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2012 Issue 2 Far East Gem Institute

Build your Career

in the Jewellery Industry

Discover the variety of job opportunities the jewellery trade can offer you


Follow us on a journey into an operational gemstone mine!

LAB FINDINGS Find out how our gemologist uncover a gemstone scam!

Peranakan Dreams Creation by featured jewellery designer, Jil Lin.

EDITOR’S NOTE “Why do I need to learn gemology? How can I be qualified and be called a ‘gemologist’? What can I do after I have completed my gemological studies? Is there any future for me in the gems and jewellery industry? “ Gemology is a very interesting topic for study. Many people come forward to learn about gemstones out of their own interests. However, there are also many who want to carve out a career in this industry with the knowledge of gemology.

What’s gemology if we only look at what’s being portrayed in the local context? Well-known international gemologists have put in much of their time into the most amazing research topics such as ‘Organics’ and ‘Medicinal value of gemstones’. Gemology is thus not only limited to ‘treatments’, ‘synthetics’ and ‘imitations’, although these are still very important aspects of gemology that one should be aware of, especially consumers.

However, being in the retail line not only requires sales and customer service skills, but also product knowledge.

In our local context, much emphasis has been placed on the retail segment for the jewellery industry. However, being in the retail line not only requires sales and customer service skills, but also product knowledge.


Our local jewellery designers have also recognized the need to learn and understand gemology in order to create designs that are more aesthetic, more durable and more wearable. Science and art have thus almagamated and made their mark as one through beautiful jewellery pieces.


Chief Editor Tay Thye Sun Executive Editors Loke Huiying Tay Kunming

The work of a gemologist is even more exciting when it comes to fieldwork, experiencing the mining of gemstones first-hand. In Singapore, such an experience is hard to come by. However, I am glad I had the opportunity to be in Sri Lanka, Ratnapura (City of Gems), so that I can show you “Where Gemology Comes Alive “. I hope that you enjoy this 2nd issue of The Gem Times, and anticipate the coming of the 3rd issue in due time. Loke Huiying Executive Editor Far East Gem Institute

Article Contributors Clara Yeo Lee Mengling Maggie Campbell Pedersen Jessie Foo Yuli Jil Lin Bob Li

Writer Loke Huiying Proofreader Veronique Galistan

Designer Bob Li




B-Jade Beads Necklace Sold as Natural Jadeite Jade Scam in the Making One Million Dollars Rough Ruby Carving



My Learning Journey From GIA-Carlsbad – HRD-Antwerp – GAGTL- Singapore In search of Gem Talents An interview with a HR Manager 14


Why do we need to learn about ‘Organics’? The Finest Gems Are they the Best Medicine? 19


The Designer and Founder Jessie Foo Yuli A Designer at Heart Capturing all that Glitters 22


A Gem Mining Experience

Far East Gemological Institute Pte Ltd Reg. No: 20101354H Validity: 15 May 2012 to 14 May 2013

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COPYRIGHT STATEMENT This is a publication of Far East Gemological Institute Pte Ltd. The Publication is distributed free to its students and members of the public and has no subscription or newsstand price. Copyright (c) Far East Gemological Institute Pte Ltd, 2012. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without prior written permission. All rights reserved.



Fig. 3.

Under microscopic observation, the broken bead shows a clean polymer area under transmitted lighting (15x).

B-jade beads necklace sold as

natural jadeite jade by Tay Thye Sun & Loke Hui Ying Far East Gemological Laboratory Singapore

A strand of graduating jade bead necklace (Fig.1) was brought to our gem lab for examination. The client claimed that he paid US$200 for the necklace and in our experience, a light to mediumlight green should cost much more in the current market situation. The necklace is accompanied by a trade gem report issued from Vietnam, stating that the jade necklace is natural jadeitejade with all the gemological properties. The report did not mention any treatment done to the jade beads.

The colour of the beads ranged from light green to medium-light green with waxy lustre. Some of the colour distribution in the jade beads were rather uneven and zoning on some crystal grains could be observed (Fig. 2). Based on the gemological properties, the R.I. 1.66 spot reading, absorption spectrum 437, 630, 655 and 690nm tallied with jadeite-jade. Under microscopic observation, the surface features of the jadeite beads showed granular crystal grain structure ‘breakup’ or “spiderwedlike” due bleaching process (Fig. 2). Fig. 1.

A jade necklace with graduating 66 pieces of round jadeite-jade beads (photo by Tay Thye Sun)


Fig. 2.

Natural green colour distribution with squarish colour zoning patches seem in the centre here, under reflected lighting throught the microscope. Also nearer to the spot light on the surface, the surrounding area show very fine ‘breakup’ of crystal grain structure (15x).

Checking through each bead, one broken bead showed some transparency along the broken area that was filled with some kind of polymer (Fig.3). This raised our suspicions further, and we checked the beads under ultraviolet long wave (UVLW) illumination. Under UVLW, the necklace appeared to have patches of moderate to strong chalky blue fluorescence, and the broken bead with polymer was fluorescent strong chalky blue along the vein (Fig. 4). Some of the jade beads were found to have surface pit marks with uneven lustre and the quality of polish is rather poor (Fig.5).

Fig. 4.

Patchy strong chalky blue fluorescence under long wave ultraviolet lighting (10x) and particular attention to the bead at the bottom with a vein fluorescence as broken bead seen Fig. 3. (arrow).

Fig. 5.

Under microscopic observation, a rather dull lustre seen compared to a greasy lustre from the surrounding surface (arrow)

Conclusion: B-jade has been around since mid-1980s, and it continues to pose problems to the jade dealers as well as consumers when it comes to identification of these treated materials. In this situation, the jadeite-jade beads were sold as natural jadeite without disclosure of treatment to a Singaporean tourist. To make the deal seem legitimate, the Vietnamese jade dealer even provided a gem report to show that it was natural. Our

Reference: observation found that the beads were bleached and polymer impregnated based on basic gemological tools. Therefore, the trade needs to remain vigilant on B-jade and B+C-jade or even D-jade (jade doublet) and also provide full disclosure on the type of treatment to the consumers in order to give confidence to the trade as a whole.

