Renowned gemologist and jewelry historian Jack Ogden, FGA, was appointed chief executive of Gem-A, the Gemmological Association and Gem Testing Laboratory of Great Britain, on Nov. 1, 2004. Based at Gem-A’s Hatton Garden headquarters, Ogden is responsible for all Gem-A operations, including education, instruments, and research, and will oversee the ongoing development of the Gem Testing Laboratory of Great Britain. Former chief executive Terry Davidson retired after 50-plus years in the jewelry trade.
“Gem-A is an amazing organization, and I feel privileged to be given this opportunity,” says Ogden.
Ogden was born into a jewelry family and spent the early years of his career working in Harrogate, Luzerne, and London. In 1971 he gained his FGA (with distinction), and was invited to join the committee of the Diamond, Pearl, and Precious Stone Section of the London Chamber of Commerce, which at the time ran the gem-testing laboratory.
By the 1980s, Ogden’s interest had turned almost entirely to research into jewelry materials and technologies, and he earned a doctorate from Durham University. He became chief executive of the National Association of Goldsmiths (NAG) and secretary general of the International Jewellery Federation (CIBJO) in 1995. He helped revitalize and rebrand the NAG training courses and also launched and edited NAG’s magazine, The Jeweller.
The Ogden family moved to Germany in 2000. Ogden’s wife, Dr. Eleni Vassilika, became a director of a major museum there, and Ogden took the opportunity to create an international jewelry consulting company—Osmiridium Ltd. A major part of its business has been the authentication of antique jewelry and related objects on the basis of materials and technology. Recently there has been talk of a possible London-based partnership between Gem-A and Osmiridium to offer testing facilities for antique jewelry.
Ogden has written articles and lectured widely on jewelry, gems, and related subjects and is a founding member of the Society of Jewellery Historians. In 2003 he launched the international Jewellery and Precious Metal network (JPM) a free Web- and e-mail-based communication network for those professionally involved in the jewelry industry worldwide.