Gemstone Industry & Laboratory Conference



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Tucson Convention Center, Tucson, AZ

8:30 am - 1:00 pm, Monday February 3, 2014


Moderator: Edward Boehm & Bear Williams, GILC Vice-Chairmen

8:30-9:15 Check-in & Breakfast

9:15-9:20 Welcome – Sushil Goyal, GILC Chairman

9:20-9:30 Introduction of Attendees

9:30-9:50 Speaker Presentation

9:50-10:00 Q & A

Edward Boehm, GILC Vice-Chairman, RareSource: A Comparative Overview of Inclusions in Spinel

Spinels contain many interesting inclusions that sometimes reveal secrets about their geographic origin. The primary spinel producing countries are Burma (Myanmar), Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Tajikistan, Tanzania, and Vietnam. Inclusions in spinels are considered more useful for identifying their host rocks than for origin determination, however, in some cases, diagnostic inclusions are evident. Characteristic surface and internal features of flux grown synthetic spinels will also be presented.

10:00-10:20 Speaker Presentation

10:20-10:45 Q&A


Anthony (Tony) Smallwood, Gemmological Association of Australia & Maxine O’Brien, National Opal Miners Association (NOMA): Why Australian opal is unique - Defining its gemological properties

Precious opal is Australia’s national gemstone and is of international significance. Australian opal has formed in a unique sedimentary environment that has remained geologically stable for millions of years resulting in the formation of opal with unique characteristics. Several distinctive types of Australian precious opal are found, each with specific properties allowing gemological separation of Australian precious opal from that of other occurrences.

The gemological and scientific characteristics of all varieties of Australian precious opal will be presented so as to assist in promoting accurate and reliable identification of Australian opal by international gemological laboratories and educational institutions.

10:45-11:15 Coffee Break

11:15-11:35 Speaker Presentation

11:35-12:50 Q&A


Dr. Lore Kiefert, Chief Gemologist, the Gubelin Gem Lab: Sapphires from the Baw Mar mine, Mogok, Burma

In the last five years, blue sapphires with properties different from the “classic” Burmese sapphires, reportedly from the Baw Mar area of Mogok, have reached the gemstone market. These sapphires were marked by a relatively clean appearance under the microscope, often showing only multiple twinning with whitish needle-like inclusions (presumably boehmite) at the intersections.

The lecture will concentrate on microscopic and spectroscopic properties of these sapphires, the differences to "classic" Burmese sapphires, and their distinction from sapphires from magmatic sources.

12:50-13:00 General GILC Discussion

GILC would like to thank our speakers and the attending participants for their support and bringing lively dialogues to make this important event happen!