Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Copper Diffusion; Is It Gemology's New Worst Nightmare? Part I

By Richard W. Wise, G.G. ©2008

The Latest From Bangkok?

Rumors are reverberating through the gem trade that gem alchemists in Thailand have developed a method to diffuse copper into tourmaline. This method converts low-end pale blue tourmaline into highly saturated material similar to the high priced cuprian tourmaline currently coming out of Mozambique. The first salvo was fired by Ted Themelis a well known expert on gem treatments and repeated in an article by David Federman in Colored Stone Magazine. One of my sources, a dealer active in Bangkok, wrote me two weeks ago claiming that some of this material had actually been certified as cuprian or “Paraiba” type tourmaline by an unnamed gem laboratory. (image above left; gemologist John Koivula lectures at the World of Gems Conference, Chicago)

Adding more fuel to the fire, just as I was about to leave for the World of Gems Conference (WOG) in Chicago, Robert James, FGA, President of The International School of Gemology (ISG) released a study that suggests that tourmaline, even some of the pricey Mozambique cuprian tourmaline is deep-diffused with copper to improve its color. The conference was abuzz with Mr. James’ contentions. Though deep diffusion was not on the agenda, everyone seemed aware of the article and James conclusions were much discussed. Unfortunately, James, who had planned to attend, was unable to due to Hurricane Ike.

This is James’ second broadside in a series. In the first installment he published a study that he says proves that Andesine is being bulk diffused with copper. Many of the gemologists I spoke to in Chicago expressed admiration for the James chutzpah while at the same time questioning both his methodology and conclusions. Stuart Robertson, Research Director of Gemworld International summed up the views of many of the gemologists attending the WOG Conference: “his conclusions on andesine may be right, but his science is flawed. He is way off base on tourmaline.”

Andesine Diffusion Has Arrived:


"Ive been able to turn it red in the lab."

Dr. John L. Emmett

“I’ve done it” said Dr. John Emmett said in an interview just yesterday when I asked about copper diffusion in andesine. “I’ve been able to turn it red in the lab and made some that look like a good ruby.” The real issue says the former associate director of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory is differentiation. Emmett, whose firm, Crystal Research, specialized in heat treating Montana sapphire, has tested labradorite from all the major sources, including Oregon sunstone and Mexican material from the Casa Grande mine. "There is natural labradorite, heated labradorite and copper diffused labradorite." The question now is how do you tell the difference? Emmett prefers the term labradorite to andesine because, he says, the demarcation between the two is completely arbitrary.

Studies of this kind are normally done in well equipped gemological laboratories and subjected to a long process of peer review. Preliminary findings are submitted to colleagues, methods and are minutely scrutinized and conclusions challenged. This time consuming process works to the benefit of the scam artists. Gemologists are put in the position of always playing catch up. Why is this the case?

"Gem labs are sitting there fat, dumb and happy.”
Dr. John L. Emmett

"The problem is, gemology is an observational science not an experimental science", Dr. Emmett stated. "Gem labs are sitting there fat, dumb and happy.” No one is doing the research. If GIA had put together a small research team in the 80s when surface diffusion first became an issue they would have discovered all the possibilities and would have been able to identify the possible diffusion treatments before the Japanese bought 100 million dollars worth of Beryllium diffused padparadascha sapphire.

Peer Review Goes Public:

James decided to shortcut the review process and has courageously or foolishly, depending upon your point of view, chosen to go public before completing his research, opening himself to a potentially painful process of public review. As luck would have it, several of the world’s leading gemologists; John I. Koivula, Chief Gemologist at The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), Dr. Lore Kiefert, head of the AGTA lab were in attendance and I took the opportunity to raise the issue of tourmaline diffusion with them and a few others. Stay tuned!

R. W. Wise Unveils New Website:

Finally the new website is up and running. We can boast a number of updated features:

The new site is quicker loading. The homepage looks more like a newspaper front page with a changing array of new designs from our workshop and a monthly featured gemstone.

One Click Access:

The search function at the top of the page allows you to navigate to any part of the site with a single click. You can view our entire gem, contemporary or antique jewelry inventory or go right to rings.

Multiple Large Product Images:

Now you can see the jewelry top, front and back. Gemstones sport multiple image much larger than the old site. You can really get a sense of the gemstone., multiple larger images of each gem.

Prices too...

