On November 14, the world experienced a super moon, the closest full moon to Earth since 1948. Appearing 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than normal, this luminous moon inspired the theme of the fifth biennial GIT conference. GIT 2016 – The Full Moon of GemUnity took place November 14 and 15 in the Thai beach resort town of Pattaya.
By Cynthia Unninayar
Evoking the importance of the Full Moon and the Unity of the global gems and jewelry industry, the GIT 2016 conference kicked off to an enthusiastic crowd of some 500 participants and guests. The morning began with a welcome message by Siripol Yodmuangcharoen, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (GIT), who talked about GIT’s support of the Thai gem and jewelry industry—an industry that is the third largest in terms of exports of the Southeast Asian nation.
His talk was followed by Dr. Pornsawat Wathanakul, Director of GIT. She discussed the importance of this type of global meeting, whose goal is to improve regional and international understanding and cooperation among scientists and major stakeholders, as well as to explore new methods and procedures in the gemological field. She also briefly discussed the pre-conference excursion to Mogok (This amazing trip will be featured in the next issue of Jewelry Showcase), as well as the post-conference excursion to Chanthaburi, the world’s capital of colored stones and Trat, home of the celebrated Siamese Ruby. (A report on this fascinating trip can be found later in this issue.)
The Importance of Scientific Research
Research of the kind presented at the GIT 2016 conference forms the bedrock of the gem and jewelry industry. Meetings such as this, where international experts meet and discuss a wide range of topics, are vitally important to the advancement of the sector. From the identification of treatments and origin of gemstones to the determination of synthetics, both for colored stones and diamonds, research is vital for consumers and consumer trust.
Also presented at GIT 2016, to round out the sector, were discussions by jewelry designers from around the world, as well as technological advances used in gem faceting and jewelry manufacture.
Speaking about the world of custom and exotic gem cuts, Russian expert gem cutter, Victor Tuzlulov, kicked off the morning’s keynote talks with his presentation entitled The Fourth “C”: Today and Tomorrow.
Next, U.S.-based Jewelry Showcase editor and trends specialist, Cynthia Unninayar, discussed The Dozen Dominant Design Directions for Fine Jewelry in 2017. Her presentation featured the major design categories of fine jewelry for 2017 and their evolution.
An informative discussion of Gem Corundum Deposits with Regards to their Geological Origin was presented by Gaston Giuliani, Director of Research at the Institute of Research for Development (IRD) in France.
Rounding out the keynote addresses, Rupak Sen, Sales & Marketing Director for Asia and the Middle East, Gemfields PLC, spoke about Coloured Gemstones - A Journey through Past, Present and Future.
Wide Variety of Important Research and Topics
In addition to oral presentations that were divided into two parallel sessions, posters from around the world displayed a wide variety of subjects. The many informative and interesting topics—both oral presentations and posters—were grouped into several categories and were presented by an impressive list of international experts from Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, the Pacific region and Greenland.
Innovation, Identification and Characterization
Although there was some overlap of categories, the largest, with 32 presentations, encompassed Innovation, Identification and Characterization in the gem world. A sampling of the topics follows. Lore Kiefert, Gubelin Gem Lab, Lucerne, Switzerland,spoke about the Origin Determination of Demantoid
Dietmar Schwarz, Federal International Gemlab, Bangkok, Thailand, provided insight into the Geographic Origin Determination of Blue Sapphire, and Saengthip Saengbuangamlam, GIT, Bangkok, Thailand, talked about Burmese Sapphire from Mogok: Its Inclusions and Country of Origin Determination.
Sutas Singbamroong and Aisha Rashid, Gemstone and Precious Metal Laboratory, Dubai, UAE, presented information on the Micro-Radiographic Structures of Natural Non-Nacreous Pearls Reportedly from Tridacna (clam) Species. Henry A. Hänni (Basel University, Switzerland) contributed a report on A New Ornamental Gemstone from Pakistan: Sannan–Skarn. Yang Hu, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, provided information on Misty Two-Phase and Multi-Phase Inclusions in Aquamarine from Shigar Valley, Pakistan.
In terms of treatments and synthetics, topics covered included those by Thitikorn Na Nan, Gemology Program, Chiang Mai University, Thailand, who looked into the issue of Blue Lead-Glass Filled Sapphires. Tobias Häger, Centre for Gemstone Research, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany, detailed Strontium Aluminate as an Imitation for Phosphorizing Apatite.
Among the diamond-focused presentations, Barbara Wheat, Vice-President, Natural Colored Diamond Association, New York, featured the Characterization of Color in Natural Color Diamonds, and Roman Serov, Gemological Center, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia, discussed Hybrid Diamonds: Natural Diamonds Overgrown with CVD Synthetic. Eunok Jo, Wooshin Gemological Institute of Korea, Seoul, spoke about an Identification Technique of Near-Colorless Synthetic Melee Diamonds in Diamond Jewelry.
John Chapman, Gemetrix Pty Ltd, Perth, Australia, asked the question, Grading Fancy Color Diamonds – Art or Science? Joe C. C. Yuan, Taidiam Technology, Zhengzhou, China, featured the Identification of CVD-Created Diamonds by Crossed Polarizing Filters, and Francis Errera, President, Francis Errera Ltd, Australia, described the World Colored Diamond Market.
