San Diego--The Accredited Gemologists Association (AGA) will bring together a number of experts to address opportunities and issues related to the colored gemstone and diamond markets during its upcoming Tucson Conference.

Titled “Gems: Fabulous, Fake, and Nefarious,” the conference will take place Feb. 5, 2014, at the Marriott University Park Hotel. This year’s lineup includes presentations on the health hazards of green diamonds, the changing world of sapphires, and separation techniques using luminescence for diamonds, among other topics.

Research gemologist Franck Notari, co-founder of the GGTL Lab in Geneva, will speak on the Hazards of Green Diamonds, where he will present recent research findings concerning radiation the can be associated with them.

Treated green diamonds can at times show extremely high, residual radioactivity, generally due to irradiation through direct contact with radium salts, a treatment that is said to be no longer in use. Diamonds treated to turn green by creating color-centers with radioactive energy are rare, but can have serious health risks for consumers and gemologists alike when exposed to it. Notari will address these effects, as well as the idea that current gemological courses don’t adequately highlight the risks of that method.

Lore Kiefert, chief gemologist at Gübelin Gem Lab, will give a presentation titled “In the Footsteps of Dr. Edward Gübelin: Old and New Mogok Mining Methods for Sapphires,” in which she will talk about the increased activities at the mines in the Mogok Valley in Myanmar, formerly Burma, as well as the gemological characteristics and differences of sapphires collected from classic and newer productions.

Shane McClure will speak about sapphires, giving a speech on the unusual characteristics in diffused synthetic sapphires and how to spot them.

Olivier Segura will address the opportunities, limits and challenges of pearl analysis that gemological laboratories studying natural pearl analysis currently face, including the rise of new and deceptive ways to nucleate cultured pearls leading to incorrect identification as natural pearls, as well as more sophisticated treatments to alter the color of natural pearls, among other things.

The all-day conference takes place in conjunction with the February Tucson gem shows, including the American Gem Trade Association’s GemFair, which runs from Feb. 4 to 9 at the Tucson Convention Center.

The conference sessions at the AGA Conference & Gala will run from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Continental breakfast, light lunch and gala tickets are included with the conference fee. The annual AGA membership meeting will be held during the lunch break.

The evening will conclude with a dinner and awards ceremony, honoring the 2014 winner of the Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology. Those not interested in attending the conference can purchase tickets just for the gala.

More information about the event and speakers, as well as registration and ticket prices, can be found on the AGA’s website.

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