We love to talk to our gems and jewelry and I doubt that anyone is going to buy a fine piece of jewelry or a gemstone without having questions. Still no market basket and we will maintain this policy of not pricing our finer pieces, but many pieces will now be priced. We have also updated the query form and will be pleased to call you with information. Take a look: www.rwwise.com


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whether you like to know what the best colour is in Tanzanite, or how to grade a Diamond, you will find it in this book. No other book I read before dealt with this topic is such detail as Richard Wise's masterpiece."

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April 2006

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38 comments:

leftright said...

I appreciate and approve of duplication and review of scientific research. However, in the andesine treatment issue, no one else seemed willing to step up to the plate and give it a try at that time. Had Robert James waited on his contemporaries to attempt to duplicate his research, the misrepresented gemstone would still be on the airwaves being sold to unsuspecting American for hundreds of dollars per carat. Many have still not gotten the word. One can only ask, "Who has not acted in a responsible manner?" in regard to exposing this treatment. Certainly not Mr. James. Personally, it makes me feel that many of those that I have held in such high regard in the gemological community are second rate now. I am reminded of the old movie sceen where an officer asks a group of soldiers for a volunteer and everyone takes a step back except one innocent guy. I feel Mr. James is innocent of breaking procedure in this instance, and feel it took an inordinately long time for one of those guys in the back to step forward.

Richard W. Wise said...

Leftright,

Thanks for your comment. I agree, while the gemology community fiddles, Rome burns. I will have more on Robert James' tourmaline study in Part II.

Tenney Naumer said...

Having widespread dissemination of the results of the type of work done by Robert James has been long overdue. Too many gem associations have been sitting comfortably on their duffs while consumers get shafted.

With ever more creative treatments arriving in the market, now is exactly the time to have much more of this work done and publicized.

If the gemological associations want to maintain any of their shredded credibility, they need to get on board.

Hats off to Robert James!

Anonymous said...

What are you talking about lertright , of course all info coming out is gonna be some what of duplicate info , but what i find funny is you only read what you what to read , in mr wise report it seems the dr has stated their can be natural , heated and duffused andesine , why mr james screams its all diffused .

is really is funny how now he seems to act as if he stepped up to the plate acting like he did good for the comsumers , ah where have you been for all these years while its been out and selling to all these unsuspected customers ,

As for his raman reading , science is pretty specific and yet his scans arent exact , a little off and yet this smart man cant read the tool results , if you cant read its results you shouldnt be playing with it
what i find really funny is how he got all of you to chip in and buy the tools needed for him to create his name and help sell his school and you get what ? i give you this he is a great salesman , so hats off to you mr j for being salesman of the year

John White said...

Congrats Richard on an excellent summary of the status regarding the "andesine" (in particular) and the tourmaline. What is sad is that with a little guidance, James' work could have been more credible, but his poor science has resulted in a lack of respect for the effort. Additionally, as far as I know none of this treated material is andesine and we should stop referring to it as such, unless bracketed in quotes.

Anonymous said...

John White says, "James' work could have been more credible, but his poor science has resulted in a lack of respect for the effort. Additionally, as far as I know none of this treated material is andesine and we should stop referring to it as such, unless bracketed in quotes."

So what you are saying is the science is flawed, but you seem to at the same time admit that his conclusions are correct? As to Mr. James not being respected, you couldn't be more wrong. Consumers contacted the FCC, the "big" labs, various gemological websites/experts, the JVC (who are apparently only vigilant if you pay them), all in an effort to figure out what was going on with "andesine labradorite". These consumers were ignored, ridiculed, disrespected and turned away. Meanwhile MILLIONS of dollars have been spent on this scam, and it is clear that no one in a professional capacity cared one bit. Until Robert James. He did more with a dixie cup than anyone else was willing to do with their million dollar labs full of equipment. What is increasingly clear is that the big labs and seemingly many professionals in the gem trade are more interested in congratulating each other on their fabulous scientific credentials than they are in protecting their customers (and, since it's the customers who keep them in business, their very industry). I suppose part of the problem is all of the gemstone reports from the big labs issued for this material stating that no treatment could be detected. Oops.

Alain van Acker said...

Hi,

If one were to do a tabloid article on polluted milk, the reporter would try to get his/her hands on as many poisonous samples as possible. That is what happened with the research done by James.
A good researcher would however also include all other specimens - and report the uncertainties - in the research before boldly stating that "all" the milk is polluted.

That is meant by poor research. It gives an apparent truth which does very well with the plebs. The in-crowed however is neither fooled, nor convinced.

