DC GIA Alumni Lecture

Thursday, January 19th, 2006

Gary Roskin, gemstone editor of Jewelers Circular Keystone magazine provided a cornucopia (in his own words a �smorgasbord�) of information during a fact-filled evening. The variety of topics Gary covered reflected his great enthusiasm for gemology and everything related to it. Never was a presentation more all-encompassing and the evening�s quick pace can only be compared to a fast moving ride through the world of gemology: colorful, exciting and fun as well as intriguing! Gary�s inside knowledge of the stories he shared gave the audience the opportunity to hear many micro-lectures packed into one.

Tonight's speaker, JCK Magazine's Gary Roskin

Tonight’s speaker, JCK Magazine’s Gary Roskin

From tanzanite to green ziosite, from Paraiba tourmaline to Yogo sapphires, from Sweet Home rhodochrosite to zultanite we heard what was coming, going, and what is hot and what is not.

The details about Chinese freshwater mantle tissue-nucleated cultured pearls, many of which have been identified by laboratories as 100% nacre, will no doubt shake up the pearl trade a bit. Yes, this is a mouth-full, and yes it will be a challenge to explain these realities to a customer….! Some of these highly metallic looking fresh water strands are demanding prices of $11,000 and up. In contrast, abundant small beryllium-treated sapphires are selling now for around $8 a carat.

Chapter president Toby Fitzkee welcomes new members for 2006

Chapter president Toby Fitzkee welcomes new members for 2006

Long-time members Etta Saunders and Bobby Mann appear to be counting the house.

Long-time members Etta Saunders and Bobby Mann appear to be counting the house.

Not only was this evening chocked full of new topics, it also included some information-sharing, and hopefully we will hear more about Bobby Mann�s granular shell, which may shed some light on one of Gary�s gemological mysteries. Gary�s account of the small but awesome Idar-Oberstein gem show was impeccable. The �I am here, now what I do for the next three days?� question is quite appropriate as verified by someone who has been there.

Cathy Gaber and agate specialist Courtland Lee

Cathy Gaber and agate specialist Courtland Lee

Gary enlightened us about the changes which haven taken place in some of the major Gem laboratories like GIA and AGTA. AGTA has enriched itself with the presence of John Koivula, and Richard Hughes in addition to one of our recent speakers, Lore Kiefert. AGTA is obviously becoming a think-tank/powerhouse of gemological know how and expertise. Questions about the recent GIA lab bribery case and the resulting re-staffing of GIA�s NY laboratory in light of ethics and misconduct claims were answered as Gary clarified some of the information reported in the news media. The GIA changes in laboratory report price structuring and some policy changes hopefully will avoid problems like these in the future. Even though the case has apparently been settled, the diamond report issuing industry will most likely have to keep a very close eye on procedures to regain the trust of the public. The introduction of the new cut grade in diamond reports may be of interest to both the public and the trade.

A final task for Gary.... picking tonight's raffle winner

A final task for Gary…. picking tonight’s raffle winner

Diamonds as always are a hot topic and Gary shared the newest information about HPHT technology for fancy color as well as for colorless material. Beautiful photos of pink diamonds accompanied the story about the Argyle Pink Diamond tender in seven different cities around the world. The mine only produced 60 stones in one year and a 1.02 carat fancy deep purplish pink with a reddish cast took our breath away. Gary is not bashful about getting to the truth and telling it the way it is. However, he did say he liked the �Bazooka� bubble gum colored diamond best….not exactly a lab-approved description of color, but everyone agreed it was a beauty! Who knows maybe someday �Bazooka� will appear in some report somewhere! As we learned there are many surprises yet to come, and hopefully Gary will keep writing about them!


Written by Denise Nelson

Photographs by Bill Scherlag

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