Scottish Gemmological Association


Friday, 4th May, 2018

6.15 to 7.15p.m

Registration and a welcoming drink to be enjoyed with friends old and new

7.15 - 8.15p.m

Leo and Ginnie de Vroomen: The Joy of Colour and Form – fifty years of creative partnership

De Vroomen jewellery is internationally renowned for its bold and dramatic form, and exciting use of colour.

The master goldsmith Leo de Vroomen and his artist/designer wife Ginnie, have consistently pushed the boundaries, technically and aesthetically during their fifty year partnership.  They have revived and developed the ancient technique of repoussé, and explored the endless possibilities provided by enamel to create their distinctive style.

They will show examples of their work and discuss why their creative partnership has been so fruitful.  This will include a brief résumé of their careers, establishing their company, competing in an international market, and the importance of design integrity alongside financial and creative independence.

from 8.15p.m   Barbecue Dinner


Saturday, 5th May, 2018

Morning from 9.00a.m

09.00 - 09.15a.m Welcome

09.15 - 10.15a.m    Elise Skalwold:  From Gemology to Mineral Physics and Back Again,  Including an Update on a Gem of the Future: Nano-Polycrystalline Diamond (NPD)

In the author's ever-expanding experience of the world of gems, the study of gemology has led her on an unexpected and fascinating journey into the realms of mineralogy and high-level mineral physics research. Through a behind-the-scenes tour of her own collaborative research projects, this presentation gives the audience a taste of the complex scientific efforts which directly or indirectly support the day-to-day gemological science on which the gem industry relies, but which often remain relatively invisible. Central to the story are her co-researchers and other colleagues who enrich the quest for understanding and interpreting this fascinating world.

The thread which binds this journey is the intense investigation of a blue crystal included within a diamond macle. Over a four year period, some of the most technologically advanced instrumentation in the world has yielded volumes of data and a conclusion that this pleochroic crystal is olivine, though as yet no conclusive reason for its anomalous color. Nonetheless, the high degree of scrutiny to which this diamond and its inclusions have been subjected is in itself a remarkable story and provides insights into a world deep within the Earth – arguably one of its last frontiers and one which is otherwise inaccessible.

Inextricably linked to this story is the Diamond Anvil Cell (DAC), a remarkable instrument used in high pressure research. Not only does the DAC utilize gem quality diamonds in its own construction, it is also used to study the Deep Earth environment in which diamonds form. Gemmy nano-polycrystalline diamond (NPD) plays an important role in both the DAC and in our understanding of natural gem diamonds.

10.15 - 10.45a.m   Coffee

10.45 - 11.45a.m   Hanco Zwaan: Metamorphic sapphires – origin and characteristics

Optical properties, inclusions and geochemistry are commonly measured and interpreted meticulously to form an opinion on the provenance and origination of sapphires. The origin of sapphires is often simply referred to as basalt-related or non-basalt related or linked to the mode of formation, such as syenitic, plumasitic, metamorphic and metasomatic.

The geology of basalt-related sapphires is often well known, whereas on the contrary, the formation of sapphires related to a metamorphic origin is less understood. This is due to the fact that metamorphic sapphires are often found in alluvial deposits and primary rocks are not well known or were even not found.

Study of primary sapphire occurrences in Sri Lanka give insights on how metamorphic sapphires may be formed and how their properties are related to this mode of formation. The results will be compared with sapphires from other occurrences, which may have formed similarly or differently.

11.45 - 12.15p.m tba

Break for Lunch, 12.15 - 2.15p.m

2.15 - 3.15p.m Craig Lynch:  The Valuation of Rare Gems

Where "passion" and "process" meet.

What do you do when there is very little or no comparison data for valuation?

If you are passionate about gemstones, this presentation will have something for you, especially, if you are NOT a valuer of gems and jewellery!  Learn how the right research can benefit YOU, no matter what you do within the jewellery business.

3.15 - 3.45p.m   Break for Coffee

3.45 - 4.45p.m  Helen Molesworth:  The Gemstone Market: A Historical Perspective (with a Focus on Rubies)

The jewellery industry and gem markets have seen great change and development in recent years, apparently more than ever before. Markets have experienced both growth and fluctuation on a massive scale. World records are constantly being broken. Recent sales results are frequently seen and discussed.

Yet this is all often without a larger context. Much of our price and value knowledge comes from recent, living memory, but what do we know about gem pricing in the recent and even distant past? How have we got to where they we are today, compared with a hundred, or more, years ago; how has our concept of prices and value changed? And furthermore, can this help indicate where we are going? Helen will address the importance of history, historical examples and models, with a particular focus on rubies, and investigate shifts in the market from the perspective of the bigger picture.


Evening from 7.00 for 7.30p.m,

Drinks Reception followed by Gala Dinner

Sunday, 6th May, 2018

Morning, from 9.00a.m

09.00 - 10.00   Elise Skalwold: The Fabled Viking Sunstone,  Exploring the Optical Phenomena of Pleochroism and Birefringence

The intriguing theory of the Viking's use of a coveted stone to find their way in arctic waters has its roots in the ancient Viking Sagas, optical mineralogy, and in practical application by modern navigators. The proposed minerals thought to be the Fabled Viking "Sunstone" are excellent models for understanding the optical phenomena of pleochroism and birefringence - the very properties which make them useful for navigation are also those which make them valuable as lapidary and gem materials today. There are several candidates for the stone, among them are "Iceland Spar" calcite of which a coveted optical quality was found abundantly in Iceland, and the blue variety of the mineral cordierite, found in Norway and popularly known as "Viking's Compass" and as the gem "iolite."

The former is explored in Elise's 2015 paper "Double Trouble: Navigating Birefringence" published by the Mineralogical Society of America, while the latter is featured in her paper "Blue Minerals: Exploring Cause & Effect" published in the special 2016 January/February issue of Rocks & Minerals magazine. A practical lesson in mineral optics from ancient Viking mariners for today's gemologists!

10.00 - 10.15   Gem-A update

10.15 - 10.45   Coffee

10.45 - 11.45  Shelly Sergent: Gems with a Story to Tell

So often, the perfect gem is found and excitedly added to your collection of beauties.  As you gaze upon it's fantastic colour or study a cool inclusion pattern, you often think, "I'd really like to know where this gem has been and the story behind it".

Join Shelly for that rare story, when you learn the history of a gem and the romance and /or tragedy behind it.

Hailing from an Alan Hodgkinson 2013 Tucson presentation of the same title, the sequel comes back to his home - with love.

11.45 - 12.15   Awards:  Gemmology students and GemSet Competition winners

After the morning's presentations, we will be making awards to Gemmology students and to out Student GemSet Competition winners.  The prize winning pieces will be available to view at this time and will be featured on our website.

Lunch from 12.15p.m

Afternoon, from 1.15p.m    Workshop sessions detailed separately


Evening, departing hotel at 6.45p.m

Dinner at Vecchio Bologna Restaurant, Bridge of Allan


Monday 7th May, 2018


Depart Hotel for a field trip to the Campsie Fells collecting Jasper,


Depart Hotel for a visit to the Deanston Whisky Distillery and the Scottish Antique and Arts Centre at Doune.


We expect both these excursions to be over and any participants who want to be returned to the hotel, to be there by 2.30p.m. 

We will do our  best to accommodate individual travel arrangements - please ask.


PLEASE NOTE:  This is the proposed running order, however the order and timings may need to be adjusted slightly.

Further details of the talks and speakers follow on the relevant pages.