Categorie archief: AGL

AGL Celebrates 5 Years Under New Management

AGL celebrates 5 years under new management
2 April 2014:  NEW YORK – American Gemological Laboratories (AGL) a provider of high-quality gemstone analyses and reporting ( today announced its 5-year anniversary under the stewardship of Christopher P. Smith.

During the 1st week of April in 2009, AGL was acquired by Mr. Smith after the company’s brief sojourn under the umbrella of Collector’s Universe, a NASDAQ-listed publicly traded company. AGL was originally founded by C.R. “Cap” Beesley in 1977.

“Five years ago AGL was reprivatized during one of the most difficult financial periods the US and world markets have experienced in recent decades. However AGL had a good reputation and we did not want to see this legacy fade away.” indicated Christopher P. Smith, President of AGL. “Since then, we have seen a tremendous amount of growth and expansion in the scope of our activities, raising the name and reputation of AGL even further. The industry seems to appreciate the attention to detail that AGL imparts in the results we give, the products we offer and the attentive, personal service we provide”.

Immediately after acquiring the lab, Smith decided to concentrate all of AGL’s efforts on strictly colored stone reporting services. AGL focused on developing and refining robust criterion to ensure high-quality, repeatable and consistent methodology to gemstone identification, treatment detection and country-of-origin challenges facing the gemstone and jewelry industry.

Shelly Sergent, curator of Somewhere in the RainbowTM collection stated “Chris Smith and the AGL staff are knowledgeable professionals, who uphold impeccable standards, integrity and ethics for the gemstone industry. We use AGL exclusively for any gems to be considered for our collection.” She further indicated “AGL delivers the most informative and visually appealing certification in the industry. From the conclusions they present to the photos they provide, we find these certificates to add value to the provenance of our gems.”

AGL offers a comprehensive product line for the identification, enhancement disclosure, country-of-origin and full grading analyses of colored stones, such as ruby, sapphire, emerald, spinel and many other gem varieties. AGL provides independent laboratory services to a broad domestic and international clientele across the gemstone and jewelry industry. Clients range from major retailers to auction houses, wholesalers, manufacturers and privates.

In addition to the staple of the AGL’s product line, the Prestige ReportTM, AGL offers a lower-cost alternative for the standard identification and enhancement disclosure of gemstone via its innovative GemBriefTM format. In addition AGL has developed its premium product, known as the JewelFolioTM: A beautifully illustrated and detailed book to represent gemstones of singular importance.

The base of AGL’s operation is located along Fifth Avenue in the heart of New York City’s diamond and jewelry district however the laboratory has initiated the expansion of its brand and services by performing regular on-site testing programs during major trade shows in locations such as Tucson (Arizona), Las Vega (Nevada) and Hong Kong as well as other important market centers in Bangkok (Thailand), Colombo (Sri Lanka) and Kuwait.

“These first five years have seen significant growth in the AGL services, as well as brand awareness in terms of reputation and recognition. Our team is highly capable and focused.” laboratory manager Maria Frances stated. “In the coming months and years AGL will be investing heavily in the laboratory’s infrastructure to better handle the increasing volume, research and services.”

As a concluding remark Smith added: “Through our commitment to strict standards, high-quality products and personalized service, the AGL team is proud of what we have been able to accomplish in just five short years and we are looking forward to a very bright future.”

Click on this link to view some notable highlights from AGL past 5 years

AGL Staff From left to right: Alex Mercado, Maria Frances, Kelly Kramer, Christopher Smith, Helene Smith, Tatiana Houdegbe, Amy Neurauter, Bilal Mahmood, Bryan Clark, Monruedee Chaipaksa, Natalia Balogh

AGL Staff
From left to right: Alex Mercado, Maria Frances, Kelly Kramer, Christopher Smith, Helene Smith, Tatiana Houdegbe, Amy Neurauter, Bilal Mahmood, Bryan Clark, Monruedee Chaipaksa, Natalia Balogh


American Gemological Laboratories (AGL) is the United States’ most widely known and respected colored stone gem identification and quality grading laboratory.  It was founded in 1977 and became the first gemological laboratory in the US to provide quality grading as well as country-of-origin determinations for colored stones. AGL has become an iconic brand for uncompromised standards and excellence in gemstone reporting and is regularly featured by the auction houses of Christie’s and Sotheby’s for important colored stones they are offering for sale.

