World leading synthesis experts and independent lab gemologists discussed production and identification of smallest CVD and largest HPHT synthetic diamonds at MGJ Conference in Greece
At the end of June, Athens was host to a new series of conferences – the Mediterranean Gemmological and Jewellery (MGJ) conference, organised by both the local Independent Gemological Lab (IGL) and CGL-GRS Swiss-Canadian Gemlab. The event featured an international line-up of speakers active in synthetic diamond production and treatments, while gem lab scientists (GGTL laboratories and CGL-GRS lab) covered their screening and detection.
Major topics at 1st Mediterranean Gemmological and Jewellery Conference included:
- Update on the production of synthetic HPHT and CVD diamonds and how to identify them
- Comparison of the characteristics and value of Mozambique rubies compared with Burma’s
- Production, gemmological characteristics and value of Argyle Coloured Diamonds
Dr Thomas Hainschwang from GGTL laboratories in Liechtenstein was presenting methods to detect small CVD and HPHT grown synthetics. Branko Deljanin from CGL-GRS in Canada reported on joint findings from GRS and CGL-GRS labs on how to distinguish natural Argyle from synthetic CVD-grown blue and treated pink diamonds from new producers. Wolf Kuehn from Gemlab Research and Technology in Canada introduced participants to portable spectrometers. Dr Joe Yuan representing a Taiwanese synthetic producer Taidiam described his growth processes while Dr Brad Cann from DeBeers research centre in UK described how fluorescence imaging with filters can provide clear indications of synthetic CVD growth. John Chapman from Gemetrix, Australia provided an overview of the natural Argyle pink diamonds and their photochromic characteristics. The presentations were extended to rubies (Andre Huber from GRS, Switzerland), pearls, sapphires and appraisal of antique jewellery (Gail Bret Lavine from NAJA, USA). A 3D movie experience transported viewers into the depths of a Burmese ruby mine under the guidance of Dr Adolf Peretti from GRS GemResearch Swiss Laboratories, Switzerland.
Smallest (0.02ct ) CVD melee diamond discovered in parcel of natural diamonds at GGTL lab by orange luminescence and largest HPHT Diamond (10.02ct ) in the world is examined by Branko Deljanin, CGL-GRS at MGJ Conference in Athens. Photos by T. Hainschwang and J. Chapman.
The prominent synthetic diamond content of the event was strengthened by a special attraction of the display by GM Nikolai Khikhinashvili of the largest (10.02ct) colourless synthetic diamond produced. The polished product was graded as E-colour and VS1 and examined during the conference with a loupe microscope and UV lamp (showing unusual medium orange fluorescence – phosphorescence under SWUV and strong pinpoint light) by George Spyromilios and Branko Deljanin.
At the end of the day’s presentations a ‘round-table’ panel discussion (photo) moderate by John Chapman explored the market for synthetics, production technologies and melee screening. Andrey Katrusha, NDT project’s research adviser described HPHT technology with over 30 large cubic presses at facility in Russia.
On the second day 30 delegates took advantage of a full-day CGL-GRS workshop addressing detection of synthetic and treated diamonds. It was conducted by Branko Deljanin and assisted by George Spyromilios and his IGL staff. Aided by standard and advanced gemmological instruments, participants could apply their learnings to 40 diamond specimens (natural treated and synthetic) supplied for study.
Branko Deljanin and George Spyromilios at CGL-GRS Advanced Diamond workshop at MGJ Conference, Athens. Photos by IGL Greece.
OGI Systems (Israel) and Certiline (Italy) were major sponsors showcasing their technologies to support the industry in addition to HRA Investment (Canada), producer of Canadian diamonds.
The success of the conference has ensured that next year a second Mediterranean Gemmological and Jewellery conference will take place in Valencia, Spain in conjunction with local MLLOPIS gem lab.
- Thomas Hainschwang – GGTL Labs, Lichtenstein
- Joe Yuan – Taidam, Taiwan
- Heiner Vollstädt – Vollstädt Diamant, Germany
- Branko Deljanin – CGL-GRS, Canada
- Nikolai Khikhinashvili – New Diamond Technology (NDT), Russia
- Andre Katrusha – scientific adviser to NDT, Russia
- John Chapman – Gemetrix, Australia
Three topics were discussed during the session which included the synthetic market, technology and screening.