Fristch, E., Wu, S-T.T., Moses, T., McClure, S.F. and Moon, M. (1992) Identification of bleached and polymer impregnated jadeite. Gems & Gemology, 28 (3), 176-187. Tay, T.S., Paul, S. and Puah, C.M. (1993), SEM studies of bleached and polymer impregnated jadeite, The Australian Gemmologist, 18 (8), 257-261.


A scam in the making! A million dollars rough ruby carving

An ornamental ruby carving with a specially made wooden stand was brought to our laboratory for evaluation. The ruby carving weighed 5,983.7 grams with the dimensions 216 x 206 x 95mm (Fig. 1). Our client claimed that a dealer wanted to sell it for Singapore dollar $1.5 million. The ruby rough carved looked like a miniature mountain and was mediumlight purplish red, opaque to semi-translucent with dark veins of mineralization on the front and back of the stone. We tested the stone with prism spectroscope and found that it belonged to the corundum species.

Fig. 1.

Ornamental carving of ruby resembling a miniature mountain (photo by Tay Thye Sun).


Fig. 3.

Many 1 to 2mm drilled holes found on the ruby carving.

Fig. 2.

Showing dark mineralized veins and fissures running through the ruby (left, front of carving and bottom, back of carving).

Quality analysis of the ruby carving The quality of colour is medium-light purplish-red on the front part of the rough material (Fig. 3) and lighter purplish red at the back of the rough. The colour of ruby is natural with no evidence of dye. Further examination found that there were multiple drilled holes on the back of the ruby carving with some drilled holes measuring 1 to 2mm in width and the depth of 2 to 3mm in depth(Fig. 4). We suspected that the owner might have tried checking the quality of the ruby further into the rough material, but unfortunately it is the same material all the way through.


Fig. 4.

This is not a gem quality material on closed up as seen through the drilled holes. (20x)

The ruby carving was not of gem quality material due to these reasons: The transparency was opaque to semi-translucent and the colour was medium-light purplish-red. From our experience, many of these types of opaque ruby rough come from a Longido mine in Arusha, Tanzania and that the mine produces some large pieces of rubies that are used mainly for carving. The market price for this type of material is between $5,000 to $10,000/-.



My gemological learning journey started in 1997 in the Robert Mouawad Campus at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) World Headquarters at Carlsbad. It was then a place of desert and mountain terrain combined with miles of beaches. I couldn’t differentiate between the blue sky and the blue sea for they appeared

to be seamlessly connected. The scenery was amazingly beautiful and the air was always fresh as the school campus was built on higher ground. The surrounding area had yet to be fully developed so we students enjoyed many serene moments during our stay. First, I underwent the Diamond & Diamond Grading Course. The lessons were interesting, especially the practical sessions,

for ever so often someone would exclaim, “Oh no! My diamond flew away!” At times, the whole class would spend more than half an hour looking for the “runaway” diamond, only to find it in the most unusual locations such as a shirt pocket or a shoe. On one memorable occasion the diamond actually ended up in a more intimate location, which amused us to no end.

My Learning Journey:

From GIA-Carlsbad – HRD-Antwerp – GAGT L- Singapore

After completing the Diamond & Diamond Grading course, I continued with the Coloured Stones & Coloured Stones Grading Course, followed by the Gems Identification Course. I remember everyone being very nervous during the final 20 stones Practical Exam. In order to pass this exam and be certified as a Graduate Gemologist (G.G), all 20 stones had to be correctly identified. Everyone was allowed to re-sit for the exam only twice. 8

To my happiness, I passed on my first attempt.

gemologist (G.G) course in GIA recognized him as he was the well-respected author of our Besides my lessons and exams, I reference book “The Handbook had other great experiences on of Gem Identification”. The campus. It was my privilege to gemological library was the place attend the opening ceremony of the which I frequently visited during Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological my lunch break as it contained Library. I actually met Mr Richard an unparalleled collection of T. Liddicoat, Jr on campus a few books, photographic images, times. One of the world’s best– international journals & videos. known gemologists, he always I also had the opportunity to had a friendly smile on his face. visit the GIA museum to view its Every student taking the graduate exciting and rare displays.

I have many fond memories of my wonderful classmates. They came from all over the world - America, Korea, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Belgium and the Middle East are just a few examples of their homelands. My accommodations were arranged for by the institute and as the only Singaporean, I was lucky to be paired up with a very nice roommate, Ms Soo Yeon Lee from Korea who drove me to school almost every day! In return, I would cook some simple Chinese dishes to share with her. Together with our classmates, we rewarded

GIA Graduate Diamonds diploma; GIA Graduate Coloured Stones Diploma. After graduating from the GIA, I returned to Singapore. A friend of mine, who had already completed his Graduate Gemologist course via distance-learning with GIA, graduated from HRD Antwerp Institute of Gemmology at the same time. My curiosity was piqued. I asked him if there were any differences between the Diamond Grading Systems used by GIA and HRD Antwerp, to which he replied, “Go study in

ourselves for studying hard with visits to the museums, theme parks, factory outlets and many rounds of potluck in each other’s apartments.

HRD and find out for yourself!”