Christopher P. Smith

Source: AGL

Notable Highlights from AGL’s past 5 years

Auction Houses and Famous Jewels: AGL is approached on a regular basis to perform testing on notable, unique and historic gems and jewelry articles. A couple of truly exceptional opportunities include:

  • The Elizabeth Taylor jewels: Christies – December 2011
  • The Atocha Gold and Emerald ornament: Sotheby’s – February 2013

Financial newspapers:

Christopher Smith Awards:

Composite Ruby:

Excursions to important gem-producing localities: As part of our continuing efforts to remain at the forefront of gemology, AGL travels to the world’s most important gem-producing regions. There is an endless pursuit to study new gem materials, gemstone treatments and gem deposits.

  • Tanzania: The Merilani tanzanite deposits
  • Mozambique: The Montepuez ruby deposits
  • Zambia: The Kagem emerald deposit
  • Burma: The Mogok valley


Presentations given at international conferences: AGL is regularly asked to participate in gemological conferences held around the world.

  • Accredited Gemologist Association (AGA): Tucson and Las Vegas
  • Gemological Institute of America (GIA): Symposium and various Alumni chapter locations
  • Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A): London, England
  • Scottish Gemmological Association (SGA): Edinburgh, Scotland
  • National Gemstone Testing Center (NGTC): Beijing, China
  • Canadian Gemmological Association (CGA): Toronto, Canada
  • GemWorld conference: Chicago
  • Christie’s: Hong Kong
  • Sotheby’s: Hong Kong

Source: AGL

CIBJO ruling modifies definition to permit the word Composite to be used to describe lead-glass treated ruby

New York, 5 September 2013: During the most recent CIBJO conference this past May, the colored stone commission came together to address the disclosure nomenclature to properly represent the heavily treated lead-glass rubies that have been entering the industry in large numbers since 2003.

When CIBJO issued its press release following its 2013 conference in Tel Aviv (9 May 2013 press release), the colored stone commission issued its disclosure guidelines for lead-glass treated rubies.  In the release, it was explained that CIBJO would follow the guidelines set out by the Laboratory Manual Harmonization Committee (LMHC), as well as recognizing the use of the term composite to describe these stones.

In order to accommodate the second approach, the colored stone commission amended its definition for the term composite to allow it to be used to describe this product.  At the time of the press release, most publications focused primarily on the CIBJO decision to follow the LMHC in disclosing this product, without much mention of their pivotal change allowing for the use of the term composite to also represent these stones.


Composite Ruby.jpg


“AGL has received many comments from the industry members who did not fully recognize the impact and importance of the CIBJO decision following the conference, as it pertains to the use of the word composite for describing these heavily treated stones.” Stated Christopher P. Smith, President of American Gemological Laboratories (AGL).

The previous definition of the word composite in the CIBJO Blue Book did not permit this term to be used as a description for these stones.


Damaged Composite.jpg


“This was a significant ruling for the CIBJO Colored Stone committee to make, which required a revision in the by-laws of the definition for the term composite.” indicated Smith. “It was not unexpected that the CIBJO ruling would follow the terminology proposed by the LMHC. However, they have also approved the use of the word composite for this product, which was pioneered by the AGL.”

The AGL’s contention was always that this material represented a composite of lead-glass and natural ruby/corundum. This treatment process being fundamentally different from the more traditional heating practices used to treat rubies and therefore needed to be disclosed in a manner that made this distinction clear. In addition there are special care conditions inherent to this product that require further disclosure.

In closing Smith stated “I was very pleased to learn of the CIBJO decision to allow for both methods of describing this material. I believe that the CIBJO umbrella has again demonstrated its key fundamentals towards helping to establish useful and practical approaches for the betterment of our industry.”

