Each class is a wealth of information including hands on analysis packed into a three-hour package.

Learn about the history and sources of individual gems while gaining an appreciating for judging quality and spotting treatments and fakes.

Just one better informed purchase will recoup the $195 tuition. Take the series and the rate goes under $125 per class! Tuition packages are pre-paid and non-transferable.

Classes may provide on-site wholesale buying opportunities through selected vendors.


From the legendary Australian Lightning Ridge black opal to the Ethiopian fields and everywhere in between, we will examine numerous varieties and quality levels. Doublets, triplets, synthetic opal, treatments and other imposters will be covered as well as the Australian system of defining type and description. This is not just a flash in the pan seminar!



The most enigmatic of gems, Westerners see color and gemological properties while Easterners look to jade’s virtues. The pricing of jade can be most challenging, and we will cover what attributes create that value and have led to some spectacular auction results. Both jadeite and nephrite will be examined, but also the numerous minerals often incorporated, as well as those look-a-likes that may deceive.


Corundum Weekend:  Ruby – Sapphire, or both

Ruby and Sapphire are the two varieties of the mineral corundum. Ruby is red and all other colors are sapphire. Each will be covered in its own session, tracing sourcing that has changed from Southeast Asia to Africa over recent years. See why some corundum is highly prized and some is valueless. See, too what is being done to the cheap stuff to make it look saleable and what that means if you try to set it into jewelry. Each class is standalone, but the tandem will certainly acquaint you with all of the colors of the rainbow, maybe even some stars.



Girls may love their pearls, but how many varieties are there to own? We will look at the Japanese Akoya made mainstream by Mikimoto, Chinese freshwaters that now dominate the market, and many natural pearls from oysters, clams, scallops and conches – oh my! You will learn the keys to quality in Akoyas, Tahitians and other South Seas varieties and get a look at American pearls and their interesting history.


Other Organics

Pearls may be the most popular of the organic gems, but this class will expose many more to be played with. An introduction to the types, sources and treatments will be addressed for each of the following:


as well as imitations and their detection.



In a mere three hours, you will level the playing field with knowledge of the 4 C’s, pricing structures and other tools to make you a savvier buyer. Look into a diamond to see its clarity-defining characteristics and get a glimpse of color, from the grading scale to the totally different world of fancy colors. See what the synthetic diamond market is all about and where things are heading, treatments and imposters of yesterday and today.


Precious Metals

OK, this is not a gem class, but what are you going to set your gems into? Probably gold, platinum or silver, and this session covers the attributes of each, their strengths and weakness in jewelry applications. Learn about the alloys that change a metal’s color and properties and how one can determine karat fineness. See examples of various processes in jewelry-making, how to spot problems and how artists can turn metal into magic.