Google+ The Daily Jewel: 5/9/10 - 5/16/10


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

GIA, Law Officers Join Forces to Fight International Jewelry Crime

CARLSBAD, Calif. – May 11, 2010 – Special agents and detectives from international law enforcement agencies gathered at the Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA) Carlsbad campus recently for a two-week crash course in gemology that was specifically requested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Law officers from Brazil, Colombia, Belgium, India, Thailand, the UK and the UAE joined detectives from the New York and Los Angeles police departments and FBI specials agents from New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, D.C. to get a first-hand look at how gemological information can help them solve crimes.

The group was exposed to a broad range of gemstone topics, including how to use gemological tools (loupes, tweezers, microscopes); the Four Cs of diamonds and what to look for in clarity, cut and color; synthetics, imitations and color treatments; the diamond industry and the Kimberley Process; field identification of colored stones; and how to read GIA grading reports.

Learning about the science and tools of gemstones is a priceless opportunity, according to Patrick Peys, of the Belgium Federal Police, an experienced gem detective and lead investigator of the 2003 Antwerp Diamond Center heist of nearly half a billion dollars in diamonds, cash and other valuables.

“There is a big difference between being an operational police officer and having knowledge about the product you’re investigating,” Peys said. “That kind of basic information might give you an advantage you otherwise would not have.”

Working with law enforcement officials is a very important aspect of GIA’s mission to protect the public trust, said Donna Baker, president and CEO of GIA. “It is imperative that we continue to work with these detectives and special agents on the front lines of fast-moving gem crimes.”

“The thieves communicate and coordinate across international boundaries – we need to do the same if we want to stop them. Giving law enforcement officials access to our resources and gemological information will help them close the net on those who steal from and take advantage of the public. This is a mission we are proud to share with law officers around the world.”

Law enforcement agencies and GIA have a long history of working together to solve gem-related crimes, said Tom Moses, senior vice president of GIA Laboratory and Research. “Our grading reports and inscriptions are the most effective ways to protect gemstones and information on thousands of them are stored in GIA’s database for future reference,” he said.

The database, started in the 1980s, has proved to be extremely useful for investigators, according to Daniel McCaffrey of the FBI’s New York field office. “It’s so significant to have this relationship with GIA and to have a starting point,” he said. “Literally hundreds and hundreds of stones have been recovered because of it.”

Ivy Cutler, records coordinator for the GIA Laboratory in New York notifies law enforcement officials when GIA identifies stolen gemstones and acts as a liaison during investigations. She was recently honored by the Jewelers Security Alliance for her efforts to recover stolen gems and educate law enforcement agencies about gemology.

“Gems are one of the most concentrated forms of wealth, and diamonds travel very quickly,” Cutler said. “It’s amazing how frequently the stolen diamonds flow back to GIA. The crime community is small, the crooks are very smart and a lot of the trade is unaware of what they are handling.”

The investigators added that meeting their counterparts from other countries was one of the best outcomes of the two-week seminar.

“I’m very involved in diamond investigations and as far as I know, GIA is the only organization that is really doing something to bring law enforcement officers together to educate them and get that network working,” Peys said. “For me, that’s very visionary.”

For more information about GIA visit

Photo from:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Exportation of Tanzanite Rough Banned!

I have been catching up on some reading lately and found an extremely interesting article by Marc Choyt on the Fair Trade and Ethically Sourced Jewelry blog.

In "Tanzania Decides To Ban Export of Rough Gemstones" Choyt discusses the new ban on the exportation of Tanzanite Gem Rough to foreign cutting facilities.

We all know that Tanzanite the blue-violet form of Zoisite is indeed the darling of the Jewelry Trade. From a pale hue that has been compared to "Elizabeth Taylor's eyes" to the deep blue - violet that is considered Museum Grade...Tanzanite is (for the most part) the color enhanced version of brilliant form of golden zoisite found in the Merilani Hills of Tanzania.

