From the industry: My experience at NAJ Summit 2022

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On this occasion, our colleague Victoria from Gold Arts Brighton is telling us about her experience at the latest NAJ Summit, an event we regularly attend as proud members of The National Association of Jewellers.

The NAJ Summit welcomed guests from across the UK and further afield for four days of education, practical workshops, business development and networking.

The Summit also gave new NAJ chair, Heather Callaway, the chance to speak directly to more than 200 members and celebrate the winners of the NAJ Awards 2022. The Jeweller, Summer 2022

Last month, 10th – 13th June, I had the honour of attending and representing Gold Arts at the NAJ Summit and Valuer’s Conference 2022 at Staverton Park in Northampton. It was a weekend of learning, refreshing and networking and I am more motivated than ever to pursue my jewellery industry dreams!


The Elephant in the Room – Identifying Ivory and its Simulants
Who knew there were so many different types of ivory? I certainly didn’t! When you think of ivory, it’s natural to think of elephants. However, this workshop taught me that mammoth, wild boar, hippo, narwhal, sperm whale and walrus are also species that produce ivory. There are also several different materials that simulate ivory. Why is this important to know?
Well, firstly, the Ivory Act changed on 6th June 2022 meaning that all elephant ivory is banned from sales, trade, profit of any kind except for five exemptions.

Please click here if you’re interested in finding out more.

All photos used have been approved of by Aurore Mathys and Gem-A, and all items photographed are property of Gem-A.

It’s important for us at Gold Arts, and all retailers, to be able to identify ivory in case people try to sell it. I must clarify that the Ivory Act only relates to elephant ivory.

After each explanation of different types of ivory and its simulants, we got to view examples and check that we were able to see the identifying features within them.

The only way to get rid of unwanted ivory, if you happen to have any, is to gift it, leave it to someone in a will, or donate it to a museum or somewhere like Gem-A (Gemmological Associate of Great Britain) for them to use in their teaching collection.

The speaker was Aurore Mathys, a gemmologist and tutor at Gem-A. It was very interesting subject matter and it was great to have gained an insight into how to identify and differentiate ivory and simulants.

The Real Deal? Identifying Synthetic Coloured Gemstones
This workshop taught me the different methods for creating synthetic gemstones as well as features on how to identify them compared to their natural counterparts. Synthetic coloured gemstones are being seen more and more on the market.

I was aware of some different characteristic identifying features for certain synthetic gemstones, but this session allowed me to explore them further.

At Gold Arts, we not only sell jewellery, but also buy jewellery in from customers and provide valuations for insurance and probate purposes. We need to make sure that we can identify synthetic coloured gemstones as they are less valuable than their natural counterparts. We need to be able to manage customer’s expectations when buying in their jewellery and doing their valuations.

The speaker was Dr Juliette Hibou, a tutor at Gem-A.

Take The Test!
Playing with gemstones is every gemmologist’s dream! This was a great session for people to be able to logically go through the process of using gem testing equipment and making observations to be able to identify mounted gem stones.

I am just at the beginning of my gemmology journey, so I focused on practising my skills with one specific piece of equipment – the polariscope. Using polarised filters and a light source, the reaction of different gemstones on a polariscope can quickly narrow down what kind of gemstone you’re looking at.

We have gemmological testing equipment at Gold Arts that we use to test all stones that come in through second hand items, to ensure that they are bought in at a fair price to the customer. We also want to ensure that we’re selling with confidence – if we label something as a tanzanite or a citrine or a peridot, it has been done so because it has been tested.

This workshop was given by Kerry Gregory; gemmologist, diamond grader, educator and Managing Director at Gemmology Rocks.

Table polariscope

Synthetic Diamonds – Hiding in Plain Sight?
This talk focused on all the different types of equipment used to test for synthetic diamonds and how they work. There are a lot of them!

We’re very lucky at Gold Arts to have two up to date pieces of equipment that allow us to test for synthetic diamonds. We use them when buying in items of jewellery from customers, and for valuations.
Much like with the identifying synthetic coloured gemstones workshop, synthetic (or laboratory-grown or laboratory-created, as they are often also called) diamonds are becoming more and more prevalent on the market. We need to be able to manage customer expectations when buying in their jewellery and doing their valuations.

This workshop was given by Andrew Fellows; a gemmologist, diamond grader and lecturer at Birmingham City University for BSc Gemmology and Jewellery Studies.

Please click here to read our blog on the difference between natural and synthetic diamonds.


Presidium Synthetic Diamond Screener

Attending the summit and getting to attend these sessions given by industry experts was an opportunity I’m very grateful that working at Gold Arts has allowed me.

While it was my first visit to the NAJ summit, I certainly hope it won’t be my last!

                                                                        Victoria Burchett, Gold Arts Brighton