Gem experts meet in Coober Pedy

A French professor specialising in opals and coloured diamonds, Australia's leading colour gemstone expert and Asia's top jade authority were the key speakers at the…
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A French professor specialising in opals and coloured diamonds, Australia’s leading colour gemstone expert and Asia’s top jade authority were the key speakers at the Gemmological Association of Australia’s national conference in Coober Pedy.

More than 60 delegates attended the conference which was hosted by Jack Townsend, president of the GAA’s South Australian division.

Emmanuel Fritsch, a professor of physics and teacher of gemmology at France’s University of Nantes, reported on sophisticated microscopy which is shedding new light on the causes of colour of opal and explained how colour occurred in coloured diamonds.

Tay Thye Sun, a member of the Far East Gemmological Institute in Singapore and world renowned jade expert, focused his talk on the identification and valuation of jade warning delegates about the increasing amount of treated and imitation jade creeping into the market.

Meanwhile Australian gemmologist and gem merchant Terry Coldham challenged his audience’s preconceived ideas about gemstones by discussing what makes one stone over another valuable enough to be called a gem.

Speaking after the conference, GAA federal president Grant Hamid said the annual meeting was an opportunity for local and international gemmologists to discuss important issues facing the industry and share new research and findings.

“With the jewellery industry becoming more and more globalised, the role of the gemmologist to provide the identification and verification of gemstones is becoming increasingly critical, especially for consumers,” he said.

The GAA was founded in 1945 to provide research and education in the field of gemmology and has around 2000 members with branches in every state in Australia.

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