AGTA donates $125,000 to GIA to support colored gemstone research

The American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) has donated $125,000 to the Gemological Institute of America’s Endowment Fund for Colored Gemstone Research. Douglas K. Hucker, AGTA’s executive director, will be inducted into GIA’s League of Honor Oct. 12 during the annual dinner in New York City in recognition of the gift, and a classroom at GIA’s Robert Mouawad Campus in Carlsbad will be named after the organization.

“The colored stone industry is changing dramatically each year as new gem materials and markets are discovered, and treatments become more sophisticated,” Hucker said. “The need for us to work with organizations like GIA to research these issues, and make both the industry and consumers aware of them is critical.”

AGTA and GIA have a long history of collaboration. Scientists from the AGTA Gemological Testing Center in New York City worked with GIA Research to address the sudden appearance of large Chinese freshwater cultured pearls on the market in the late 1990s. Most recently, both teams studied heat-treated blue sapphires with unusual color zoning.

The organization’s donation will be invested in GIA’s permanent Endowment Fund to generate funds for colored gemstone research as requested by AGTA.

“This donation from AGTA will help ensure GIA has the necessary tools and equipment to remain on the forefront of treatments and synthetics that continue to face the colored stone industry,” said Linda Ellis Harmeling, vice president and chief Development officer for GIA.

AGTA, an association of U.S. and Canadian colored gemstone and cultured pearl professionals, dedicates itself to the ethical promotion of the trade, which is why the organization chose to support GIA’s colored gemstone research, Hucker said.

For more information about the GIA Endowment Fund, contact GIA Director of Institute Relations Jane Lynch by e-mail,, or call 800-421-7250, ext. 4114. Outside the U.S., call 760-603-4114.

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