Last week, John Green, CEO and president of Lux Bond & Green jewelers, was appointed chairman of the board of governors of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). For those who have never heard of the GIA, Green, a gemologist and fourth-generation jeweler, explains the mission of the organization and his new role within it. He also offers a tip on how to discern the real thing from bogus bling.
Q. Why is the work of the GIA important?
A. People, especially women, love jewelry. It’s a beautiful and portable form of art. It also happens to be some of the most expensive art in the world, which means that the bad guys are always trying to figure out how to fool people. We have a sophisticated research team that’s always trying to stay ahead of the people trying to enhance or make phony diamonds. Our nonprofit mission is to protect the public and the industry.
Q. How does gemology make a global impact?
A. If it wasn’t for the diamond, there wouldn’t be as much development in Africa. A lot of mining and cutting take place in Southern African countries. Our industry has been very committed to giving profits earned back to these communities for schools, hospitals, and resources to help the whole economy. It is also important to us to make sure artisanal miners have health benefits like bigger companies.
Q. Do you have a favorite gem?
A. My family. I have four kids — five if you count my daughter-in-law. But really, I can’t say that I do have a favorite. I’m a gemologist. I’m more interested in the scientific process involved in identifying the stones. Take a red stone for example; there are so many different kinds: rubies, spinel, tourmaline. To know one from the other you have to consider gravity, density, and the speed of light moving through the stone.
Q. Can you offer some tips for spotting a fake from afar?
A. Most diamonds have flaws and a little bit of color to them. Very rarely do you find a flawless diamond. So when you see a diamond as big and as white and as perfect as can be, it’s very likely too good to be true.