The industrial or scientific market for synthetics was claimed to be substantial with Heiner Vollstädt believing that the future for synthetics is in this non-jewellery sector, though many of the applications require very pure diamonds. Joe Yuan revealed that about 100,000 carats of synthetic high quality diamonds are on the market with 200,000 carats expected by the end of next year. Much of this production is from China and is being sold into Surat (India) though the better qualities are polished in China. The demand is such that there are more than 10 factories in China wishing to expand production. Andrey Katrusha remarked that there are less than 10 synthetic producers in Russia, with NDT (New Diamond Technologies) being the largest, comparable to the combined capability of the remaining growers. NDT normally polishes their production but sometimes sell the rough. Branko Deljanin remarked that in 2000 when he vised Russia first time there were only 5 factories, and since then one in Belarus has closed. Interest in synthetic diamonds is high according to Brad Cann from DeBeers (ex audience) as the company receives many enquires about synthetics especially from the press.
Thomas Hainschwang expressed scepticism about the market potential for synthetics as no other synthetic gemstone has succeeded in impacting the natural market, for example flux-grown rubies had no effect on the price of natural rubies. He thinks the market for synthetic diamonds will be limited to scams. Ben Hackman from OGI Systems (ex audience) believed that there is a huge gap in the fancy coloured diamond market and +3 ct sizes that can be filled with synthetics. He did not see an application for colourless synthetic diamonds in jewellery, only industrial market. Some of his customers have bought synthetics because they have met a price mark, while Branko’s experience is that younger generations are happy to consider synthetics, a view supported by a US study in which respondents under the age of 30 were equally divided on their interest in synthetics. This view was generally shared by others, except for the bridal market. A point was made that natural diamonds were considered an investment and synthetic diamonds could never achieve that status.
John Chapman remarked that despite the preferences for natural diamonds, if an equivalent synthetic diamond was say 10% the price of a natural then the preference is likely to be different.
A jewellery designer and shop owner (ex audience) admitted that synthetics posed a problem when selling a large diamond piece, as she would have to explain to customers the higher price of a natural over a synthetic diamond which cannot be distinguished (except in a lab). Comparisons of the diamond market with carpets and pearls were made and marketing was proposed to be the key to the impact of synthetics on the market. Concern was expressed at the amount of education that would be required for the retailer.
The future technology a few years ago was considered to be CVD, but Nikolai Khikhinashvili (NDT) says advances in HPHT will result in much faster growth rates from larger cells and higher pressures which CVD will never be able to match. NDT plan to continue growing large diamonds with polished weights of 1 – 10 cts, providing consumers with one more choice. The company is working with universities for applications in medicine and science. According to NDT the cost of an HPHT press is about $1.0m while Branko commented that of a CVD system is about $250k.
To assist in detection, a suggestion was made for NDT to apply a mark that would make identification easier. NDT has faith in its certificates of disclosure and honesty of downstream companies, though could not vouch for other sellers.
The roundtable finished on the topic of screening and detection of synthetic diamonds. It was suggested that retailers need a hand-held portable tester priced at $300 – 500 to convince customers that a stone is natural. Gemlab owners felt there could never be a push-button analyser. Fazil Ozen (ex audience) recalled seeing a hand-sized machine in Bangkok for about $600 which was demonstrated to differentiate between HPHT and natural diamonds. However he tested it with CZ and the stone was identified as a natural diamond! Thomas Hainschwang said many large jewellery manufacturers demand screening by their suppliers.
After an hour of discussions the roundtable was ended and participants encouraged to examine a 10 ct polished synthetic colourless diamond from NDT (see photo) and fancy coloured diamonds produced by Vollstädt Diamant and colourless by Taidiam.
Nikolai Khikhinashvili (NDT) showing largest synthetic diamond in the world to participants of MGJ Conference in Athens.