Richard W. Wise said...

Alain,

I don't believe Mr. James ever said that all the milk was polluted or all the Labradorite or tourmaline either.

In my interview with Dr. Emmett, he stressed the fact that "some" of the labradorite was treated and some definitely was not. The problem that he and Dr. Rossman are currently working on is the detection of treatment. He also said that only some turned that attractive red that is the most popular.

Anonymous said...

Have Drs. Emmett and Rossman released how they acquired the gems they are testing? Especially the ones that appear not to be treated. I would not want to base a study on whether milk was poisoned using milk donated by the National Dairy Council. It would be very interesting to see the gems that did not turn that 'attractive red", because I think it was still sold as honey, peach, etc. andesine-labradorite. Any chance they can authenticate the gem donated to the Smithsonian? I don't think I'm alone in that I still have a lot of unanswered questions. Glad to see Emmett and Rossman on the job.

Also, any indication as to when this research will be released? Anyone going to touch on the green?

Alain van Acker said...

Richard,

Yes he did stress that all "andesine-labradorite" was treated and repeated it several times, as did Lisa Pike.

To quote: "But yes, in my opinion all of the "andesine labradorite" out there that is not from Oregon is being treated"

Richard W. Wise said...

Dr. Emmett received most of his samples directly from the source.

RW

Anonymous said...

Dr. Emmett's source: As in a mine? For the love of God man, tell us where it is. It certainly isn't that hole JTV found in Mongolia. Does he actually has some rough?

One point, also, Robert James stated his OPINION, not that his research indicated everything not from Oregon was treated. Now, if there is a 'source' no one has revealed, and Mr. James did not have access to it, he might change his opinion and his research findings - if he could get his hands on some. Are we sure the playing field is equal here?
(leftright)

Anonymous said...

RW, you stated that "Dr. Emmett received most of his samples directly from the source". What source? Was it from the remote Tibetan location that JTV found or another cooking station that has yet to be announced?

For those that missed the detection of diffusion and signed their name to certificates indicating no treatment, they should have listened when consumers started asking them for help instead of biting the hand that feeds them. Mr. James was the only one that would help us find the answers to our questions when no one else would listen.

I believe this statement has totally been taken out of context -"Yes, he did stress that all "andesine-labradorite" was treated and repeated it several times, as did Lisa Pike." This statement should also read "except Oregon Sunstone which is untreated". Mr. James received gemstones from all over the United States for testing. Not one of these gemstones that were purchased thru TV Shopping Channels and online sellers tested out to be " natural occurring Andesine Labradorite". Every last one of them was treated. Why is it taking so long for Dr. Rossman and Dr. Emmett to detect the treatment? Personally, I think they have known or suspected treatment for a while now but have not published anything for fear of exposing those who where involved in keeping this quiet because their names would be tarnished by this revelation. This is JMO. There are too many players involved in higher circles on this one and it will only get more interesting to see what happens in the coming months. The saga continues.....

Anonymous said...

Of course the playing field is not fair; James allows himself to discredit everyone whom doesn't agree with his views on his forum.

Richard W. Wise said...

All,

quote: "Dr. Emmett's source: As in a mine? For the love of God man, tell us where it is. It certainly isn't that hole JTV found in Mongolia."

Dr. Emmett's sources are mentioned in the post. There are several. Mexico sticks out as the probable source for the JTV material. But, what difference does it make? The stuff is either natural or it is treated.

JTV, I believe saw an opportunity to create a their own boutique gemstone, Andesine, a marketing dream come true. Did they know it was treated? I doubt it, in our litigious society that would be suicidal. Witness current events!

The Pearl Professor said...

Kudos on the new site design, by the way.

Anonymous said...

What does the source matter? A gemstone is being tested for possible enhancement that has had no known locality nor has anyone seen a piece of rough in six years, and you seriously think no one cares what the source is? If the only issue is if a generic gem is enhanced or not, you are right, it doesn’t matter. But if that is your only issue, you should remove the designation “gonzo journalist” from your website heading, because you do not write for me, a gem and jewelry lover. On the other hand, as a journalist, if you are interested in the fact that a gem has been sold as untreated for six years, and someone is responsible for the treatment and purposeful marketing of that gem, then the source could matter a great deal. The gemological community seems to be a very forgiving brotherhood (/sisterhood) if this is the case. If someone who claims to be a mine owner will not allow collection of material at their location, but says, “Here are some gemstones to test that came from my mind. Trust me.” What would your reaction be? Perhaps that is not the case, it only a scenario. I can understand if the source and method of acquisition are not revealed at this time, but I cannot understand your attitude that it doesn’t matter. Jewelry Television’s marketing decisions are only a small part of the issue.
(leftright)

Richard W. Wise said...

