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The AGA Conference...

Where great minds meet!

John Koivula and Richard Hughes at the AGA Gala


Origin Coding Emerald

The 2019 AGA Tucson Gemological Conference & Gala
with the Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology

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National Jeweler article on this great conference...

Latest Gem Research Highlights - see what you missed on February 6, 2019

We spent the day with peers & learned of the latest gem finds, research & industry-leading trends from those in the know. Gemological challenges of today and the future are addressed by internationally recognized gem researchers.

Daniel Nyfeler

Gemstone Paternity Test - Daniel Nyfeler (bio)

The cutting-edge technology behind gemstone traceability will be explained by Daniel Nyfeler, Managing Director of Gübelin Laboratory, Switzerland. Nyfeler shared the lab's program to identify the history of gem materials combining DNA tagging and blockchain accountability. Initiated with emeralds in partnership with Gemfields, the "Provenance Proof Initiative" brought the discussion of industry transparency to the forefront.

Jeffery Bergman

Our Newest Emerald Source - Jeffery Bergman (bio)

Jeffery Bergman, founder and director of Primagem, Thailand reported on the state of the emerging Ethiopian emerald production. Mr. Bergman is a key participant in this market and discussed deposits, qualities, identifying characteristics, treatments and projections for future production and their distribution channels.

Gina Latendresse

Pearls of the New World & Beyond - Gina Latendresse (bio)

Natural pearls from the Americas captivated the European market hundreds of years ago and continue to be a vibrant industry niche. We learned about U.S. freshwater varieties like winged, pimplebacks, rosebuds and snail pearls. Did you know that the American freshwater pearl business also supplies nucleus material for the creation of Tahitian pearls? Attributes of other natural pearls, including conch, scallop, abalone, Baja, Melo and Quahog were examined as well as some telltale signs of cultured pearl detection. Numerous examples were available for hands-on examination by attendees.

Dr. Claudio Milisenda

Thanks to the length of the US. Government shutdown, Laura Koss from the FTC will not be in Tucson. This presentation is rescheduled for the AGA Las Vegas conference in June.

Fortunately we enjoyed Jon Phillips!

Canadian Diamonds, From Mine to Market, eh… - Jon Phillips (bio)

We learn how one the world's leading producers finds, recovers, brands and sees the future for Canadian diamonds.

Dr. Claudio Milisenda

An In-depth Look at Tourmaline - Dr. Claudio Milisenda (bio)

The tourmaline group includes a number of complex boron-aluminium silicate minerals and surpasses all other gemstones by its wide range of colours. Well-formed tourmaline crystals are valued by mineral specimen collectors and cut specimens belong to the world's most popular gemstones. Dr. Milisenda, Managing Director of the DSEF German Gem Lab, covered the commercial important varieties of tourmaline, discussed about origin factors, as well as treatments and imitations of tourmaline currently encountered in a gemmological laboratory.

Workshops were available to conference registrants on a first come, first serve basis. Others enjoyed Dr. Milisenda's program on Tourmaline.

Dr. Çiğdem Lüle

Workshop 1: Gem Treatments & Their Influence on the Market - Dr. Çiğdem Lüle (bio)

This workshop brought practicing gemologists and appraisers up to date on gem treatments, their prevalence, identification challenges and their effect on the global gem business. The focus was on some overlooked yet ubiquitous treatments such as coated gems of different species. Attendees had the opportunity to examine several treated gems at the end of the presentation.

Gary Smith

Workshop 2: Carats, Carrots or Karats - Gary Smith (bio)

Gary is a forensic gemologist and master goldsmith. He provided attendees with an overview of the history of precious metal testing from ancient times to present day electronic devices plus an analysis of the FTC's latest Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, & Pewter Industries 16 CFR Part 22.

Do you know if it's legal to sell 8k gold jewelry?

Sam Lloyd

Workshop 3: Building a Better Foundation - Sam Lloyd of Gem-A (bio)

If you don't have a microscope or refractometer handy – what do you do? Hand-held testing equipment can provide quick and easy clues as to the identification of gemstones, they even fit in your bag or pocket! This hands-on workshop guided us through some of Gem-A's favourite tools; it strengthened our technique and provide us with some handy takeaway tips and tricks that to use anywhere in the field – whether you're at an industry event, or, in an actual field! This workshop was perfect for gemmologists that are just getting started with hand-held tools or for those looking for a refresher.

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

The Conference ran from 8:30-4:30 with a Champagne reception 6:00 and Gala Dinner/Dance 7:00-11:00.

It was held at the Tucson Marriott University Park Hotel Conference Center.


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