Background: Beginning in 2003, the industry saw a new type of treated ruby product entering the market in vast numbers. This treatment process took very low quality, industrial grade ruby and in-fused it with a high lead-content glass. In some cases the resulting stones are more ruby than glass however in other cases there is more glass than ruby. In all cases though the extent of glass in these stones is significant and there are special care requirements, as the glass may be damaged by a variety of standard bench jeweler practices and even household products.

The LMHC approach involves a multi-tiered disclosure for this lead-glass treated material that is dependent upon the extent of treatment. Only the most extreme cases are classified as “a manufactured product”.

The AGL approach collectively describes all of this material as Composite Ruby, a product requiring special care.

Additional trade organizations that also recognize the term composite to describe lead-glass treated ruby: American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA), Gemstone Industry and Laboratory Committee (GILC), Jeweler’s Vigilance Committee (JVC)

To download the press release in PDF form click here


Source: AGL

Cobalt-Colored Composite Sapphires Now Entering the Market

Composite Sapphires.jpg

28 January 2013: NEW YORK – American Gemological Laboratories (AGL): Gemstone treatments are a regular issue which the gemstone trade has to contend with. In May 2012, AGL first learned of a new type of treated sapphire which was becoming available in the Bangkok market “This treatment was first described to me as a new type of lead-glass treated corundum where a blue colorant was also introduced.” indicated Christopher P. Smith, President of AGL.

In November and December of 2012, clients of the AGL contacted the lab indicating that such stones were starting to be encountered in the marketplace. Recently a couple of samples were sent to the AGL by Dr. Cigdem Lule of GemWorld International Inc. Although the stones appeared fairly transparent and had a convincing “blue sapphire” color, color concentrations were readily visible upon closer scrutiny even with the unaided eye and were obvious with magnification using a 10x loupe or microscope (figure 1 below).

“A chemical analysis readily showed a high concentration of lead in addition to the aluminum oxide of corundum, with trace elements of iron and gallium, while a visible spectrum revealed absorption bands associated with cobalt.” Smith stated (figure 2 below).

To read the full press release please download the PDF by clicking here

Composite Sapphire Sample Report

Source: AGL

The JCK Power List: 50+ Movers, Shakers, and Tastemakers in the Jewelry Industry

When compiling JCK’s first Power List, we kept circling back to the question: How do you define power?

decided early on that this industry was too ­sprawling and diffuse for
us to rank its most powerful people on a strictly numerical basis. So we
opted to break down our rankings by sector (each list is numbered for
ease of reading; we did not rank individuals in each category). Not
everyone on our list racks up millions of dollars in sales or can make
exhibitors snap to ­attention at trade shows. Some of them operate
strictly behind the scenes. But all of them are innovators who are
ensuring this tradition-bound business prospers in the 21st century.

the 50-plus people who made the cut, we chose to highlight 10 we
thought deserved special attention­ because they likely fly beneath most
people’s radars. But by our reckoning, all of them make up the
industry’s powers-that-be.

The JCK Power List was
compiled by the magazine’s editors in consultation with numerous outside
experts. And yet we are well aware that the final tally does not
include every notable person in the trade. We fully expect this to spark
heated debate. (Lord knows there were some heated ones while putting it
together.) We may have bruised an ego or two. But we feel confident
that everyone on the list matters.

By “matter,” we mean: The
members of our Power List wield influence. They are listened to. They
make things happen. And this business would be significantly different
without them. We never really came up with a precise definition of
power. But ­perhaps that’s as good as any.

To read the full article please visit the original source by clicking here – JCK Online
Source: AGL


HONG KONG / NEW YORK: 29 September 2011 ― Ever since the lead-glass treatment of ruby/corundum hit the market nearly 10 years ago, there have been issues over how to describe and represent this material for the trade and laboratories alike. GemResearch Swisslab (GRS) and American Gemological Laboratories (AGL) have come together to begin harmonizing the description of these stones on their respective gemological reports. “We wanted to let the gemstone and jewelry industries know that GRS and AGL have begun working in a spirit of collaboration between our labs and we believe that the controversies surrounding how these stones are described on our reports is a perfect venue to demonstrate this,” indicated Dr. Adolf Peretti, President of GRS Laboratories.