"Why is it taking so long for Dr. Rossman and Dr. Emmett to detect the treatment? Personally, I think they have known or suspected treatment for a while now but have not published anything for fear of exposing those who where involved in keeping this quiet because their names would be tarnished by this revelation."

I'm sorry,
What does that statement mean?

Anonymous said...

Out of all you comsumers , who spent hundreds of dollars a ct ? (it was never that much expecially the stuff from the t.v ) actually send your stones to be tested by these labs you so condem now . Or did did you send it to a gemologist . They are two different things you know!!! . Labs dont just pick up gemstones and start doing treatment tests on stones that have never been known to have treatment done to them before , to find out if something is wrong with them . You act as if you have a right to demand that someone step up and do alot of work , and just do it for consumer protection ! It costs money to do research , as you now know Mr James , got you consumers to buy him equipment he needed to find this info out , but in the real world , scientist study and evaluate and have others particiate in the findings before runnig around saying "the sky is falling" . You consumers bought gemstones off the T.V , never sent them into labs for tests and demand something be done.
WOW , so i guess you can be considered yourself part of the problem why it took so long why labs couldnt identify that there was a problem .
You bought gemstones thinking you were gonna get rich and got burnt because you are not informed consumers and are telling people with YEARS of experience , that they are second rate to you .' WHO HAS NOT ACTED RESPONSIBLE HERE ?

Anonymous said...

Quote "Out of all you comsumers , who spent hundreds of dollars a ct ? (it was never that much expecially the stuff from the t.v ) actually send your stones to be tested by these labs you so condem now . Or did did you send it to a gemologist . They are two different things you know!!!."

I beg to differ with you, but the TV shopping channels were selling so called "Andesine Labradorite" for hundreds of dollars per carat and yes, it is sad but true that the average consumer that likes beautiful gemstones and jewelry got taken by them. One of these channels claimed that they had lab reports from 9 different labs that said it was totally natural and untreated. Other websites displayed certificates from these well know labs that you suggested and these certificates were signed by certified gemologists that are well known saying that scamdesine was untreated. Boy were your acredited experts fooled. Why should consumers who bought these gemstones have to send their gemstones to labs when the companies that they bought them from said they had proof on no treatment? It is the selling companies responsibility to make sure that what they are selling as untreated, actually is untreated. Go read the FTC regulations.

RW Quote ""Why is it taking so long for Dr. Rossman and Dr. Emmett to detect the treatment? Personally, I think they have known or suspected treatment for a while now but have not published anything for fear of exposing those who where involved in keeping this quiet because their names would be tarnished by this revelation."

I'm sorry,
What does that statement mean?"

Just watch the fallout from all of this and in time you will understand this statement. This is far from over.

Roberta Wingo said...

Excuse me?

“Labs dont just pick up gemstones and start doing treatment tests on stones that have never been known to have treatment done to them before , to find out if something is wrong with them .”

That has to be one of the most insane statements I have ever read. How does one become aware of treatments to begin with? Of course if a stone is never tested it will “not known to be enhanced”.
Those Gemstone Cookers are laughing all the way to the bank.

“You bought gemstones thinking you were gonna get rich and got burnt because you are not informed consumers and are telling people with YEARS of experience , that they are second rate to you .' WHO HAS NOT ACTED RESPONSIBLE HERE ?”

I, nor anyone I know, has purchased a gemstone to get rich. We have purchased gemstones that we expected to be what they were reported to be only to find out that in the gemstone industry integrity is something that has been lost in process. And by the way, why would I want to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a report that is virtually worthless. There were andesine gems sent to labs, what good did it do?

leftright said...

