GIA Alumni Gem Identification Event at The Bourse

by queenofcolordiamonds

Last night I attended GIA Alumni’s Gem Identification evening at the Diamond Bourse of Canada.  The concept of the event was to look at a number of gemstones up close and personal.  Some gems were marked and some weren’t and you had to figure out what they were based on a variety of equipment, charts and books as reference material.

It was so much fun to meet the gang from the Alumni Chapter and of course meeting Leila Haikonen, the General Manager of the Diamond Bourse of Canada.


Nicole with Leila Haikonen, General Manager of the Diamond Bourse of Canada


Here I am with Lanis Mosher

I will admit I am a novice when it comes to gemstones, so it was so it was quite nice to get to see new stones and of course the amazing equipment.   I think that for me, looking at stones in a new way was the best part.  For instance, I really enjoyed using the gem refractometer.


And here I am using a spectroscope for the first time.  Very cool to be able to see the different colors in a gemstone even though the colors are so close to one another.


And then there are the qualities used to determine a gemstone.  With diamonds, they are either real or treated so there isn’t much detection necessary.  Gems have the refractive index, and an array of variables to consider (doubling, descriptive elements).  All I could think about was – how hard is this lab course going to be when I go to GIA in the spring.?

Ok, so I have to be honest…. I enjoyed the evening, meeting everyone in person and being around other industry enthusiasts, but honestly I didn’t have the same fascination or appreciation of gemstones, that I do for a diamond, particularly a natural fancy color diamond.  I wanted to be as interested or as excited as the other GIA Alumni members but I lost a bit of interest after I looked at the first few gems (Garnet, Beryl and Zircon) .  Sure, I like rubies, sapphires  and emeralds as much as the next girl but there is something about the dispersion of a well cut diamond, the facet arrangement and the ray of spectral colors that bounce off of a diamond that is so beautiful and exciting to me particularly when it has a highly saturated hue. – not to mention modifying colors which is an entirely other subject that fascinates me.

I also found it interesting that I naturally gravitated towards smaller well cut gems with high concentration of body color: blues, pinks and greens.   It felt very comfortable for me to pick up a .26 vivid green Garnet and examine it under the microscope and jewelers loupe like I was sitting in my office at work.  I suppose I’ve been pretty spoiled by looking at the most magnificent diamonds every day that it’s just hard to look at anything else!

Having said that, it was a great night and I’m totally looking forward to the next GIA event!