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2011 Tucson AGA Conference & Gala Dinner Dance was held on February 2, 2011

Of Pearls and Gemstones - New Treasures & Challenges

In response to the many exciting developments in the pearl industry during the past couple of years, the AGA Tucson Conference Committee invited a diverse group of gemologists and research scientists from the international gemological community to deliver a comprehensive program: Of Pearls and Gemstones—New Treasures and Challenges.

Speakers & Topics

Christopher Smith, President American Gemological Laboratory, New York, will provide an update on gemological challenges observed in the laboratory.

Alan Hodgkinson, President of the Scottish Gemmological Association, is a longtime supporter and favorite presenter at AGA conferences. Alan’s classic approach to gemology stresses trusting the clues the gemstone reveals to the observer. Visual Optics Re-Visited: A New Look At The Benefits & Limitations, promises to be a wonderfully enlightening presentation with hands-on opportunity to see for yourself the power of "Visual Optics" as a tool to identification.

Thomas Hainschwang, the founder of GEMLAB, Lichtenstein is a research gemologist and formerly led the colored diamond department for the GIA research laboratory in Geneva.  His recent identification of "Faux" natural pearls entering the market has stocked the industry. Come and learn about the use of natural pearls as nuclei to produce large beautiful but "faux" natural pearls.

Elisabeth Strack, Gemmologisches Institut Hamburg, Germany is a leading authority on Pearl Cultivation, History and Varieties. Her presentation, "Sea Water & Fresh Water Cultured Pearls: Distinguishing Features" is a must for anyone buying, selling or appraising pearls.  Elisabeth’s talk will also include comments on the rise of the Non-Nacreous Pearls.

Dr. Megan Davis & Hector Acosta-Salmon, Aquaculture Facility at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University, will be discussing the Cultivation of the Conch Pearl, How It Compares to Natural & What the Future Holds.

Ken Scarratt, GIA Thailand will discuss Treatments Used to Enhance Natural & Cultured Pearls & How to Identify Them. Mr. Scaratt will also be participating during the afternoon session with the presentation, Inclusions: How They Can Assist in Identifying Gemstones, Treatments & Origin.

The evening concluded with a festive dinner, fund raising auction and awards ceremony, honoring this year’s AGA Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology recipient - Stuart Robertson.

The AGA Conference was held at the Marriott University Park in Tucson, Arizona.

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