes of color in diamonds; diamond synthetics and treatments; synthetic and treated colored stones; rare gemstones; natural and cultured pearls; gemstone origins; and the British Crown Jewels.

He is one of the world’s leading authorities on natural pearls, both saltwater and freshwater, as well as the rare Melo pearl. He has lectured on gemological topics in the U.S. and throughout Europe and Asia.

Ken is Thailand Managing Director, South East Asia and Director, GIA Research.

Speaker Bios from the 2011 Tucson Conference & Gala - Wednesday, February 2, 2011

dr. don hoover

Alan Hodgkinson, with 53 years in the jewellery industry, is a much traveled lecturer and educator whose work covers many aspects of the field. He has done extensive work on emeralds, opals, and diamonds, but he is perhaps best known for his innovative and highly effective "Visual Optics" approach to gem identification and other practical gem identification techniques, including ways to see and learn more using traditional gem testing instrumentation.

He is the originator of the Synthetic Emerald Filter, and the Stained Green Jadeite Filter. He is the author of Visual Optics, and a new book, Gem Testing Techniques (to be released early in 2008), and many articles on gem identification.

Alan is a Fellow of the Gemmological Association (FGA) with Distinction, a Freeman of Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, Honorary Member of the Canadian Gemmological Association, an Honorary Registered Valuer (UK), and President of the newly formed Scottish Gemmological  Association.

Alan was the first recipient of the AGA Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology in the year 2000 and Winner of the David Wilkins Salver from the UK Institute of Registered Valuers.

Alan's Mission statement is" to share and encourage in others an enthusiasm for gemstones and the fascinating world of gemology."

thomas hainschwang

Thomas Hainschwang has an extensive gemological education, completeing 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.

Dr. Salmon and Dr. Davis

Dr. Megan Davis &
Dr. Héctor Acosta-Salmón

From 2006 to 2009, Drs. Héctor Acosta-Salmón and Megan Davis at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University (HBOI-FAU) became the first and only group to develop a reliable technique to grow queen conch cultured pearls. Rose Pearl, LLC, was launched in August 2010 to commercialize, produce, and market conch cultured pearls. Rose Pearl has a U.S.-based aquaculture facility and works in collaboration with HBOI-FAU. 

Héctor Acosta-Salmón, Ph.D., leads Rose Pearl's pearl seeding operations, assists in product development, and manages aquaculture of the conch. He has been working in the fields of pearl culture and pearl quality for more than 12 years and conducted research with all the Western Pacific commercial species of pearl oysters including the akoya, the black-lip, the silver-lip, and the 'mabe' pearl oysters, and also with the rainbow-lip and the Panamanian pearl oysters from the Eastern Pacific. He focused on pearl oyster broodstock management and pearl quality during his doctoral studies at James Cook University in Australia. In 2006-2009, as a researcher at HBOI-FAU he used his pearl oyster culture technology to develop techniques to produce queen conch cultured pearls. Dr. Acosta-Salmón is an associate scientist at Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste in La Paz, B.C.S., Mexico. He holds his M.Sc. and his Ph.D. in aquaculture.

Megan Davis, Ph.D., manages Rose Pearl's production operations and product development, and is responsible for aquaculture of conch during the pearl-culture growout phase. She also plays a vital role with Dr. Acosta- Salmón in seeding the queen conch for pearl growth. Dr. Davis has been working in aquaculture and marine science for 30 years. As co-founder of a commercial queen conch farm in the Turks and Caicos Islands, she developed commercial culture of conch from eggs to juveniles. She joined Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University in 1996, and in 2000, she led an effort that succeeded in inducing egg-laying in tank-reared conch, effectively closing the entire life cycle of the queen conch for use in aquaculture. She is the director for aquaculture and stock enhancement at HBOI-FAU. Her aquaculture skills with queen conch provided the necessary technology for the successful culture of queen conch pearls. Her other interests are to develop aquaculture species for food, stock enhancement, and to ease fishing pressure on wild stocks using cost effective, energy efficient, and environmentally sustainable practices. She holds her M.Sc. in Marine Ecology and her Ph.D. in Biology.

--- Close Window ---