AGA to Discuss Fluorescent Diamonds

One of the most controversial questions in diamond grading today will be on the agenda when the Accredited Gemologists Association holds its all-day Tucson conference.

How do you color grade fluorescent diamonds, when the diamond’s fluorescence can sometimes enhance the inherent body color of the diamond? Serving on the panel of experts for this year’s event will be Sheldon Kwiat, President, Kwiat Inc; Stanley Hogrebe, Chairman, Dazor Lighting; Tom Tashey, CEO, Professional Gem Sciences; Peter Yantzer, executive director, AGS Laboratories; Jack Ogden, CEO, Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A); and Tom Moses, GIA/GTL.

The conference will be held Feb. 6, 2008, at the Marriott University Park Hotel.

New lighting units may soon be available, allowing for more accurate, and consistent color grading. These new lamps not only provide lighting to grade the true inherent body color, but also to grade the perceived color resulting from the presence of fluorescence. Can the laboratories change the way in which fluorescent diamonds are graded?

Conference chair, gemologist-author Antoinette Matlins notes that while there will be strong resistance from the trade to having a new color grading standard, there may be benefits that could outweigh the negatives. For example, the wording on diamond grading reports might indicate “body color” and the “perceived body color” in addition to the customary strength and color of the fluorescence. Truly colorless and near-colorless diamonds (D-J) could become rarer, and prices might strengthen. At the same time, reports on diamonds with blue fluorescence could indicate that the diamond, under certain lighting conditions, will appear as a higher color grade.

Matlins notes that this positive comment on fluorescence might reduce “the prejudice that now pervades the marketplace against fluorescent diamonds.”

Other conference topics include: “Changing the Colors—New Directions in Gemstone Treatments,” examining new types of treatments and detection methods; “Gemological Tips and Techniques,” a hands-on workshop, showing innovative ways to get the most out of classic gemological techniques used by independent gemologists.

Presenters include Alan Hodgkinson, FGA; James Shigley, GIA Distinguished Research Fellow; Ted Themelis, research gemologist; Lore Kiefert, Director, AGTA Gemological Testing Center; Christopher Smith, Vice President, American Gemological Laboratories; Jay Neogi, CEO, Serenity Technology; and Ron Kearns, President, Azotic Coating Technology.

The cost for the event is $195 for AGA members and guests, $250 for non-AGA members, including the gala dinner-dance, award ceremony and special celebration of “100 Years of Gemmological Education.” For those interested in attending only the evening gala, tickets are $75 for AGA members and guests, $100 for non-members. For more information or to register, contact Jan Giamanco at 619-501-5444 or visit the AGA Web site.