The Scottish Gemmological Association Conference 2018

This year’s Scottish Gemmological Association Conference was held at the Westerwood Hotel near Glasgow. Our in-house Valuer, Sammantha Maclachlan IRV96816 MIRV PJDip CertGA, attended as a delegate and had a very enjoyable, and most importantly, very educational weekend! Find out all about Sammantha’s dazzling weekend…

Gemmological“We began Friday evening at the Scottish Gemmological Association Conference with a welcome drink and a catch up with friends, before moving on to a fascinating talk by Leo and Ginnie de Vroomen: The Joy of Colour and Form – Fifty Years of Creative Partnership. This talk featured the husband and wife team discussing how their jewellery is created from Ginnie’s ideas and impressive paintings. Leo is a master craftsman and he brings the pieces to life from Ginnie’s artwork using the art of repoussé to take a fine sheet of gold and transform it into a bold and distinctive piece of jewellery, often using unusual gemstones and enamel work.

Saturday – Scottish Gemmological Association Conference

We started off bright and early on Saturday morning with an interesting talk from Elise Skalwold: From Gemmology to Mineral Physics and Back GemmologicalAgain. This talk centred on Elise’s voyage of discovery to identify a tiny blue inclusion within a piece of diamond, involving high tech University equipment and numerous hours of research.

Hanco Zwaan took to the podium next for a talk on Metamorphic Sapphires – Origin and Characterstics. Currently we know a lot about Basaltic origin gems, but the focus in this talk was on the metamorphic deposits and how the changes in the land have unearthed a rainbow of sapphires.

After lunch we discussed the topic of Valuing Rare Gems with Craig Lynch. As a valuer, this topic was fascinating for me. Craig showed us just a few of the incredible, rare pieces he has valued and helped us understand how to place a value on something that is truly one of a kind!

The final talk of the day was from Helen Molesworth – The Gemstone Market: A Historical Perspective (with a Focus on Rubies). This talk looked at the continuing trend of the increased value of the three ‘big’ gemstones – sapphire, emerald and ruby – showing some incredible examples of record breaking stones at auction.

On Saturday evening it was the Gala Dinner and Ceilidh. I was fortunate enough to borrow a beautiful sapphire and diamond necklace for the occasion. We had a delicious meal; the wine flowed and there was laughter and chatting at every table.

Sunday – Scottish Gemmological Association Conference

A little bleary eyed, we began Sunday morning with another talk from Elise Skalwold – The Fabled Viking Sunstone, Exploring the Optical Phenomena of Pleochroism and Bi-refringence. Elise told us of her love of Norse history and how she has tried to identify the material used by the Vikings for navigation. These stones have been spoken and written about, but never found.

GemmologicalShelly Sergent then gave us a talk – Gems with a Story to Tell. Shelly is lead curator of the incredible gem collection ‘Somewhere in the Rainbow’ and told us the stories of some of the gems which have been acquired by the team. From amazing tri-colour ‘triplet’ tourmalines to ‘The Queen’ – an exceptionally beautiful Paraiba tourmaline.

After lunch we began smaller workshops and I had the chance to get hands on with the collection of jewellery brought by Leo and Ginnie de Vroomen. WOW – there are no other words! The quality of the pieces is just breath-taking and the love and passion that goes into each creation is evident immediately.

The last workshop of the conference was by Stuart Pool on Ethical Choices. This workshop was about looking at what we can do in our industry to make sure that we are making the most ethical choices possible, ensuring that whilst we are sourcing beautiful gemstones, we are taking care of those miners who are at the forefront.

This was the end of the conference for me and what a great conference it was! It was a pleasure to meet new friends and also to build relationships. I look forward to seeing what next year will bring!”

Our in-house Valuer, Sammantha Maclachlan IRV96816 MIRV PJDip CertGA is a Member of the National Association of Jeweller’s Institute of Registered Valuers, giving you peace of mind that your valuation is handled professionally and to the highest standard. If you would like to find out more about our Valuation Service you can contact Sammantha on 0141 221 7199 or .  Sammantha can carry our valuations in all of our stores and she will also be hosting a Valuation Day in Southampton on Monday 18th May and one in Cardiff on Wednesday 20th May.

We hope you enjoyed looking you enjoyed reading about our visit to the Scottish Gemmological Association conference! Keep up to date with our latest news on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, or send us an email us at

Bye for now, Laings xXx