AGA Releases Tucson Conference Lineup

San Diego–The Accredited Gemologists Association has announced the schedule of speakers and topics for its upcoming conference at the Tucson gem shows.

The AGA’s event is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 31, at the Tucson University Park Hotel.

This year’s AGA conference will delve into the “resulting impact” of the trade’s emphasis on gem origin, it said, covering issues like reliable determination, varying opinions and dealing with the resulting confusion.

Shane McClure and/or Andy Lucas of the Gemological Institute of America will show attendees identifying characteristics that lead to origin determination in emeralds, including those that contradict previously held ideas on what to look for.

Research gemologist, mineralogist and owner of Kybele LLC Çiğdem Lüle will examine how labs have adopted terms related to origin, as well as other descriptors now used to communicate quality both to the trade and consumer.

John Emmett, owner of Crystal Chemistry, will discuss his recently published research about previously unknown factors that influence color, with specific experimentation on Yogo sapphires.

Thomas Hainschwang will provide his first set of data, results and conclusions from an extensive research project on diamond treatments, aided by an AGA research grant. This massive project involves before and after data on diamonds subjected to radiation, HPHT and annealing.

Sonny Pope, manager of Suncrest Diamonds, will provide an update on the new fancy colors being produced in naturally occurring diamonds through proprietary HPHT techniques developed by the company.

There also will be three workshop options: “Visual Optics Revealed” with Alan Hodgkinson, “UV Fluorescence as a Diagnostic Tool” with Claire Mitchell and “Distinguishing Black Materials” with Sarah Steele.

Workshop sign-up is available after conference registration on a first come, first-serve basis.

Those not registered will attend a session from GIA’s Nathan Renfro, who will offer a visual tour of gem microscopy, pointing out inclusions specific to the determination of treatment, origin and, sometimes, gem varieties.

The presentations and workshops will be followed by a champagne reception and evening gala dinner dance with the presentation of the Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology, the winner of which has yet to be announced.

The AGA also will bring back its silent auction as a fundraiser for the organization.

Registration is $195 for AGA and Gemmological Association of Great Britain members and $245 for non-members. Early registration is available online until Jan. 20.

For additional information or to register, visit

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