AGL to Reopen Under Smith’s Leadership

Christopher SmithAmerican Gemological Laboratories will reopen after being closed by its previous owner, Collectors Universe, when it chose to exit the gem and jewelry business March 2.

The gem identification laboratory, founded in 1977, will reopen under the new ownership/leadership of Christopher P. Smith, vice president and chief gemologist of AGL for the past two years. In a statement on Saturday, AGL said an agreement in principle was reached for Smith to purchase AGL, including its name and various assets, from Collectors Universe.

“I have been directly involved with the operation of AGL and having helped manage the business since December 2006; acquiring the lab seemed like a natural progression.” Smith said.

The new AGL will retain most of the original team including Smith, Elizabeth Quinn Darenius, Maria Frances, Sun Joo Chung, and Bilal Mahmood, “providing a seamless transition and continuation of the high-level services,” according to the statement.

Smith is an internationally renowned gemologist. He began his career at the Gemological Institute of America’s Gem Trade Lab in California and was more recently GIA’s director of Colored Stone Services at its New York laboratory. Smith also was a past director of the Gübelin Gem Lab, in Luzern, Switzerland, where he worked for nearly 12 years.

Smith most recently received the prestigious Antonio C. Bonanno award for Excellence in Gemology by the Accredited Gemologists Association and has been widely published internationally on a broad range of gem-related topics—including gemstone treatments, their detection, and proper disclosure; gemstone origins; diamonds; and colored diamonds, their characterization and treatment detection and new gem materials. He has been a recipient of the Edward J. Gübelin award for most valuable article in Gems & Gemology, as well as the Richard T. Liddicoat award from the American Gem Society. Smith has been instrumental in improving the methodology of gemological testing and developing innovative disclosure terminology. He was also a founding member of the Laboratory Manual Harmonization Committee, a collaborative effort of major gem labs around the world to come together and harmonize reporting nomenclature.

AGL will operate at the same location and all contact numbers remain the same: 580 Fifth Avenue, Suite 706, New York, NY 10036. Tel. 212-704-0727 and Fax 212-764-7614.