An educational experienceMay 24, 19
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the 5th Mediterranean Gem and Jewellery (MGJ) Conference in Limassol, Cyprus. This conference followed four earlier gatherings in Greece (2015), Spain (2016), Italy (2017) and Montenegro (2018). This year, IDEX Online and Magazine were once again present as prime sponsors.
After five years, the MGJ Conference has inserted itself successfully in between other gemological meetings and scientific conferences as a highly visible "trade-technical" conference. Hailing from more than 25 countries worldwide, the participants have mainly been practicing gemologists - many who are relatively young - working as gem and jewelry appraisers, diamond and gemstone traders, jewelry manufacturers and retailers, along with representatives from mining companies, technology providers and the media.
Why is this conference so different from other others?
First, from its outset, the joint organizers - Branko Deljanin, an eminent Canadian gemologist and George Spyromilios, a gemological educator who also operates a well-known lab in Athens, Greece - aim at maintaining a low threshold, i.e. conference fees and accommodation costs are affordable. This makes the event especially attractive to younger professionals, who most often cannot yet afford the often exorbitant fees of other conferences.
Second, the format of the conference is unique, and has proven over the years to generate more added value than any other gemological gathering.
Here is why: Other gemological conferences are invariably organized as "vertical" events. There is a roster of speakers who lecture on fascinating, important and actual topics. At the end of their presentations, which usually run a bit over the allocated time, there is time for just a question or two and then the next speaker takes over. Unfortunately, some of the speakers can be dead boring, and their audience will quickly find itself desperately struggling to stay awake.
Not so at the MGJ Conference, which is structured differently. During the three-day event, lectures are combined with hands-on workshops, where participants get to use a wide variety of tools and equipment that are pertinent to the instruction they received beforehand. To see what you missed, have a look at the conference program that is still online at www.gemconference.com.
But all is not lost. If you want to get an idea about how to educate yourself on the latest burning topics, such as the identification of lab-grown diamonds (LGDs), you can still get a taste next week at the upcoming AGA Las Vegas conference on Friday, May 31. For more info, go to www.accreditedgemologists.org.
One of Israel's top exporters, a diamond manufacturer and trader present in Limassol wondered, "Why isn't this conference better known and more widely promoted and sponsored? Traders would learn so much and get a much better handle on these issues that currently concern them."
So, now you know. Keep an eye out for news about the next MGJ Conference. IDEX will no doubt be there again, too!