By Ashley Bailey
, Saturday, May 05, 2007
From GIA, Carlsbad, Calif. - The 5th Annual Sinkankas Symposium held Saturday, April 21, may have been the most successful Sinkankas Symposium ever, according to organizer Roger Merk.
None of the 140 attendees at the day-long, sold-out educational event − which focused on jade − would have disagreed with him.
The audience heard world-renowned specialists talk about jade deposits, trends in the jade jewelry market, gemological characteristics of the different varieties, tips for fashioning the material, and clues to understanding jade’s many quality characteristics.
Merk explained, “It was a terrific event because it concentrated so much knowledge in one place with so many people who appreciated the information.”
Anne Schafer of the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society, which co-hosted the event with GIA, agreed with Merk, saying the Symposium’s enthusiastic crowd enjoyed in-depth, entertaining, and enlightening talks from eight very different experts.
Speakers and their topics included: Fred Ward, National Geographic authorand photographer, on Jades of the World; Si Frazier, author and researcher, on Nomenclature of Jade; Don Kay, of Mason-Kay Importers, on Burmese Jadeite Jewelry; Dale Blankenship, an accomplished jade carver; and John Koivula, GIA gemstone inclusion expert, on the Microworld of Jade.
Also taking a turn at the microphone were Richard Hughes, authorand gem authority, on Burmese Jade Deposits; Mary Lou Ridinger, Guatemalan jade expert, with her views on the Current Guatemalan Jade Market; and George Rossman, professorof mineralogy at the California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech), on the Causes of Color in Jade.
Ward illustrated his talk with his photographs of carvings and localities, and provided historical facts and information about the symbolism in jade carvings. As one example, he said that the Ming Dynasty in China loved horses, and used horses as motifs for their jadeite and nephrite carvings, which were especially prized if two colors of jade were represented.
Frazier drew audience chuckles with his descriptions of various types of natural jade. He also included information about the nomenclature of jade, jade simulants, and “jade wanna-be’s.”
Koivula said that inclusions in gemstones provide an accurate picture of where gems come from and how they were formed. He noted that, “We have to get used to the idea that Mother Nature cooks in a very dirty kitchen, and this helps us understand how gem materials form.”
Dr. Rossman’s presentation looked at plate tectonics and how such forces contributed to the formation of jades in Southeast Asia. He then talked about the sophisticated instrumentation he uses to determine the cause of color in a piece of jade.
In addition, attendees got to view dazzling jade carvings and displays, such as the Eight Immortals jadeite carving donated by Sophie Leu, the jadeite mask donated by Ridinger, and a selection of natural-color jadeite donated by Mason-Kay.
The Annual Sinkankas Symposium is named in honor of renowned gemologist, author, and lapidary John Sinkankas. Previous Symposiums examined quartz, tourmaline, beryl, and phenomenal stones. The topic for next year will be garnets, with the exact date still to be determined.
An independent nonprofit organization, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is recognized as the world's foremost authority in gemology. Established in 1931, GIA has translated its expert knowledge into the most respected gemological education available. In 1953, the Institute created the International Diamond
Grading System™ which, today, is recognized by virtually every professional jeweler in the world. Through research, education, gemological laboratory services, and instrument development, the Institute is dedicated to ensuring the public trust in gems and jewelry by upholding the highest standards of integrity, academics, science, and professionalism. GIA’s website address is http://www.gia.edu/
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