The GIA courses definitely benefited me by setting the foundation in my gemological learning journey. After more than 6 months of learning on the GIA Robert Mouawad Campus, I earned myself three diplomas:

At HRD Antwerp, I took up two courses. The first was the Certified Diamond Grader course, and the other was the Sorting of Polished Diamonds – Small Goods course. I spent more than three months in Antwerp. The school was right in the centre of the city of Antwerp, surrounded by many buildings and diamond centres. The weather

GIA Graduate Gemologist (GG) diploma;

Two months later, I flew to Antwerp.

was vastly different from that of Carlsbad, and so was the learning environment. My classmates were more mature and many were already in the trade with years of experience. One of them had already worked as a marker! The majority of them were from India and the rest came mostly from South Africa, the Middle East, South America and other European countries. The students were serious learners and the teachers, highly competent. Ms Chantal, made a keen impression on me due to her efficiency and accuracy. She was my favourite teacher in both the courses. The sorting class was quite

enjoyable. A small mountain of melee gems weighing between 25 and 35 carats was poured onto the white sorting board in front of me. In the next moment, more than 15 – 25 smaller mountains started to form as the stones were sorted according to colour, clarity or size. The sorting sped up after days & days of practice. Colour sorting ranged from colourless to yellowish to brownish to greyish. Clarity sorting ranged from VVS to Pique. In the Diamond Grading Course, there were some 9

differences in the methods taught between the GIA & HRD. GIA diamond course was more focused on the trade and the market. I was taught about the history of diamond mining, i.e. by De Beers Group. It included topics from mining to cutting to manufacturing. The 4Cs were touched on and we learned the practical hands-on diamond grading. HRD diamond grading course on the other hand, was more focused on grading the quality of diamonds. The way the course was being conducted was very concise and systematic. At the end of the course, I could really call myself a Certified Diamond Grader! Studying in HRD-Antwerp gave me a chance to visit the Diamond bourse and the diamond cutting centre. It was an eye-opening experience which transformed what we had learned from theory to reality. Thus, I earned myself 2 more diplomas: HRD Diploma of Certified Diamond Grader HRD Diploma of Sorting of Small Goods – Polished My learning journeys in the USA & Belgium were greatly different but both were highly positive experiences. I gained not only academic achievement but friendship and greater knowledge of the cultures of various countries.

and Gem Testing Laboratory (UK), better known as GAGTL. This diploma is internationally recognized as the most distinguished gem qualification available in the trade. Attainment of the diploma qualifies one to be a Fellow member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, hence the diploma is more commonly known as the FGA diploma. I met up with Mr Tay Thye Sun at the institute, which was then located at Basement 2 of Tanglin Shopping centre. Mr Tay was very friendly and I was very impressed with his educational background. I decided to take up the challenge and signed up for the course. Although I was the only student, Mr. Tay went ahead with the course and spent precious time tutoring me. The study materials of the FGA Diploma course were more detailed than those of my previous courses and as such, I gained a deeper understanding of the various topics in gemology. I attended class thrice a week as a part-time candidate and managed to earn ‘A’s in both my theory & practical preliminary examinations. The following year, I continued to pursue the FGA diploma. However I almost dropped out of the course due to my first pregnancy. I could not concentrate on reading as the morning sickness of my first trimester resulted in dizziness that made me see double.

Fortunately, Mr. Tay encouraged me to press on as I had come so In 1999, I came across an far and he felt that it would be advertisement by the Far a shame to waste all the effort East Gemological Institute in which I had poured in so far. With Singapore. It would be conducting renewed motivation, I managed the Gemmology Diploma course to complete my studies despite by the Gemmological Association the unfavourable conditions and 10

gained the much-coveted FGA diploma. Gemology has seen me through tough days as well as happy ones. The friendships and relationships which I have gained on my learning journey are invaluable. I am very proud to say that I am a gemologist and I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experience with gemstone enthusiasts.

Clara Yeo See Yee GIA – G.G (1997) HRD – C.D.G (1998) GAGTL - FGA (2000)

The best motivational incentive is to offer them training opportunities. How do you think a jewellery designer can be an asset in a jewellery company? The jewellery designer is able to create an artistic impression on the jewellery to be sold. What do you think of the standard of service in Singapore’s jewellery retail trade? How do you think the situation can be improved?

S T N E ger TAL


Some retail stores have high standards of service. On average, service standard is below par, perhaps due to the lack of training for the retail staff. This gap in standard of service could possibly be improved if companies embark on Customer-Centric Initiatives or training programs.

na a M M E G an HR F O th i H w C w SEAR tervie An in

Very often, one of the ‘first’ jobs of a fresh graduate may involve the retail sector. In the jewellery retail trade, the position of a retail sales associate is not always highly coveted. Nevertheless, it is a position that is nearly always the first step to greater career advancements. In this article, we will hear from a HR manager, Ms Lee Mengling from On Cheong Jewellery. As a HR manager of a well established jewelry company, what do you look for in a jewellery retail sales executive and jewellery designer? In general, we look for someone who has the following skill sets, knowledge and experience: Product Knowledge; Customer Service Skill / Designing Skill; Relevant experience in sales / jewellery design

For a jewellery retail sales executive, product knowledge is very important as accurate information ought to be communicated to the customers during the sales process. Some relevant sales experience be it for the fashion, watch or even shoe industry would be plus points! What are some of the challenges you face when you go through the employment process? Lack of product knowledge from potential candidates is a major challenge. Some potential candidates have very pleasant personalities, but lack in customer service skills and sales experience. Some applicants have jewellery designing background but are not willing to work on odd hours or weekends. Others may have a number of years of sales experience but with this comes high salary expectations.

How would you advise people who may be considering a career in this area of jewellery design as well as a jewellery retail? Jewellery design graduates or anyone who wishes to enter the jewellery retail trade must have the passion in providing high quality customer service and a sense of appreciation of beautiful things. Take the initiative to learn the ropes of the trade and acquire knowledge on gemology, including precious metals. Positive attitudes, such as being prepared to work for longer hours, being patient to master the skills and knowledge will distinguish themselves from the rest.



Fanc Colou Diam Sapphire

y ured monds


Rare Gemstones


than minerals, and have a longer history. They were used in very early trade and barter. Both Baltic amber and African ivory have been traded for thousands of years. When

Fig. 1.

Cast phenolic resin beads imitating red amber.

what we are dealing, and what is exhibited in our museums. Researchers and the public alike want to know what it all is, from where it came, and from what it is made. A piece of Boulle-style furniture is all the more impressive today because we know that it is covered in a veneer of tortoiseshell and brass. To label it

Why do we need to

learn about‘Organics’?

