THE WORLD’s leading gem expert is to make a rare visit to Scotland to discuss his groundbreaking work with gemstones.
John Koivula is globally renowned for his research and photographs of precious stones, including rubies, sapphires and emeralds. He is also Chief Research Gemologist with the influential Gemological Institute of America in California.
As the scientific community’s own “King of Bling”, Mr Koivula is a hugely sought after speaker.
Now gem experts are celebrating after luring him to Scotland to take part in the biggest event in the country’s gemmological calendar.
An entirely new gem-based art form
During his 40 year career Mr Koivula has revolutionised the study of tiny patterns within gemstones, not only affecting the way stones are valued but creating an entirely new art form with his stunning photographs.
The internal patterns, known to gem experts as inclusions, are rarely visible to the naked eye and were once written off as flaws, which could reduce the value of a stone.
However Mr Koivula’s research and photographs have shown how inclusions can actually help identify synthetic or heat treated stones and even help pinpoint exactly where a gem was mined – all important in accurate valuation.
Last night Edinburgh jeweller Alistir Tait, one of the organisers of the Scottish Branch of the Gemmological Association’s annual conference, said they were thrilled the American expert has agreed to address the event.
Mr Tait added: “I cannot think of anyone in the gem world more respected or sought after than John Koivula and to bring him to Scotland is a huge coup.
“He has never made any sort of public appearance inside Scotland and could have easily had his pick of events in London or other major European cities
A gemmological superstar
“Many people will be stunned to learn that he is coming here and as a result we will have delegates from across the UK and Europe to hear him speak. In gemmological terms this really is a very significant event.
“It underlines how Scotland has grown in stature as a venue of gemmological interest, not least because it has a rich heritage of producing fascinating precious and semi-precious stones.”
Mr Tait, who runs an antique and fine jewellery shop in Rose Street, Edinburgh, is also a respected expert and was the youngest ever Fellow of the Gemmological Association. He has spent many years sourcing homegrown Scottish gemstones, including cairngorms, sapphires and pearls.
He is one of the major sponsors and organisers of the ninth annual conference of the Scottish Branch of The Gemmological Association, which will run for four days at the Lovat Hotel in Perth from April 30.
More than 80 gem enthusiasts and experts will attend the event, where they will also hear from other renowned speakers, such as pearl expert Elisabeth Strack, the founder of the Gemmological Institute of Hamburg.
Her talk will be extremely topical after the Scottish Executive recently clamped down on the sale of Scottish freshwater pearls – even antiques – as part of a drive to preserve the threatened Scottish freshwater mussel.
Other guest speakers include former De Beers diamond worker Colin Towler, leading independent jewellery valuer, Peter Buckie and renowned British gemmologist Alan Hodgkinson.
Mr Tait added: “With two experts of such international calibre as well as a number of other fascinating guest speakers, this promises to be our best ever event which will put the Scottish Branch firmly on the map.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
John Koivula is internationally recognised for his groundbreaking work in photomicrography. He has won countless international awards and is the co-author of the widely acclaimed reference book, Photoatlas of Inclusions in Gemstones. More recently he showcased his stunning photographs in The MicroWorld of Diamonds.