Moderator John Chapman with Round table panellists Branko Deljanin, Thomas Hainschwang, Andrey Katrusha, Heiner Vollstädt and Joe Yuan
Morning Sessions (Day 1 – June 27) | Testing of Pearls, Gems & Diamond
Dr. Thomas Hainschwang
Gem Lab Update: Pearls and Melee Synthetic Diamonds
Two of the most demanding lab procedures involve the testing of pearls and the analysis of colorless and colored melee diamonds. For pearls the most complicated and ambiguous varieties are beadless saltwater cultured pearls.
For diamonds the enormous quantities combined with very small sizes (< 0.6 mm) of melee diamonds are the major drawback for laboratories; these stones must be efficiently analyzed to identify both synthetic and treated diamonds within parcels.
Coloured Gems: Rubies from Burma and Mozambique
Focus of lecture is on origin importance of Mozambique rubies on the Asian market with an explanation of the impact origin and terminology “Pigeon Blood” have on value of high quality gemstones using examples of important gems at auctions.
The Montepuez Ruby deposit is located in the North-East of Mozambique it is believed to be the most significant recently discovered deposit in the world.
The quality of Mozambique rubies are exceptional and comparable to the Burmese ‘pigeon blood’ rubies.
SPECIAL: Trip to Mogok – Documentary movie on gemstone auction in Mogok, markets and Dr. A. Peretti’s outstanding expertise
Coloured Diamonds: ID of Argyle and CVD-grown Diamonds
The Argyle mine in Western Australia has been the major source of natural brown and rare pink and blue diamonds since the 1980s, and characteristics are presented.
CGL-GRS is reporting on “natural looking” type IIa CVD-grown brown diamonds from Scio Diamonds in USA and treated pink and as-grown blue (Si doped) diamonds by Orion (PDC) company in Hong Kong and how to separate them from natural stones.
Advanced Techniques: Use of VIS & Raman Spectrometers
The lecture will explain and demonstrate the use of advanced spectrometers and how they can become an effective and time saving gem identification tool.
The portable GL Gem Spectrometer developed by Gemlab Research & Technology helps to identify gemstones and economically priced GL Gem Raman PL532 allows for rapid identification of gems and minerals using a comprehensive database.
Afternoon Sessions (Day 1 – Jun 27) | Appraising of Jewellery, Gems, & Diamonds
Gail Brett Levine
Jewellery Appraising: Appraising of Antique Jewelry
The valuing essentials of antique jewelry have a direct correlation to the appropriate gemstones and the integrity of the era, styles and motifs. Never can one value antique jewelry based on the cost breakdown of the individual elements. The process is dependent on selecting the right comparables. Examples of common mistakes in seeking valuation conclusions by use of auction market examples will be explored.
Dr. Brad Cann
Diamond Research: Fluorescence Imaging of CVD Synthetic Samples and Natural Diamond
Fluorescence imaging of diamond is an effective method of detecting synthetic samples. We will report how fluorescence patterns of commercially available Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) diamond have changed with time. Modifications and adaptations to the DiamondView instrument will be discussed which enhance synthetic specific features making detection easier.
Argyle Diamonds: Rarity and Mystery
“Argyle Diamonds” developed a customised colour grading scale with a notation that reflects three hues from brownish pink to purple pink across nine saturations. For pink diamonds above 0.10cts, Argyle applies a unique laser inscription on girdles and issues grading certificates which beside colour and clarity grades, provides proof of provenance and extra premium.
The cause of the colour has parallels with those for brown coloration, but despite much research effort, the atomic structure responsible for the colour remains a mystery. However an understanding of the characteristics of the colour centre is much improved including the response to either UV illumination or heat that can temporarily alter the colour of a pink-hued Argyle diamond.
Dr. Joe C.C. Yuan
Value of Synthetic Diamonds: The Technology of Producing and Identifying of CVD Diamonds
Current condition of CVD Diamond factories in the world and their products will be discussed as well as CVD and HPHT Synthetic Diamond Detection Methods. New colors of CVD Diamonds and the future market of the Synthetic Diamonds with cost of production and selling price will be covered. Comparison of Natural and Synthetic Diamonds on the market.