With the possible exception of pearls, organic gem materials (that is those derived from plants or animals), are treated by most gemologists as inexpensive and therefore the least interesting of our gem materials. Many of them for example ivory and tortoiseshell are now covered by trade bans, which make them less accessible. There are moves afoot to ban the trade in some corals and shells. Amber is so often ‘faked’ that many people consider it best avoided. So why do we bother at all? Firstly, organic gem materials have been more widely used 14

worn, organics have denoted status, and they have been thought to have talismanic and medicinal properties. Not only have they been used in the jewellery world, but very extensively in the decorative arts as well. From the humble shoe horn to the most magnificent Lalique brooch in the Western world, ro a tribal feather headdress to a carved fertility symbol in far flung civilisations, organics feature in every culture of the world. Apart from anything else, organics are a window on history. We have only to think of medieval religious carvings in ivory as an example of this. It is necessary to know with

brass and some mottled brown stuff would simply not suffice. Organics do not comply with the usual rules for gem materials. They are often not rare, they are often inexpensive, and they are often not durable. While amber and jet are millions of years old, other organics such as pearls are growing now. When they are faked, the chosen material is usually plastic. And to test organics we use totally different methods to the usual gemological tests, relying more on visual examination and touch than anything else. At an auction recently I came

across a pewter cup with an outer casing of a carved brown material. The size, shape and colour all said ‘coconut’, but without some knowledge of the material it would have been impossible to verify without removing the inner, pewter lining. We also have to deal with fakes Too often I hear stories of organics being wrongly identified, as for example the row of faceted beads which had been identified by a reputable jeweller as ‘magnificent red amber’. They were beautiful, but they were all totally even in colour and

Fig. 2.

Amber is probably the most commonly faked of the organics, but it is not the only one. A pink ‘precious coral’ brooch may turn out to be celluloid devoid of internal structure. Plus, the fact that it is very light in weight as well as being warm to the touch would indicate that it is not coral (which would be heavier, cold, and have internal structure which

Maggie Campbell Pedersen June 2012

Tortoiseshell hair comb with piqué point work.

completely transparent, containing no imperfections whatsoever. It was also obvious that they had been moulded rather than carved. They were typical of cast phenolic resin, made in the middle of the twentieth century, and are now regarded as collectors’ items. They are so popular that they are being copied – or should I say re-faked? – and sold under the somewhat dubious name of ‘vintage cherry amber Bakelite’. When tested in salt water they sank like a stone, proving that they were not amber. Nowadays we come across cases where for instance a two hundredyear-old Colombian copal which has undergone a series of treatments in an autoclave to turn it green, and is sold as ‘two million-year-old natural green Caribbean amber’.

fakes, we also have to ensure that they don’t purchase anything from an endangered species. If we were unable to identify tortoiseshell or the various types of ivory, the fight against poaching and illegal trade would soon be lost. It may be a matter of opinion whether an elephant (ivory) is more interesting than a hole in the ground (a gem mine), but like it or not, we do need to know about organics.

Fig. 3.

Coconut and pewter cup.

can be seen under magnification). Or a ‘horn’ cup may display tiny bubbles when viewed under magnification. As horn is keratin – like our fingernails – it would be akin to finding air bubbles in our fingernails, so the material is probably plastic. It seems so logical, yet we face an uphill struggle in trying to educate the public about organics, especially since there is such wide access to misinformation and misrepresentation online, especially through the online auction sites. If we gemologists and traders do not know what we are dealing with, how can we expect the public to know?

Further information on organic gem materials can be found on the author’s website (www.maggiecp. com) by registering your name and e-mail address in the section entitled ‘Organic Gems’.

Further, not only do we need to protect the public from buying 15

The finest gems: Are they the best medicine? Article by Anita Shenoi. Featured in Gems & Jewellery, Autumn 2011.

Reprinted with kind permission from The Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A).

No-one would deny the aesthetic enticement of a blood-red ruby, a gorgeous green emerald or a deep blue sapphire. The sky-high prices that some are prepared to pay for gems of the finest hue are true testament to this fact. But rather than being an excessively indulgent fancy, could our quest for perfect colour be driven by some deeper biological need? The very fact that we see in colour at all provides us with a starting point for consideration. Sophisticated chromatic sensitivity is closely linked to our survival as a species. However, while we may understand how colour perception can protect us from danger, we may not understand its importance at a cellular level. This article explores how colour affects us and why, rather than merely being life-enhancing, it is life-essential. Moreover, it gives us clues as to what lies behind our passion for those perfect vehicles of light and colour.

Investigating the effects of coloured light Most people are well aware of how daylight affects living organisms. The natural cycles of light and dark directly influence our circadian rhythms which govern hormones, cell regeneration and brain activity. Any disruptions to these can result in severe ill effects; at best fatigue and depression, at worst stunted growth and even premature death. We may be less aware, however, of how coloured light affects biological processes. I reviewed research on the medically proven effects of coherent red, blue and green light and considered whether this may help to explain why the gemstones which correlate with these colours are said to have therapeutic value.

RED LIGHT In medieval times it was believed that the treatment of smallpox involved draping both the patient and the infirmary room in red to block out daylight. In 1893 Danish professor and 1903 Nobel Prize winner Niels Ryberg Finsen demonstrated that the healing effects of this ancient practice were very real1, as deep red would block out the intense blue and ultraviolet radiation which exacerbated pox symptoms. Since the invention of the laser in 1960, the potential of using red and infrared to heal has been more widely researched and exploited. In the late 1960s, Low Level Laser Therapy was shown by Endre Mester at Semmelweiss University, Budapest, to successfully treat non-healing ulcers, and the role of red light in dermal regeneration went on to be investigated. Estonian biologist Professor Tiina Karu has suggested that colour purity is central to the healing effect of laser light, its monochromatic quality being retained and transmitted in biological tissue. Human cells are not normally capable of photosynthesis but stimulated with monochromatic light; mitochondria (our cellular power houses) will harvest this precise optical energy and use it according to local need2. The obvious choice: ruby Ruby has traditionally been used in gemstone therapy to alleviate problems associated with the muscular system, among other uses3. But why choose ruby rather than another red stone? It is believed that that the specific crystal structure of red corundum offers the most concentrated vibrational energy of red light and is therefore the best stone to convey its healing properties. The gem rays pass through the body and influence cellular behaviour in a similar way to infrared rays. Knowing that the first lasers were made with ruby and that human cells respond to monochromatic light, we can see how modern science has made discoveries that may substantiate this belief.