I don't know why it bothers so many people that Robert James's students donated the money to buy his school a Raman, or why JTV has to be continually dragged into the issue since they were only one vendor selling the gemstone against FTC regulations (although they were the most aggressive). But I'll give you one reason and then we can take it out of the discussion and get to what matters. It was cheaper to donate money to the ISG to test the "andesine-labradorite" than it was for everyone who was involved to send $100 to the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) to "look into the situation." Period

The issue here is that a new gemstone from a new unknown source appears and is sold for six years as all natural "andesine-labradorite." At least one seller sent gemstones to lab(s) for testing. The question is, "What is a reasonable expectation for a customer of what they should received from a lab certification?Granted, there are labs that sell all levels of certification. But this was a gemstone that needed to be verified as to composition and treatments to see if they could be sold as andesine labradorite, which has to have a 50%-50% composition of sodium to calcium to be called that. They also needed to know if it had been treated in any way. Was it unreasonable to expect that a lab would expand all it's expertise to answer these questions for a seller who would be selling thousand of dollars of these gems?

I am probably a naive consumer, in that I believe that would not be an unreasonable expectation. Granted, the crafty makers of the gem used a sophisticated method of treating the gems, but they were not things that had never been seen before. Also, it would be hard to varify a designation of "andesine-labradorite" since composition can vary in one gemstone. So that leaves us (the naive consumers) thinking two things that no one has put to rest. One is that the labratories possibly did a sloppy job of testing the gemstone. Two and more disturbing is that the labratories that depend on support form large gem companies did not look very closely at the gems for fear of upsetting the status quo in the gemological world. In the back of our minds, we think it went down like this: "Mr. SoandSo said this was a (fill in the blank) and he know gems, so I'll just check it over. Yep, got some calcium and sodium in there, hmmmm, (quick look through microscope) doesn't look treated to me. Here's your certificate."

Add to that scenario the fact that we don't feel anyone has responded to the allegations in an appropriate manner- Has the JVC fined anyone yet? Gems are still being sold as untreated. Has the FTC issued any warnings specific to this gem? Has customs officials looked into who is passing the gem off on us (Americans) as something it is not?Has the Smithsonian authenticated their donated gem? Has the USA Olympic committee pulled their endorsement of the Olympic Andesine?

Bottom line, forget ISG, forget JTV, we feel the gemological community covers each others backs, have no way to police their own dealings, feel no professional duty to correct any wrongs publicly, and are not pro-active in keeping the gem industry on the up-and-up with definitive testing so consumers can have any degree of confidence in what they buy.

Am I wrong? Please tell me I am. Anyone wondering about their tourmalines about now?

David Fortier, GG said...

Thank you Richard. I really appreciate posts like this that talk openly about important issues in the trade. I am often very frustrated by the secrecy in this business. I understand that many gemstone dealers think that secrecy is the basis of their worth. They should weigh the contributions put forth by you, Richard Hughes (flux-healing in Mong Hsu ruby comes to mind), Vincent Pardieu, and Robert James. There are people who are not afraid to talk about controversial topics, sources, and treatments and who are adding to the trade, not detracting from it. To say that we are in a crisis of consumer confidence in our business is a vast understatement. Let's all open our doors and let folks take a peek. The more consumers know about stones- including controversial treatments- the more they buy. If you think the opposite is true then you haven't been paying attention and you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Lisa Brooks-Pike said...

"A good researcher would however also include all other specimens - and report the uncertainties - in the research before boldly stating that "all" the milk is polluted."

If by "all other specimens" you mean rough and faceted goods from all three major Oregon mines, faceted stones from reputable sellers claiming an origin of Congo, the primary seller claiming "Tibetan Sunstone", all three major television sellers of this material, and a random sampling of ebay sellers goods...
Did that.
If you also mean testing the "rough" from other locations, find me one.
The images taken in the treatment lab by another gemologist, clearly dipicting the treatment process at each 30 day period of the 90 day process, pretty well proved treatment.
Of the more than 200 samples tested, there are no uncertanties about which are treated.

And yes, it is still my opinion that all red and green feldspar not from Oregon has been treated.

We are still waiting to see the "other" mines or the rough they produce.

Alain van Acker said...

Dear Lisa,

I have a few orange-red andesine-labradorite stones here and I could not reproduce your results. When you test 200 stones, you should not only report the ones who fall in the "evidence" category, but also those where you feel uncertain about matching the evidence with other stones. Yelling that you found a discrepancy that is to be held true for all stones is easy, making it hold is the hard part.

I really doubt that the whole industry is plotting against consumers in a cover-up over the andesine question. Alas that is how you go about doing things based on investigations by a guy who can't even understand (or be bothered with) the basics of gemmology.

I would not wear an ISG batch during the coming AGTA Tucson show if I were you. People might think you are an amateur.