OGI Systems – Ben Hakman
From Mapping, Laser Marking and Sawing of Rough Diamonds to Cut Grade, Light Performance, Imaging and Laser Inscriptions of Polished Diamonds and Gems
OGI 2015 Successful Gemological equipment consist of Scanox Zoom (The Ultimate Cut, Symmetry and Proportion Analyzer), DIA PIX (360 HD Imaging Systems for Diamonds and Gems), CFIRE (Virtual Light Performance), DCAM – Diamond and Gems Imaging System with Arrows Viewer and Melee Sorter – 1 Second Per Stone Computerized Gage with 2D STL
CERTILINE – Jacopo Monteforte Specchi
Anti Counterfeiting Solutions for Diamonds and Gemstones
Tamper proof packaging solutions for improve the “chain of trust” in the diamonds and gemstone market, evidencing the present situation and future developments.
We are proud to have world leading independent lab gemologists, appraisers and experts as speakers. Conference has 8 confirmed speakers from Australia, Canada, Switzerland, USA, Taiwan, and Turkey.
Dr. Thomas Hainschwang
Dr. Thomas Hainschwang is managing director and researcher at the Liechtenstein branch of GGTL Laboratories in Balzers. He is a multidisciplinary gemmologist with specialization in diamond research and testing.
Andre Huber, Special Gemology Project Manager at GRS Gemresearch Swisslab AG (Switzerland), is an operator of Photoluminescence analysis system and U V-V I S-N I R, as well as other high tech instrumentation at GRS”.
Branko Deljanin is a research gemmologist at CGL-GRS with extensive experience in testing of gems and diamonds. He has focused on the HPHT and other treatments of natural diamonds and identification of synthetic diamonds (HPHT and CVD).
J. Wolf Kuehn is Director of Education and CEO of the Canadian Institute of Gemmology (C.I.G.). He is project manager for Gemlab Research & Technology (GLR&T) and works in development of advanced testing equipment for gem ID.
Gail Brett Levine
Gail Brett Levine, independent personal property appraiser, has been in the jewelry trade for over 30 years. She is the Executive Director of NAJA, the largest gem and jewelry appraisal organization in the United States.
Dr. Brad Cann
Dr. Brad Cann is a Senior Scientist at the De Beers Technologies research facility in Maidenhead, UK. He is a physicist with a specific interest in point defects in CVD diamond.
John Chapman has a degree in physics and has been active in the diamond industry for over 30 years with roles spanning industrial diamond testing, pink diamond research, and developing machines to sort both rough and polished diamonds. John has worked for Rio Tinto Diamonds (Argyle mine) for much of his career, and is currently an independent consultant.
Dr. Joe C.C. Yuan
Dr. Joe C. C. Yuan established diamond cutting companies, labs and factories in New York, Taipei and Zhengzhou, China. He is researching and growing polycrystalline diamonds and single crystal diamonds treated by HPHT and CVD methods.
OGI systems (Israel): Ben Hakman, Vice President of OGI Tech, a Branch of OGI Systems Group of Companies In the Diamond, Gem and Jewelry Industries since 1993. Started Diamond Cutting and Jewelry Manufacturing in 2008 and R&D in Cultured Diamonds in 2012
Jacopo Monteforte Specchi
CERTILINE (Italy): Mr. Jacopo Monteforte Specchi, Chief Marketing Officer of Certiline s.r.l, Member of the Security Council of the International Precious Metal Insititute (USA). He is a security consultant for different Gemological Institutes and Refinery around the world.
Advanced Diamond Workshop (Day 2 – Jun 28)
Practical Workshop with Treated and Synthetic Diamonds – ID with Standard and Advanced Instruments
Microscopy – Metallic inclusions for synthetic origin and graphitization for HPHT treated
UV Lamp – Using colours of fluorescence as an indication of treated/synthetic origin
Advanced Instruments – Screening with Visible-Near-infrared and Raman spectrometers.
Fees includes the CPF booklet & Course Handouts for you to take away. Portable VIS-NIR and Raman spectrometers will be available for purchase. Certificate of completion will be issued to all participants.