BLUE LIGHT Neonatal jaundice was once a common and lethal affliction of the prematurely born. During the evacuations of the London Blitz, however, nurses made an accidental discovery that would end up saving generations to come. It was found that babies who had been left to sleep in churches under deep blue stained glass windows did not succumb to the disease. Later research4 demonstrated that short wave blue light penetrated the capillaries and broke down the substance bilirubin — the substance responsible for the blood poisoning associated with jaundice. As a result, all maternity intensive care units are now equipped with deep blue lamps. Since the early twenty-first century, more efficient, fibre-optic blankets have been developed that emit light at a wavelength of 425 – 475 nm — the optimum wavelength range for rendering bilirubin harmless5. The therapeutic value of blue light is not limited to the above. Blue light at a wavelength of 415 nm has an antibacterial effect, useful in the treatment of acne and other skin disorders. Recent research by George Brainard at Jefferson Medical College has also revealed that the ganglia in our eyes6 show maximum sensitivity to clear blue at 468 nm — the typical colour of a bright blue sky. Further research linking the effect of blue light and our circadian rhythms has sparked the use of bluish light in factories and offices to increase wakefulness and productivity, while treatment with blue light from LEDs has been successfully shown to stabilize Alzheimer patients7. The obvious choice: blue sapphire In gemstone therapy, blue sapphire has traditionally been used to treat disorders of the vascular and nervous system, the sense organs and the brain. Like ruby, it is believed that the structure of corundum gives the most concentrated vibrational energy of the blue ray and is therefore the best stone to convey its healing properties. Similarly, it seems that what we now know about the action of blue light on the capillaries gives credence to the idea that sapphire, as a transporter of such light, has a therapeutic effect on the vascular system. Likewise, we see a correlation between the documented brain-stimulating effects of blue light and the idea that sapphire is beneficial to the nervous system and brain.

GREEN LIGHT The efficacy of green light is beginning to be realized with the emerging use of green light lasers in the treatment of prostate cancer. Green laser has proved to be much more effective for soft tissue vaporization and coagulation because green light is highly absorbed by oxyhaemoglobin, but not by water8. This means patients treated with green laser experience fewer post-op effects and complications than with other surgical methods. In the treatment of Barret’s oesophagus (an abnormality of the gullet) specific illumination with wavelength 514 nm has been clinically demonstrated to eradicate early-stage neoplastic lesions9. Colour therapists have long noted the stress-relieving and anti-depressant effects of green light, acknowledging it as the ‘master colour’. According to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 1991, just two hours of daily exposure to green light was as effective at treating symptoms of depression caused by seasonal affective disorder as daily exposure to white light, and was more effective than red light10. Interestingly, Karl Ryberg states that the human eye has pronounced sensitivity for the mid-range wavelengths of the ‘optical window’ (the visible spectrum), peaking at 550 nm — lime coloured light11. The obvious choice: emerald In gemstone therapy, emerald has traditionally been used to treat disorders of organs in the torso. Of the green stones, emerald is believed to give the most concentrated vibrational energy of the green ray, and optimal colour and clarity are deemed most important for its healing effects. As research into the medical benefits of green light continues, perhaps there will be more interest in the therapeutic use of emerald as a vehicle of such light. Indeed, while emerald is not employed in green light laser (for which neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet or Nd:YAG is used), it is used in the exciting new field of quantum medicine. This is a branch of complementary medicine that uses low-dosage electromagnetic radiation in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease, and where researchers are working on ways of delivering light-energy radiation directly to affected tissues via machines using ‘excited’ gem substances. English electronics engineer Jon Whale has designed a machine called the Lux IV, which uses electronic transducers incorporating gem crystals, including emerald12. Gems deep inside a chamber in each lamp are electronically excited by a precision electronic instrument. The frequencies used promote rapid healing and have proved successful in the treatment of disease and injury.


Conclusions The above overview does not attempt to judge the efficacy of gemstone treatment, nor does it try to equate its proposed healing effects with those documented for specific wavelengths of coloured light. However, it does present findings which cause us to draw parallels and consider the therapeutic value of gemstones in the light of new science. It perhaps also stimulates us to consider why we find gemstones so desirable. Could our fascination with them actually be linked to an inherent need for light and colour, in much the same way as we have an inherent need for vitamins and minerals? And can we explain our passion for a certain gemstone the way we might explain a food craving? Naturally, an attempt to scientifically establish these correlations requires extensive, high level research. Moreover, if the therapeutic effects of gemstones can be conclusively pinpointed, a whole host of new research questions emerge. How can we determine the specific medicinal effect of red corundum as opposed to red spinel, for example? Are the medicinal properties due to the colour wavelength in isolation, or are they the result of this combined with the specific crystal structure? As previously mentioned, an era of quantum medicine is dawning and we are only just starting to find out how to explain certain effects, many of which have been known through ancient intuitive practices (the use of high quality coloured gemstones in a form of colour acupuncture was practised in the Indian Vedic tradition some 4000 years ago), but generally dismissed as myths in modern time. As this era unfolds, gemologists may increasingly find themselves working not with jewellery but with cutting-edge medicine. Sounds incredible? Only the future can tell.

