Editorial

NAJA’s ACE™ It “Not in Tucson” Conference Virtual and Live Streaming

The National Association of Jewelry Appraisers announces its 55th Annual Winter ACE© It Education Conference held …. in your living room!  … live streaming on January 30 – 31, 2021.

The appraisal organization dedicated exclusively to gems and jewelry presents an outstanding program to assist the professional appraiser’s continuing education during this unprecedented time.

The daily programs are: Saturday, January 30, 2021

The Current State of the Global Jewellery Market   Clare Blatherwick, FGA, DGA

 Clare will look at some of the current trends in the international jewellery market as well as offer some behind the scenes insights into the fascinating world of diamonds, gemstones and jewels. A good opportunity to look at one of the luxury markets in the context of the broader economy.

 Value Considerations for Traceable, “Responsibility Sourced” Gemstones and Jewelry   Eric Braunwart

 In this presentation Eric Braunwart, president of Columbia Gem House, will explore the value factors beyond the 4cs of “responsibly sourced” gemstones. When people ask if traceable thoughtfully sourced gemstones cost more, the answer is usually yes. When asked if manufacturers, retailers and consumers are willing to pay more for this information the answer is also yes. Just as an estate Tiffany pin, or a Burma Ruby command higher prices because of their provenance, so do gemstones and jewelry that have a traceable “pedigree.” But how is the appraiser to assess the validity of an apparent comparable item, since right now, everyone sells “ethically sourced gems?” Rubies with Burma origin can usually be identified even if the journey from the mine to the market is not traced. The same with the Tiffany pin because of authentic hallmarking, but these two examples are a bit different than a “journey trail” that asks and answers questions regarding environmental and social conditions of production. In short, a gemstone that has a documented journey—preferably at all stages of processing—and that documentation supports socially and environmentally positive positions creates greater emotional value for many buyers today. The resulting product often does command a higher price.

Navigating the Sea of Conflicting Evidence   Jill Burgum, GIA GG, Stuart Robertson, GIA GG

 The client presents you with a stunning piece of jewelry featuring a large, important gemstone accompanied by a report from a major gem laboratory. However, is there anything else you should consider before putting your professional reputation on the line? The simple answer is yes. In this presentation, Jill Burgum, Senior Director of Fine Jewelry for Heritage Auctions and Stuart Robertson, Vice President of Gemworld International, discuss considerations when evaluating fine gemstones and their comparables. Jill and Stuart, in their respective roles in the industry, each employs a process for assessing the strength of the evidence supporting an identification or value conclusion, whether based on their own findings or that of a third party. The goal of the process is to ultimately establish the degree of confidence they have that an item truly is what it purports to be. During this presentation, attendees will gain valuable insights regarding how to recognize the potential for conflicting lab reports and how to reconcile their impact on value. The presenters will also explore how otherwise innocuous seeming differences in terminology can have a profound influence on the perception of value for experienced auction clients and prominent gemstone dealers, who consider these issues before they put their money on the line.

Important American Jewelers:  Story, Style and Stamp   Michael Johnson, GIA GG

 In this presentation, we will explore the lives of important 20th-century American jewelry designers, delving into the impact their work had on the jewelry industry in the United States. We’ll dig into the fascinating, behind-the-scenes details that influenced their designs, including a study of where they came from and how they got into the industry. Next, we will examine the nuances of each artist’s personal style in order to be able to identify their work correctly and determine its value in today’s ever-changing marketplace. Finally, we will examine each designer’s stamp, which will help us identify their pieces of jewelry in the future.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Melee:  The Devil (Or Delight) in the Detail   Charles Evans, FGA DGA

 Melee can form a critical component of jewellery, whether accenting a centre stone by means of providing contrast, making stones look bigger than they actually are, allowing a designer to create fine detail, or simply adding ‘bling’ to an item of jewellery. But what role do these little stones play within the wider industry? And as appraisers, what factors should we consider when we value these stones? In this presentation, Charles Evans will explore the importance of melee in jewellery, with some discussion about how consumption of melee impacts the wider industry right from mines to market. We will also examine the importance of distinguishing natural from synthetic; precision cutting; setting and of course, considerations for grading and pricing melee. The aim of the presentation is to assist us as appraisers to approach these little devils (or delights) with confidence and appreciation with a renewed sense of knowledge and understanding.

The Basics of Antique Jewelry Forensics   Nicholle Mogavero, GIA GG

 In this presentation, fellow NAJA member, Nicholle Mogavero—you know her by her moniker, Jewelry Nerd—will discuss the important clues that are often hiding in plain sight that she uses to help distinguish authentic jewelry from marriages of pieces, reproductions and outright fakes! This presentation is geared for appraisers of all experience levels and those that focus on estate and period jewelry.

Trends and Pricing Considerations Spinel, Tourmaline, Aquamarine and Garnet   Roland Schluessel, FGA

Roland will compare past with current trends, stable and variable quality parameter and discuss how to better include these factors into successful appraising activity. Consumers are willing to buy and wear color more than ever before. Many retailers have yet to take advantage of the color trend despite it not showing any signs of weakening for the foreseeable future. Evaluation of colored gemstones is linked to offer and demand, quality parameters and knowledge. Some of these factors change or are perceived differently over time. Understanding these nuances is important to independent appraisers who strive for accuracy when assessing value.

Anatomy of a Lab Report   Chris Smith, GIA GG

 In this presentation, renowned gemologist Christopher Smith, President of American Gemological Laboratories, will discuss the lab process including the steps followed at AGL to establish the required degree of confidence in their findings before the lab will issue a report. Using country of origin and a number of other value determinants as a backdrop, Chris will guide attendees through a journey exploring the anatomy of a lab report, while touching on gemological considerations and challenges from the laboratory perspective. It is not uncommon for appraisers to rely on information supplied by a third party regarding some aspect of the property being examined that the appraiser alone is unable to verify. When the information is gemological nature, a report from a major laboratory is often desirable to address issues of a gem’s nature, quality and provenance. But just what is this lab reporting process and are the resulting conclusions facts, opinions or a combination of both? 

Due to the Covid Pandemic, all NAJA programs and exhibits was cancelled in Tucson.  As a special effort to keep the membership informed and together, we are offering this intense yet shorted conference venue.

To retrieve a conference brochure go to http://www.najaappraisers.com/html/conferences.html. For further information, contact Gail Brett Levine, GG, Executive Director, National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, 718.896-1536, naja.appraisers@netzero.net, www.NAJAappraisers.com.

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