Gem & Precious Metal Deposits, Exploration and Responsible Mining
With 15 presentations, this category was the second largest. Tasnara Sripoonjan, GIT, Bangkok, described
A New ‘Purple Rhodolite’ Garnet from Mozambique: Its Characteristics & Properties, while Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, Abuja, Nigeria, sent a report presented by Professor Adesugba Adesoji on Gemstone Mining in Nigeria: Prospects and Opportunities.
Dr. Ahmadjan Abduriyim, Kyoto University, Japan, detailed his studies on Oriental Treasure – Jadeite Jade from Itoigawa Region, Japan: A Comparative Study on Jadeite Jades from the World Locations; Myanmar, Guatemala and Russia. The topic of Nguyen Ngoc Khoi, Hanoi University of Science, Vietnam, centered on an Update on Gem Ruby and Sapphire from Vietnam. Guang Hai Shi, China University of Geosciences, Beijing, China, discussed The Formation of Placer Nephrites from Southern Xinjiang. In terms of responsible mining and management of gem resources, Didier Girard, President, Association of Gemmology France, Paris, gave a thought-provoking talk on A New Paradigm for Gems, dealing with the important subjects of sustainability management and traceability of the world’s gem supplies. He also called for the creation of an International Day for the sustainable management of gem mines and pearl farms around the world.
Treatment & Synthetics Update and Disclosure; Gem Quality Standards & Gem Optics and Color Science
Together, these two categories included 25 presentations, including the winner of the poster contest on the subject of the properties and color of Green Spinel from Afghanistan, presented by Meenu Brijesh Vyas, Gem Testing Laboratory, Jaipur, India.
The oral presentation of Thanong Leelawatanasuk, GIT, Bangkok, focused on Golden Sheen and Non-Sheen Sapphires from Kenya, while fellow researcher, Bhuwadol Wanthanachaiseang, Division of Material Science, Srinakharinwirot University, Thailand, spoke on the Alteration of Inclusions in Heated Mozambique Ruby.
Nattaphon Tam Kumnerdthai, Faculty of Gems, Burapa University Chanthaburi, Thailand talked about the issues relating to the Sugar-Acid Treatment of Opal, while the subject of Miro F. Y. NG, Guild Gem Laboratories, Hong Kong, was From Origins of Emeralds to Color Grading of Gemstones: The Science Behind and the Challenges Ahead. Andy H. Shen, Center for Innovative Gem Testing Technology, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, provided insight into the Color Origin of Green Tourmaline from East Africa.
Jewelry Design; Manufacturing and Cutting-Edge Technology
Eight presentations comprised these two categories. Among the jewelry design offers, Supawadee Aphaiwong demonstrated a Jewelry Design Project Reflecting the Degradation of the Environment. On the technology side, the presentation of Anocha Munpakdee Department of General Science, Srinakharinwirot University, Thailand, centered on Lead-free Vitreous Enamel on Silver Metal for Jewelry Applications.
GIT’s Ruby and Sapphire Master Color List
Aside from the questions of authenticity and treatment, the most important decision a consumer makes depends largely on a gemstone’s color. When it comes to rubies and sapphires, the three most popular color trade names are Pigeon’s Blood Red, Royal Blue and Cornflower Blue. Today, these terms are widely—and loosely—used by many gem labs, but there is no international harmonization when it comes to the exact color or range, whether the stone is heated or unheated. As a result, confusion arises.
To solve this problem, the GIT began conducting extensive research on color communication in 1999 with the objective of establishing an industry standard for these color terms. Following this 15-year study, the GIT has created three standardized master sets of ruby and blue sapphire to describe the famous colors. The sets are available to any lab that wants to use them, in the hope of bringing a semblance of standardization to the popular names, thus enhancing consumer confidence in the gem and jewelry market.
International Ruby Symposium
Near the close of GIT 2016, a joint announcement by Pornsawat Wathanakul, Didier Girard, and Henry Ho (Chairman of the Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences) proclaimed the creation of an International Ruby Symposium to take place in the Fall of 2017, with a mini- symposium being held at the Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair in February 2017.
The Festival of Loy Krathong
The conference was not only about technical reports, discussions and networking. GIT 2016 participants were also treated to the visually beautiful Loy Krathong, one of the most picturesque festivals in Thailand.
On the evening of November 14, under the Full Moon, they all enjoyed traditional Thai food, decorations and entertainment while celebrating this special day, which falls on the night of the twelfth lunar month at the end of the rainy season when the full moon lights up the sky.
While people normally gather around lakes, rivers and canals to pay respects to the water spirits by releasing beautiful lotus-shaped krathongs—made of banana leaves and decorated with candles, incense and flowers—onto the water, the GIT 2016 attendees gathered around the resort’s swimming pools to send their candle-lit krathongs afloat, after making a wish for the future. Five important krathongs were also auctioned off to benefit a Thai charity for water conservation. A fitting end to an important conference.
For more information on the speakers at GIT 2016, and their extended abstracts, see the proceedings at .