Gem Variety: Zoisite

Chemical: Calcium Aluminum Silicate Ca2Al3(SiO4)(Si2O7)O(OH)
Mohs Hardness Scale 6-6.5
Crystal Structure: Orthorhombic
Pleochroism: Dichroic or Trichroic depending on color
Luster: Vitreous - pearly on cleavage faces

This junior member of the gemstone world was discovered in 1967 (an infant in the sphere of stone) and brought to the world by Tiffany & Co. ...and as the legend goes:

Following a severe lightening storm a Masai Tribesman was walking the fields checking for damage and came across a glittering blue - violet stone that rivaled the intensity of fine Ceylon Sapphire. It is thought that the heat created when lightening touched ground created the incredible change of color from the golden brown zoisite to the deep blue-violet that today is known as Tanzanite, thus leading labs to recreate the process.

...taking into consideration the immensely create publicity of Tiffany & Co this could be a romanticized account. But - however the color change discovery came about - WOW what a color!

When the source proved to be unreliable and mining in the region unstable, Tiffany moved on in it's quest of newer and rarer...and in the 1970's the government took over the mining enterprises in an effort to prove that they could provide a stable reliable source. This was not to be as the Merilani Hills soon became marked by illegal miners digging throughout the region.

In April 2005, TanzaniteOne Ltd. publicly announced that they had taken control of the portion of the tanzanite deposit known as "C-Block" (the main deposit is divided into five blocks). Prices for rough material on the open market have increased steadily for the last several years as the company has solidified its control of the market. Making Tanzanite the only colored stone to fall under the control of a single company (much as DeBeers control of diamond).

So now we go back to our original thought - the ban on the exportation of Tanzanite rough.
  • Has the Tanzanian government invested in training cutters in their country? It would be criminal to see people learning to cut on such an expensive gem...
  • It will be interesting to see how many foreign owned cutting facilities open in Tanzania.
  • How will this affect the major cutting facilities in Thailand and Jaipur?
Was it Newton? Every action has an equal and opposite reaction!

Photos: Gem Rough from Gems of East Africa
Hand fabricated ring by Designer Gordon Aatlo

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Jennifer Lopez Dons Bright Jewels


NASHVILLE, TENN.—(Apr. 14, 2010)—Jewelry designer Judith Bright announces that her contemporary handcrafted jewelry appears on actress Jennifer Lopez in the film “The Back-up Plan” (CBS Films), due in theaters April 23rd, 2010. Hand-hammered earrings and stacking cuff bracelets—prominently visible on the superstar in the film’s poster ( and trailer (—are indicative of Judith Bright’s signature design style: bold, clean lines, elegant in its simplicity. Judith Bright Jewelry is available for purchase through her online boutique:

The Nashville-based artisan is thrilled to have her jewelry selected for this internationally released film. “I provided several pieces to the film’s costume designers and had no idea what they would end up using,” says Judith Bright. “Imagine the thrill of seeing my earrings and cuffs on “Zoe,” portrayed by the film’s star, Jennifer Lopez! We’re so excited to have the exposure.

Signature Judith Bright pieces in the film include Paisley earrings, hand-formed and hammered; Ashley earrings, light-weight, hand-hammered, front-facing hoops; India Marquis earrings, India-inspired dangles with turquoise drops; and RockLess Stacking Cuffs, hand-hammered and organic stacking cuffs.

Judith Bright’s current lines, SILVER+ROCKS and GOLD+ROCKS, are fashioned from sterling silver and gold-filled chains and elements that link semi-precious stones in various combinations. Her ROCKLESS line, using only silver and gold metals, features hand-hammered and hand-wrapped chain and wire elements.

In addition to “The Back-up Plan,” Judith Bright’s jewels have appeared in other productions, including the film “The Rebound” (2010 release) with Catherine Zeta-Jones, and television shows, “Gossip Girl,” “Samantha Who?,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” “Better Off Ted” and others.

More info about Judith can be found on her website - OR - follow her blog to stay updated on the shining career of a brilliant artist...


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