By Maya MK

I’m delighted to be here again at International Jewellery London 2018.

Gem A tutor Beth West kicked off #IJL2018 with a bang. She led a Gemmology 101 workshop at the exhibition space in Kensington Olympia.

As the first item on The Carat Soup agenda – West truly set the tone for the next few days ahead. The aim of the session was to give retailers an insight to The Big Four – or awesome foursome as I like to call them – emerald, diamond, ruby and sapphire.

I only stayed for the diamond segment, as I had to rush off for my first of many interviews for my show <<Hidden Gems with Maya>> on Women’s Radio Station.
As Beth reminded the audience, “Plato believed diamonds are the fermentation of the stars” and who are we to argue with Plato, so of course I couldn’t miss this.

Speaking of stars, they seem to have aligned as the first person I bumped into – fresh from her time in NYC, was Sarah Hue Williams.

So where was I? Back to Beth’s talk…

She presented a whole host of fascinating topics which I think are important for each person to do further research. From synthetics, to ethics, block chain and clearly communicating to consumers.

You already know where I stand on lab grown diamonds (LGDs). If you don’t, you can catch up with my podcast episode about them here. Her key questions that we all need to ask RE synthetics are as follows:

gemstone vcWhat is a synthetic diamond?
gemstone vc
Are they diamonds?
gemstone vcHow are they made?
gemstone vcCan you tell the difference?
gemstone vcAre they cheaper than natural diamonds?
gemstone vcCubic Zirconia vs Moissanite? What are they and how do they relate to diamonds?… **SPOILER ALERT**  Neither should be sold with reference to diamonds.

I simply couldn’t have left the workshop without hearing what West had to say on ethics. A hot topic in our industry at the moment and something very close to my heart. Mainly because I’ve had plenty of experience with artisanal miners and they are usually at the core of issues surrounding human rights and mining.
gemstone vc

The Gem A tutor went on to explain the most important part aspect of the purchasing process: transparency, transparency, transparency.
This directly includes traceability also…
With the Kimberley process there’s an enormous question mark surrounding just how far and how sound it can go, as it only applies to rough diamonds. What happens once a teeny tiny sliver of a window is visible? The Kimberly Process is no longer considered. As the the gemstone is no longer a rough diamond thus rendering the Kimberley process is no longer applicable. Canada left the KP as a result of this as well as human rights issues.
gemstone vc

How to prevent this? BLOCKCHAIN. Yes dear reader, that’s correct. Blockchain. For an article that explains this well, check this out here, it’s titled ‘Diamonds are the Latest Industry to Benefit from Blockchain Technology’ in Forbes by staff writer Pamela Ambler.

West completed the diamond segment and tech by saying Blockchain may well be the “saviour of our industry”.

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