References 1: Niels Ryberg Finsen biography, http:// laureates/1903/finsen-bio.html 2: Laser Therapeutics, http://laserhealthsystems. com/index.htm. 3: ‘Color Ray Healing’, Gemisphere, about/colorHealing.htm 4: Cremer, R, 1958. ‘Influence of light on the hyperbilirubinaemia of infants’. The Lancet. 5: ‘Fluorescent Lamps for Medical Phototherapy’, LCD Lighting, applications/fluorescent-lamps-for-medicalphototherapy#Neonata. 6: Ryberg, Karl, 2010. Living optics: on the origin of colours. Typografia Olsén, Gothenburg, Sweden, p.123 7: ‘Light Therapy and Alzheimer’s Disease’, Sleep Review, http://www.sleepreviewmag. com/issues/articles/2003-01_01.asp. 8: Green Light Laser Therapy, http://www. 9: ‘Photodynamic therapy with green light and m-tetrahydroxyphenyl chlorin for intramucosal adenocarcinoma and high-grade dysplasia in Barrett’s esophagus’, National Center for Biotechnology Information, http://www. 10: Treatment of seasonal affective disorder with green light and red light, National Center for Biotechnology Information, http://www.ncbi. 11: Ryberg, Karl, 2010. Living optics: on the origin of colours. Typografia Olsén, Gothenburg, Sweden, p.54 12: Whale Medical, http://www. All photos copyright of Gem-A

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1984, she travelled to California, USA to visit her fashion designer sister and further her studies in cosmetology and fashion design. While studying, she found her true passion in the world of gemstones. This led her to attend the Gemological Institute of America to be a qualified jewellery designer in 1990. She lived in the US for 10 years during which she learned the ropes about the jewellery trade at various boutiques.

The Designer and Founder Jessie Foo Yuli “I want people to think of me as a great jewellery designer who understands their needs, and also their friend who is able to share their problems.” Born in 1963, artistic creativity flows in the veins of revered jewellery designer, Jessie Foo Yuli-Her sister is a fashion designer, her businessman father an accomplished calligrapher and her uncle an artist. Under this influence, Jessie had cultivated a keen eye for fine things and exquisite taste at a tender age. Her innate sense of style and interest in trends led Jessie to open a fashion boutique at the age of 20. She not only imported apparel from Hong Kong, but also designed her own collection. In

Upon returning to Singapore in 1994, Jessie began work as a loose diamond wholesaler. In the course of this work, she met and made many new friends who liked her jewellery designs. Some of them requested for Jessie to design exclusive pieces for them for special occasions as well as normal daywear. This got the ball rolling, and by 1995, Jessie had opened her own custom studio. She would drive around to meet customer after customer to attend to their requests. Jessie believed in giving the best quality of service and merchandise to her clientele. Demand kept growing, and it was not long before Jessie decided to start her stand-alone boutique, Yuli Inc. - Fine Jewellery (formerly known as Asprey the Jewellery) at Palais Renaissance. Jessie’s creative design work spans a period of 12 years and is in many ways an expression of her own life journey. Between 2000 to 2011, she has introduced numerous gorgeous jewellery collections annually. Her milestone collection, Tears I and Tears II, launched in 2006, embodies the best of her journey through the life-changing stages of her marriage and family.


designer. Her body of work has been featured regularly in fashion and jewellery magazines and television programmes around the Southeast Asian region. Meanwhile, her label, Yuli Inc. - Fine Jewellery, has evolved to become one of Singapore’s top jewellery brands and ateliers. It has been awarded The Best of Singapore (Jewellery Boutique) by Singapore Tatler since 2006. The devoted mother of three sons, aged 12 to 16, continues to draw and design with a passion that has not waned over the years, while running a demanding business and juggling an even more demanding family life. She is unfazed by what life throws at her, and draws strength from the love and support of her friends and loyal customers, with whom she has developed a high level of trust. “I’m a romantic at heart. My boutique is not just a jewellery store. Clients and friends come by to catch up and share experiences. Every piece I design is inspired by a personal experience. Each one tells a story, marks a moment of significance and holds a lifetime of meaning.” YULI INC – FINE JEWELLERY 290 Orchard Road #01-08 Palais Renaissance Singapore 238871 Tel: 65 – 6732 9648 Fax: 65 – 6732 8612 Email:

Today, Jessie is a leading and highly sought-after jewellery 19

Behind every piece of jewellery, is a designer who is full of passion for creating new things, to spice up a person’s life with beautiful creation of jewellery. In this interview, we have the privilege of speaking with a budding jewellery designer, who is not just a designer, but also one who dares to create. Ms Jil Lin is a true blue Singaporean who has stepped into the international jewellery scene through her passion in the arts. What made you interested in jewellery designing? My innate passion for fine arts and design was cultivated since young, I was trained in NAFA studying fine arts; majoring in Sculpting a decade ago, where I did mostly huge sculptures and installations. After graduation, I landed myself work doing water feature designs and later on, embarked on shoe designer for evening and bridal wear. Through the years of creating different forms from various aspects, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of forms and aesthetics. The main reason I am a jewellery designer is because I  wanted to breed 3 dimensional forms into wearable art, a product that comes close to skin, jewellery!

A Designer at heart Which are your most favorite pieces and why? My favourite piece of work up to date is a a series, entitled Zero Distance, about working mothers in Singapore’s context, a mix of Art + Design work delicated to my mum named “Zero Distance”. Another piece which I have also sent in to participate in the 14th edition of the HRD Awards diamond jewellery design competition 2011, is themed ‘Toi Et Moi’ [You and Me].   Share about your experience taking part in jewellery design competitions. I have participated in numerous design competitions including the “Singapore F1 Recycle Challenge” 20

in 2010 and “Romance of Asia”, Resis Jewelry Design in 2011 and was awarded 2nd prize for both competitions. The latest competition that I took part in was the 14th edition of the HRD Awards diamond jewellery design competition 2011, themed ‘Toi Et Moi’ [You and Me]. Among some 1,400 submissions all over the world, it was selected as one of the 29 finalist designs. The process of finding a sponsor of diamond and precious metal to fabricate the piece to showcase in Shanghai HRD Gala show during December 2011 was tedious but fulfilling. I had the opportunity to meet other designers who are passionate about jewelry design and gemstones.