Lisa Brooks-Pike said...

Dear Alain,

Last things first if you will allow me. I consider myself an amateur as there is always more to learn in gemology and there will always be new stones and treatments to learn about. It is impossible to know everything about anything, and the continued learning is part of the beauty of gemology. However, I don't share your concerns regarding ISG badges at Tucson.

If you possess material that doesn't show any signs of treatment, those specimens would be important to the overall study. Have you gathered those test results with images for anyone to observe? Or, maybe you would be willing to send those to the ISG to be tested and included in the study? Could they be material from Oregon?

I certainly don't feel the whole industry is plotting against consumers, nor do I feel there is a cover-up. Most of the mass retailers of this material have/had changed their treatment information, including Thaigem/GemsTV, who had listed bulk diffusion with copper and iron and have now changed it back to heat treated. JTV, who has stopped selling it altogether, has changed their treatment information again, now listing "research in progress". It becomes clear that although they all sold the material by the millions of carats directly to the public as natural and untreated, they did not and do not know.

The big question still remains: Why have all efforts to find a single piece of rough, or the verified location of a mine producing red or green feldspar not from Oregon, turned up nothing?

My question: Would it not be a better use of the time and energy of brilliant gemological minds like yours to look into the possibilities of treatment rather than to only look for errors in Robert's work? Is there not enough evidence presented to warrant testing?

Richard W. Wise said...

Lisa & Alaine,

Due to variations in the chemistry of the material, Dr. Emmett got a variety of results (colors) during his experiments with andesine even with stones from the same source. As I am sure you know, this is also the case with beryllium diffusion in sapphire, high and low temperature heat treatment as well.

Methodological errors also lead to inconsistent results. However that sort of error is bad science and conclusions deduced from bad science are frequently the wrong conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Suspicions march 2003
Andesine exist in China from 2002 at less.
http://www.colored-stone.com/stories/mar03/tucson.cfm

Bear said...

Varieties of this andesine material have been found in both Nepal and Mongolia. And evidence is already quite clear that it is found in the rough. So this completely dispels that badly researched (and published) issue.

Now the tough question is going to have to be answered. Yes,diffusion of copper into andesine had been reproduced by Mr. Emmett, and it is evident it took quite a bit of work to get there and it is only SURFACE diffused, not this deep bulk diffusion as ISG says. What is seen in immersion of this material shows VERY clearly the surface diffused rim around the material. All of the photos to date of Mr. James I have seen, do not show this, but something else.

I think the reason Mr. ALain would not want to send stones into ISG for testing is that there is a very good chance the results would be incorrect.

Richard W. Wise said...

Bear,

I have read the JGGL paper. They do seem to confirm Dr. Emmett's findings, that is, they have successfully reproduced the results, but isn't this old news?

On May 17, 2008, Gary Kratochvil published an article http://www.jewelcutter.com/articles/andesine_scam.htm showing JGGL before and after images that were very compelling.

In an email, Mr.
Masaki Furuya of JGGL made the following observations:

"The research about andesine still require further steps. We guess there are many treated ones and some natural stone in the market now, but the identification is not established yet."

The report notes that the halo can be removed during cutting which would make separation more difficult.

neutral said...

It just baffles my mind how these "brilliant" gemmologists turn and twist and refuse to admit that perhaps they should have looked into the matter in a professional way a long time ago. They throw around with facts and possibilities but do not provide one iota of research themselves.

To this day I have not seen a single verified piece of rough andesine coming out of Tibet, Nepal or Mongolia. Also show me your images of surface diffused material of the stones you have. Please.

If you cannot contribute to these interesting questions perhaps you should keep quiet like the other "'professional gemmologists" and let Mr. James speculate. At least he is providing some materials we can look at and form our own opinions.

leftright said...

This is simple. If I owned an andesine mine, and everyone was saying the gem was fake, I'd be letting gemologist from every lab clear to NASA come pick some up to have it tested up the wazoo to prove my gems were genuine, so I could make a fortune as the new source.

So why are the 'sources' so quiet? So reluctant to let anyone see their mine? I'd be spitting mad if my product had been vilified like 'andesine' has been.

Anonymous said...

Bear said, "Varieties of this andesine material have been found in both Nepal and Mongolia. And evidence is already quite clear that it is found in the rough. So this completely dispels that badly researched (and published) issue."

