October 27-28—SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA: 82nd Annual Gem, Jewelry, Mineral and Rock Show; Sacramento Mineral Society; Sat. 10-5, Sun. 10-4
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 Post subject: AGL reputation
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:49 pm 
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Someone mentioned that when he was looking for a sapphire from the Natural Sapphire Company, he asked them why they didn't provide or want to grade stones through AGL, and they said that "AGL's reputation has declined recently."

Has anyone heard about this, or do you think NSC is fibbing because they're afraid of providing too much data about their sapphires? The AGL prestige is very informative.


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 Post subject: Re: AGL reputation
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:10 pm 
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I'm interested to find out the answer to this.

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 Post subject: Re: AGL reputation
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:47 pm 
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Has anyone checked with the NSC to find out who they recommend?

AGL has had a couple changes in ownership in the recent past.

It was founded by C.R. "Cap" Beesley who has an impeccable reputation in our industry....truly a living legend!

In 2006 it was acquired by Collector's Universe. Relatively short lived.

A couple years later it was purchased by Christopher Smith, another gemologist with a stellar reputation.

I think that occasionally there is disagreement within our industry concerning treatments and origin. Sometimes, when empirical evidence is insufficient, the only thing professionals can offer is their educated opinion.

One's opinion of a lab might be tainted by whether or not an educated opinion goes in their favor, no?


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 Post subject: Re: AGL reputation
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:16 am 
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Barbra Voltaire wrote:
One's opinion of a lab might be tainted by whether or not an educated opinion goes in their favor, no?

Thank you Barbra.

That's definitely my suspicion in this particular case, but I thought I would check and hear if there was some truth to this accusation from NSC.

NSC prefers GIA by the way.


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 Post subject: Re: AGL reputation
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:06 am 
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It could be that it is the same reason they do not have their own category and are listed among miscellaneous here.

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 Post subject: Re: AGL reputation
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:32 am 
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There are several labs which I haven't made individual headings for which are respected
AGS - American Gem Society Laboratories
Stone Group Labs
Adamas Gemological Laboratory
DGemG-Deutsche Gemmologische Gesselschaft
HKD - Diamond Laboratories Canada
GS - GemScan Laboratories of America. Located in Dallas, Toronto & Mumbai
EGL - European Gemological Laboratory
HRD - Antwerp Institute of Gemmology
CISGEM – Italy’s best known gemological lab
IGE – Instituto Gemológico Español – Spanish gemological institute
Gubelin Lab - Switzerland based gemmological laboratory
Institut Gemmologique de France – Lyon, France-based gemological institute
LabGem – Portuguese gem laboratory
SSEF - The Swiss Gemmological Institute, part of the Swiss Foundation for the Research of Gemstones
LFG - Laboratoire Français de Gemmologie (France)
GIT - The Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand
GII - Gemmological Institute of India
DCLA - Diamond Certification Laboratory of Australia
ADGL - Australian Diamond Grading Laboratory
oh yes:
AGL-American Gemological Laboratories



And, I'm sure if I thought about it for another 5 minutes, I'd think of another 20.


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 Post subject: Re: AGL reputation
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:37 am 
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My comment was made based on my memory (a shaky thing in and of itself) of various comments on this board a year or so ago when AGL was on slightly shaky ground. No disparagement meant towards them or the moderators of this board. :)

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 Post subject: Re: AGL reputation
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:06 am 
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Barbra Voltaire wrote:
And, I'm sure if I thought about it for another 5 minutes, I'd think of another 20.



IGI, the biggest independent laboratory of the world, comes to my mind.
ciao
alberto

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 Post subject: Re: AGL reputation
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:45 pm 
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Allen,
Can you or anyone else expand on your "shaky ground" comment? Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: AGL reputation
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:25 pm 
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It had to do with the people who bought it from the founder having some financial difficulties. I believe that has long been resolved.
At the time there was some skepticism as to what the outcome would be. I misinterpreted this as a cause for them not being listed. I was obviously wrong and had no idea there were so many independent labs out there.

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 Post subject: Re: AGL reputation
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:14 pm 
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Hello all,

I did not come across this line of discussion until just now. Please excuse my direct response to this line of commentary however since it deals with AGL I feel that it is appropriate for me to add some insights. As was mentioned in a previous mail, AGL was acquired from its founder Cap Beesley in 2006. A publicly traded firm Collectors Universe was the owner of the company until March of 2009, when due to the economic and market conditions, they decided to close their jewelry division which owned both AGL and the GCAL labs. Immediately following their announcement, Don Palmieri, previous owner of GCAL, re-privatized the GCAL lab and I acquired the AGL lab.
Unfortunately there was a one month period in which the AGL doors were closed for business, while I was negotiating to acquire the company. We re-opened April 1st 2009 and have been in operation since then. However this brief period of closure and the news of Collectors Universe exiting the industry has caused some confusion regarding the present status of AGL.
I can fully understand anyone having a question regarding the reputation and standing of any lab that one is not working directly with. I am pleased to say that AGL is doing very well and our reputation with our clients has never been higher. We provide high quality gemological testing and report services for colored stones relating to identification, enhancement and geographic origin determinations. A reflection of our success and market position with top quality colored stones can be found in the recent New York auction catalogues of Sotheby’s and Christies.
I find it unfortunate that some members of the trade will sometimes choose to pit one lab against another instead of acknowledging that there are several gemological labs around the world that are doing a good and serious job. I cannot speak for the comments that may have been made by the Natural Sapphire Company, because this company has not submitted any stones to our lab since it has been under my direction. However, I would encourage them, as well as any of the members of gemologyonline, to do so. I strongly believe that they would be satisfied with the quality of our service, professionalism and reports.

Sincerely,
Christopher P. Smith, President
American Gemological Laboratories


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 Post subject: Re: AGL reputation
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:51 pm 
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It is interesting to me that some think that AGL's reputation is declining. Chris Smith who is now the owner, has a very unique and valuable set of skills with a background working in the lab at GIA, then as Director of the Gubelin Lab in Switzerland and now head of AGL. Who else in the industry has that broad range of experience in gem sciences? From my personal experience in dealings with the lab and comments from some of the major colored stone dealers who seem to have a very high regard for AGL, I tend to think that AGL's long standing and highly respected reputation is getting stronger. Then there is the major auction houses who continue to use AGL for perhaps a majority of lab reports on arguably the finest colored stones seen at auction. Chris is not afraid to take a early stand on important issues such as "composite ruby" and always seem to be researching and publishing.
I think that the gem and jewelry industry is under a lot of pressure in these hard economic times, and with with new gem treatments every month or so.. It's got to be very hard to be a gem dealer now. I have heard recently disparaging comments about GIA and Gubelin labs too, but when I've asked for clarification its more about disappointment about test results than questions about competence or integrity of the labs. Just my perspective. Craig Lynch, Ouellet and Lynch


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