“Increasingly over the past several years issues surrounding the clear representation and dis- closure of this material have come to the forefront around the world”, stated Christopher P. Smith, President of American Gemological Laboratories. “Both GRS and AGL believe that this treatment needs to be clearly distinguished on our reports from the more traditionally heated rubies that are available in the marketplace in order to avoid confusion between these two products.”

Since the lead-glass treatment of low-grade ruby/corundum began entering the market in 2003, literally hundreds of thousands of stones have been sold globally. Gemologists, gemological and trade associations, as well as laboratories around the world have extensively published, lectured and generally communicated how to recognize these stones and the inherent issues of durability that surround this treatment, as well as the need for proper disclosure.

In November 2007, AGL took a high-profile position by coining the name Composite Ruby to describe all lead-glass treated ruby/corundum, while in 2010 GRS started using the name Hybrid Ruby for the same purpose.

Several features make these stones readily recognizable by anyone with little training and a loupe or microscope. Internal characteristics such as contraction bubbles in the glass, a distinct bluish and orangey color flash and the golden to red body color of the lead-glass make these stones easy to identify without the use of a gemological laboratory or advanced analytical testing. In addition these stones are not durable. Lead-glass treated ruby/corundum may be strongly damaged by some ordinary household products and routine repair by a bench jeweler.

To read the full press release please download the PDF by clicking here

Source: AGL

Press Release – Consumer Alert

Industry groups have detected an increased supply of highly treated “Ruby” products in the marketplace. According to information gathered by various industry members, these lead glass filled red stones are being sold throughout the supply chain including in U.S. department stores, venues in the Caribbean and elsewhere.    These treated red stones have significant fissures filled with relatively large quantities of Lead Glass. They are often being sold as “Natural Rubies” without proper disclosure and most importantly with NO information on the required special care to maintain the appearance of the product.

Be Advised: This product is unstable and requires special care to avoid major and irreversible damage

To protect the consumer and the integrity of our industry we call upon the all sellers of this Composite Lead Glass “Ruby” Product – loose or in jewelry – to make the proper disclosures with the utmost clarity.

Failure to do so can directly lead to loss of consumer confidence not just for the Ruby market, but for all gemstones, including diamonds and jewelry. Additionally, it can result in potential legal action against merchants who fail to make the required FTC disclosures. Certain actions (heat or acid) that take place during repair or even normal wear can, and probably will, alter the appearance of these products, and render the jewelry unusable. Certain every day, common exposures to heat, acids and polishing can and probably will significantly alter the appearance and quality of these stones from their point of purchase. This could lead to potential legal action against sellers.

To read the full press release please download the PDF by clicking here

Source: AGL

False Promise –

In January of last year, I was offered a spectacular natural
alexandrite, a rare color-changing gem that is among the most expensive
on the planet. An oval of diamonds surrounded the gorgeous stone, all
set on a classic Tiffany & Co. platinum ring. A Philadelphia
jeweler, with whom I’d done business, had bought it several weeks
earlier from a well-dressed woman selling her mother’s estate. To be
prudent, the jeweler made his purchase contingent on an inspection by
the Gemological Institute of America and the issuance of a GIA Lab
certificate stating the alexandrite to be of natural origin, not

My eyes popped at its luscious beauty.
At last, an essential prize for my gem portfolio. A world-class
alexandrite with a world-trusted GIA certificate. What could go wrong?
Everything, as it turned out. After certifying the alexandrite as
natural, the GIA ultimately reversed course, concurring with another
lab’s analysis that the gem was a fake; it was possibly the creation of
rogue scientists. What follows is a cautionary tale for anyone buying
jewelry with expensive gemstones. Even if you’re shopping at big,
brand-name jewelers, it’s wise to do a little probing. The good ones
stand ready to help you.

To read the full article please visit the original source by clicking here – Barrons
Source: AGL