Capturing all that glitters The Gem Times interviews jewellery photographer, Bob Li, to get an insight into the business and art of jewellery photography. Brief introduction of yourself as a photographer. How did you get started? My mom. Really, she was the one who got me into photography many years ago. My mom loves to pose for the camera. My dad unfortunately was not trigger happy, so I naturally became her official photographer. Over the years I continued shooting casually until university, when photography fanatics surfaced in the form of classmates and lecturer and got me hooked on professional photography. So from there things got serious and I started shooting for corporate events, portfolios, weddings, lifestyle and products, with gemstones being one of my favourites.   Share some of your best jewellery photos. Tell us some unusual techniques you used to create great pictures like this. Just to share one of my recent photos. This photo was taken for the Malaysia International Jewellery Show 2012. The objective was clear: to showcase the company’s strength in gem sourcing and bespoke jewellery. As such, the ring was captured at an angle to feature the stone’s quality, the intricate design as well as the quality of workmanship of the ring. 

setup. I used an F-stop of about F11 - F13, reason being, each lens has a “sweet spot” for optimal sharpness and maximum depth of field, which is pretty much that for my macro lens of choice. The ring was set against a white background as the final output was a consideration. We wanted to showcase it on our websites and printed collateral, whereby the background is all white. So shooting a product in a similar background would allow the photo to blend into the whole collateral seamlessly. 

Editor’s note: Bob is an avid photographer who turned professional after some years of experience as a freelance events photographer. Today, he is the resident gems & jewellery photographer for Far East Gems & Jewellery. On top of that he is also an entrepreneur at heart, having started Flashbob Studio, a photography and design company. He is a pioneer in the photography department of an up-and-coming modeling agency, NEXT Modelling, which is also the official partner of Miss World Singapore 2012.

Why would the photography course be beneficial for you? The photography workshop provides a holistic solution for jewellery business owners and staff responsible for the branding/ marketing of their products, providing useful information from the initial setup for photography all the way to preparing the photos in Photoshop for print and web. We will even teach you how to set up a basic home studio to take print quality photos without the need for expensive studio equipment. To top it off, you will be given a set of the equipment to start shooting immediately!

Some information about the 21


MINING EXPERIENCE From 28 March 2012 to 1 April 2012, we went on an exciting journey to Sri Lanka with the Singapore Jewellers’ Association. We visited the EXPO as delegates and met some gem dealers there. The itinerary of the trip included a visit to the National Gems & Jewellery Authority, NISOL diamond cutting factory as well as to Ratnapura, the gem mining area. Ratnapura, also spelled as

Rathnapura, “City of Gems” in Sinhala and Tamil. Located some 101 km south east of Colombo, it is the centre of a longestablished industry of precious stone mining including rubies, sapphires, and other gems. Some remarkable stones include the pinkish-orange “padparadscha” sapphire and cat’s-eye. Unusual and rare stones from the same area include sillimanite, andalusite, scapolite, enstatite, kornerupine and diopside. Ratnapura is the source of some

of the priceless gemstones in the world: Blue Giant of Orient (466 cts), Logan Blue Sapphire (42 3cts), Blue Belle of Asia (400 cts), Rossar Reeves Star Ruby (138.7 cts), Star of Lanka (393 cts) and the Ray of Treasure (105 cts Cat’s Eye). The Star of Lanka and Ray of Treasure are the proud possessions of the National Gem & Jewellery Authority of Sri Lanka. (Source: ratnapura-938.html)

A mine that is currently inactive. We were told that this mine is about 8m deep. Looking down the approximately 6m deep mine. As the miners go deeper, they have to transport logs underground to strengthen the walls

This is one of the mines we visited at Ratnapura.

There are many gem mines around the area, especially in paddy fields on lower ground, which are around 10m to 50m deep. Portable hand operating tools are used for mining process such as shovels, picks, pans (specially made from bamboo) and cradles. Once soil lifts out from the mine, with the use of water, the dirt and mud is washed out using pans. Thus if there any gemstone, which is heavier than normal stones, remains at the bottom of the pan 22

Equipment where soil and stones are sifted and picked out.

as mud is washed away. (Source: Ratnapura) The mines in Sri Lanka are built using very simple and basic tools. Pulley systems are constructed in order to transport gravels up to the surface. Simple systems are used as mechanized gem mining activities have been banned in Sri Lanka. The miners work underground for 8 hours a day, except during rainy seasons.

Some of the heavier equipment used to pump air and water underground. There is a lot of manual work involved here.

A photo with the miners.

According to the mine owner, all the gems mined from a particular mine will be collected and kept at a safe place. At auction, the rough gem materials will be auctioned off to gem cutters and gem dealers. The money collected from the auction will be shared among the miners as all of them are shareholders of the mine. We had the privilege of going down the mine during this trip. The mine owner graciously brought us to this particular mine which was located right in the garden of his residence! We climbed down the mine without any safety harness, only holding on to the sturdy wooden structure that the miners had built along the walls.

A large rough sapphire mined from the mine we visited.

Some stones we picked up in the mine. The mine owner checked the stones, confirmed that these were only quartz and allowed us to bring them back as a souvenir.

The mine was humid, but well ventilated. Pipes were built into the mine for the easy transport of water and oxygen. It was a very simple mine with no frills. The mine owner trusted us completely as about 8 of us went down the mine. In most other countries, mines are usually highly secured areas and only people with official permits and special passes may be allowed to enter. This trip “down the earth” was truly enriching for us and we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude towards the mine owner! All photos by Loke Huiying

Miner digging another set of tunnels in the opposite direction. The logs seen in the picture are used to built structures in the mine to support the tunnels.

A truly great experience going down the mine with no special safety equipment.

“We had the privilege of going down the mine during this trip.”

Looking up to the entrance of the mine.

This mine is located just outside the house of the mine owner. It is approximately 8m deep. The wooden structure seen in the picture was built bit by bit as the miners dug deep into the ground.

Looking through the tunnel of the underground mine.

Miners working in the mine. Notice the growing plants in the mine.