If varieties of the supposed andesine rough material have been found, why haven't they been submitted to GIA, ISG etc? Since the labs have been under the gun on this issue, I would think they would be screaming very loudly that they possessed this rough. I don't know where Mr. Williams got his information, but by all means, please share this information with us. I also don't understand Mr. Williams statements on JCK where he totally supported the ISG and now he has done a total flip flop.
Mr. Williams, could you please explain yourself so that all can understand your position? This total flip flop causes me to really wonder what your intent is. Sounds like a political situation to me.

Richard W. Wise said...

Anonymous,

Not sure why Bear Williams or anyone else for that matter is required to explain himself to anyone, never mind someone named anonymous!

We are having a conversation here about an important issue. This is not a grand jury, no one is being indited. Anyone is allowed to have an opinion and everyone is allowed to change that opinion based on new information or actions. No one is running for anything, save the talk about flip-flops for the political campaign.

Odd, isn't it that a lot of these anonymous comments have a similar tenor. There is no monolithic gemological community, a more diverse group of people is difficult to imagine. Like every community we have our share of saints and sinners, but most of us are just like you, people working our way through life.

Michelle Gauto said...

With all due respect, this situation is annoying. Everyone seems to be able to claim that they have proof of something, but are unable to produce one thing to be verified by others in gemological community. To my knowledge, Robert James has offered his testing samples to any professional that would like them, and he is the only one thus far to offer anything concrete.

The G.I.A. has received rough from the alleged source in Tibet, and where is that report? Also, Dr. Rossman was working on his report for the better part of 6 years, and that still has not been released. There are a plethora of industry experts that I could list, but you get my point.

So, why is it that one can state absolutes without offering any proof? Mr. Williams states “Varieties of this andesine material have been found in both Nepal and Mongolia. And evidence is already quite clear that it is found in the rough.” Mr. Williams, where is that evidence?

In addition, Mr. Wise states that Mr. Williams is not required to explain himself, but unfortunately he is required. He chose his path with the AGTA, and with that comes the responsibility “To create a greater awareness of and knowledge about colored gemstones and act as a source of information for the jewelry trade to disseminate to the consumer” and this is according to the many AGTA objectives on their own website (http://agta.org/about/index.html).

Now, Mr. Williams is entitled to change his opinion based on new information - this is not an issue. However, I do think that the timing of his opinion change is questionable considering his re-appointment to the board of the AGTA. I believe that is what most are truly concerned by. Being objective and changing a stance when presented with evidence is an admirable quality, but only when done without suspicion of an agenda.

For the record this is my real name - will that aid in producing any real answers?

leftright said...

I am not connected with the gemological community. I am a consumer with one agenda. I don't like to be cheated out of my money. I find Robert James' research the most compelling in researching the andesine issue. If everyone else would be as forthright with their research and methods, perhaps we would have more evidence to compare and discuss. I am not a student or graduate at ISG. I do not post on his blog, but I do read his releases on andesine. Frankly, were it not for Mr. James and his students' attitudes, I would think the gemological community a rather unsavory lot. Right or wrong, he's out there. Let others be as forthcoming with their research, and let's see what we have. I, and many of my friends, have stopped buying gemstones all together because we don't trust what we buy anymore. That is the legacy you are producing. I have been posting as leftright, as in 'left right out in the dark'. My real name is Jamie DelSole, if you require that to release additional information.

Bear Williams said...

Ms. Gauto,

I take it you are a student of Mr. James? Due to serious gemological discussions regarding tourmalines, Robert has agreed to pull his news releases regarding those topics.

As a courtesy to Mr. James, I have agreed not to continue my research and discussion on tourmalines (as it seems a moot point anyway).

I have as yet turned my full attention on andesine issues. At this time I might ask that you check with Robert and see if that would be a good thing for me to do or not.

Bear Williams

Lisa Brooks-Pike said...

Hi Bear,

Michelle is neither student nor consumer, but I am uncertain as to why that matters.

I am a little confused by your post. It is my understanding, from a public statement you made, that the tourmaline issues were being removed from public view based on the now cooperative research efforts between ISG and AGTA, possibly including other labs.

I am also wondering why you would be asking if we should check with Robert about your looking further into the Andesine issue. I know you had first look at the material when we started, took internal and external RAMAN readings, and brought up the possibility of heavy metal diffusion, which I believe Ted Themelis has previously reported. There is also a US patent filed regarding this process and confirmation from the JGGL.

Please know that my questions and concerns are sincere and not meant to be argumentative.