Instructor: Branko Deljanin, B.Sc., GG, DGA, FGA, DUG
President and Head Gemmologist, CGL-GRS Swiss Canadian Gemlab, Vancouver, Canada
Minimum 8, class limit to 25 – for gemmologists and individuals with trade experience
Synthetic Diamonds (09:00 – 12:30)
- Types of diamonds based on impurity content
- Causes of color in diamonds (natural and artificial)
- Theory of plastic deformation and relation to diamond types
- Methods of type detection and instrumentation
- Typing by FTIR method – in gem labs
- CPF method – instructions and set up on microscope
(filters or portable polariscope)
- HPHT-grown Diamonds, growth and characteristics
- CVD-grown Diamonds, growth and characteristics
- Testing and ID of lab-grown diamonds (UV lamp, microscopy, CPF, spectrometers)
- Grading and disclosure of natural and synthetic diamonds at gem labs
Diamond Treatments (13:30 – 17:30)
- Clarity Enhancements – unstable (Fracture Filling)
- Clarity Enhancements – stable (Traditional Lasering, KM Laser drilling)
- Processes for colour treatments of diamonds, natural and synthetic
- Color Enhancements – unstable (Coating)
- Color Enhancements – stable (irradiation, annealing, HPHT, multistep treatments)
- Testing and screening methods for treated diamonds with standard instruments
- Identification methods for treated diamonds with advanced instruments at labs
- Post treatments of HPHT-grown (irradiation) and CVD-grown diamonds (HPHT)
- Certification of treated and synthetic diamonds at gem laboratories
Kym Hughes, Symmetry Gemmological & Valuation Services (President of NCJV), Australia
“In March 2014 Branko ran his Advanced Diamond Course across five states in Australia for the National Council of Jewellery Valuers and was sold out at every session with over 80 members in attendance. Due to extremely positive feedback from participants, Branko will be invited back to present at the 2015 conference. The NCJV highly recommends Branko and his Advanced Synthetic Diamond course and it is a MUST for anyone working in diamond identification and jewellery valuation!”
Dominic Mok, Asian Gemmological Institute & Laboratory, Hong Kong
“Mr. Branko Deljanin has arranged a very special one-day advanced Diamond Course jointly organized with AGIL on March 2013 in Hong Kong. The classmates learn using FTIR & Cross Polarized Filters to classify the types of diamonds and understand the testing and identification methods of HPHT-grown and CVD-grown diamonds. This is a very good review program and I will recommend this advanced diamond course to all gemmologists.”
The conference will take place 27th and 28th of June 2015 at the heart of the Athens Riviera.
Divani Palace & Thalasso Hotel
Agiou Nikolaou 10
Vouliagmenh, Athens 166 71
Saturday, June 27th: Conference Day
Morning Sessions with Focus on Gems, Diamonds, and Lab Testing
- Coffee break will take place at the veranda of the conference room next to the pool of the hotel
- 1 hour lunch break at the hotel restaurant
Afternoon Sessions with Focus on Synthetic Diamonds, Appraising, and Jewellery
- Coffee break will take place at the veranda of the conference room next to the pool
- Location – To be Announced
Sunday, June 28th: Advanced Diamond Workshop
Morning Sessions with Focus on Synthetic Diamonds
- Coffee break will take place at the veranda of the workshop room next to the pool of the hotel
- 1 hour lunch break at the hotel restaurant
Afternoon Sessions with Focus on Diamond Treatments
- Coffee break will take place at the veranda of the workshop room next to the pool
- Participants can spend the evening at the area close to the hotel (“vuliagmeni” and “kavuri” area) by the sea with lots of restaurants, coffee shops and bars.
Monday, June 29th: Day Tour of Athens
Busses will leave 10am from hotel Divani and take participants downtown Athens where they will have the opportunity to visit Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum on a guided tour until 16:00.
From 16:00 to 22:00 participants will have the opportunity to walk around the old city, the traditional market, the parliament area and syntagma square.
IGL staff will be at hotel Divani and Acropolis to assist you.