Far East Gem Institute Course Information

Gemstone Identification - Basic Course Overview This course will also lead you through a journey of the many different varieties of gemstones, its formation and the different types of crystal systems. Learn about why gemstones are so valuable and how to appreciate the quality of gemstones by its colour, clarity, cut and carat weight. During the practical sessions, various gemological equipment will be used to help you to identify gemstones like ruby, sapphire, emerald, aquamarine, spinel, garnet, topaz, tourmaline, opal and quartz. Practical equipment like 10x loupe, microscope, refractometer, prism spectroscope, polariscope and dichroscope will be provided. This course is ideal for those who have a passion to know more about gemstones. It is also a great start to learn about gemology. Fascinating facts and history about some gemstones will be talked about during the course. Course Content 1. What are gemstones? 2. Mineral species and groups 3. Type of crystals 4. Gem formation, deposits and mining methods 5. Gemstones of the world

6. Why are gemstones so valuable? 7. Difference between lustre and brilliance 8. The 4C’s of gemstones 9. Using gemology equipment and how to interpret the results 10. Practical sessions on identification of gemstones

Entry Requirements: A keen interest in gemstones and minerals. No prior knowledge is required.

Gemstone Identification - Advance Course Overview In this course, various synthetic gemstones and the methods of manufacture such as the Verneuil flame fusion, flux grown ruby and sapphire, hydrothermal synthetic emerald and ruby will be discussed and examined. Furthermore, you will also learn how to identify treated gemstones like painting, coating and dyeing, heat treatment, surface diffusion and lattice diffusion, impregnating by oil, resin or wax, irradiated stones. Learn what composite stones are, various Birthstones and know how some of the gemstones got its name. This course is more in-depth and is recommended for those who want to understand more about gemstones in the market. It is an intensive course with a series of lectures and practical sessions. Course Content 1. Review on natural gemstones (from Gemstone Basic course). 2. Identification of synthetic gemstones like Verneuil flame fusion stones, flux-melt and hydrothermal stones.

3. Identification of treatments on gemstones. 4. What is a composite gemstone? 5. Using gemological equipment and how to interpret the results 6. Practical sessions on identification of natural and synthetic gemstones as well as treatment on gemstones.

Entry Requirements: Gem Identification (Basic)

For each Course: Certification: A “Certificate of Performance” will be awarded to participants who have completed the course with at least 75% attendance and have passed the required examination. Course Fees: S$800 (Member of SJA), S$1,000 (Non-member) Duration: 10 sessions (2.5hrs per session), excluding examination Far East Gemological Institute Pte Ltd Reg. No 201013584H Validity 15 May 2012 to 14 May 2013 Please contact Huiying for more information: Email: Tel: +65 6735 8569

360 Orchard Road, #09-04, International Building, Singapore 238869

Jade Course Course Overview This course will lead you through the technical aspect of identification of treated jade. Advanced techniques like infrared spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy will be discussed. Most importantly, you will learn how to use the 10x loupe and microscope to identify A-, B-, C-, B+C- and D-jade. On top of these, you will learn how to differentiate some of the jade imitations like serpentine, dyed quartzite, grossular garnet and also glass. Basic quality grading of jadeite-jade will be included in the course to give you a better understanding of the jade market and trading of jade in other countries. This course is suitable for those who wish to be able to identify the various treatments on jade using the 10x loupe and the visual observation. Course Content 1. History of jade. 2. Formation, deposits & cutting of jade. 3. Jadeite vs Nephrite 4. Identification of treatment on jade. (A-, B-, C-, B+C-jade etc.)

5. Use of gemological instrument (10x loupe, microscope, refractometer, spectroscope, polariscope, specific gravity etc.) 6. Identification of imitations 7. Basic quality grading of jadeite. Practical sessions

Entry Requirements: An interest to know more about jade and an inquisitive mind.

Diamond – Basic Course Overview You will learn the history of diamond, why diamond is so valuable as well as the diamond cutting process. At the end of the course, you will also understand more about diamond optics. Using a 10x loupe, learn how to grade a faceted diamond based on its 4Cs i.e. clarity, colour, cut and carat weight. Also, learn how diamonds are priced in relation to the Rapaport report and the different types of diamond reports available in the market. The 10x loupe, microscope, table lamps and diamond samples will be available during practical sessions. This course is suitable for those who have a keen interest in knowing more about the diamond market and basic diamond grading. 4. Formation, occurrence, sources, mining & marketing of diamonds 5. Rapaport pricing of diamond 6. Reading an international diamond grading report GIA, HRD, IGI & AGS 7. Practical sessions on basic diamond grading Entry Requirements: An eye for details and interest in diamonds.

Course Outline 1. Introduction to diamonds and its history 2. Why are diamonds so valuable? 3. Chemical and physical properties of diamonds

Diamond – Advance Course Overview Full grading of diamond with particular attention to the quality of cut like its proportions, hearts and arrows effect. Besides learning about natural diamond, you will get to examine some of the imitations such as cubic zirconia, synthetic moissanite and synthetic diamonds. Discussion and comparison of the usefulness of various instruments like Jemeter digital 90, Presidium Reflective meter, Presidium Tester in separating natural diamond from some of the imitations will be included in the course. As treatment of diamond is common in the jewellery trade, a further discussion on the diamond treatment like irradiated diamond, High Pressure and High Temperature (HPHT) diamond, laser drilled diamond and fracture filling in diamond will also be done. This course is very useful for those who are in the diamond jewellery trade. It will give an insight to the diamond market. Course Outline 1. Cut grading in detail, i.e. estimating the table percentage, crown angle, girdle thickness, quality of polish and symmetry. 2. Examine natural diamond from synthetic moissanite, cubic zirconia and synthetic diamond Entry Requirements: Diamond (Basic)

3. Examine treated diamonds like irradiated diamond, High Pressure and High Temperature (HPHT) diamond, laser drilled diamond and fracture filling diamond 4. Learn about international disclosure rules. 5. Practical sessions on full diamond grading.

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The Gem Times is a Yearly Publication that aims to encourage and enrich gemstone enthusiasts and the gems and jewelry trade.