Oh, look, here comes Othello talking total crap as usual.
Blackadder: Back & Forth
24 August 2012—'Twas a pleasant month of peace, joy and good will towards man. Then Robert James of the International School of Gemology had to muck it up. After weeks of calm, the past few days have seen the gemmo world dealing with a veritable barrage of Sturm und Drang slung from the Alamo.
It started innocently enough, just a wee finger in the air, presumably to check wind direction. Are they still watching? Thus it was that on 9 August 2012 the headmaster at the International School of Gemology floated a benign message about inclusions, specifically ilmenite in beryl and heat-altered crystals in sapphire.
Shockingly, this newsletter featured praise for John Koivula. Not only did Koivula co-sign several AGTA-GTC ID reports on andesine, but he also co-authored a report on pink colour concentrations surrounding growth tubes of Mozambique tourmaline, a report Robert James claimed to have "debunked". But now it's the kinder, gentler YourGemologist, sucking up to a GIA "rock star" while oh so hoping people will forget about his previous green sapphire misrepresentations.
We see progress as YourGemologist finally provided an actual reference to back up his statements. Yes, the newsletter was filled with shameless name-dropping, but the information was accurate. In a generous mood, we'll give the International School of Gemology a C+ on this one.
Feeling his oats, just days later (13 August 2012) he proceeded to offer up a newsie on synthetic spinel.
Pardon? Synthetic spinel? Hasn't that been around since... Victorian times? Close. It was first synthesised a century ago by Auguste Verneuil himself. And the subject coincidentally came up on the Gem-A's Mailtalk forum just days before the International School of Gemology communiqué.
Here we must digress. YourGemologist used to be a frequent and vocal contributor to that forum. But after one-too-many mad cowboy outbursts he suddenly went silent. Apparently the cousins cut off his broadcast rights. He could read, but not respond.
Sadly, the International School of Gemology's resident Mr. Bean would not admit to his banishment, baldly stating on a LinkedIn forum that he could post on Gem-A's Mailtalk, "but chose not to". When offered $1000 to demonstrate that he was being truthful, Mr. Poor Boy did not rise to grasp the prize.
In any event, possibly inspired by the Mailtalk banter, he proceeded to issue his own discourse on synthetic spinel. Nothing wrong with that. We are all for gemmological education, no matter the source. But, sadly, the only teacher resident at the International School of Gemology incorrectly identified one stone as a colour-change synthetic spinel because it changed from green to yellow. The true colour-change synthetic spinel is coloured by chromium and vanadium and changes from green to red. Indeed, the prime criterion for a colour-change gem is that it absorbs the yellow.
In addition, he incorrectly stated:
"The pronounced 'tabby' extinction of this specimen through the polariscope further verified it as a flame fusion spinel that has been doped with elements to give it this color change reaction."
Not even close. Synthetic spinel's well-documented "tabby" extinction is caused by excess alumina, not excess colouring agents.
Finally YourGemologist finishes up with one of those whoppers that leave us simply gobsmacked:
"We remind you that the ISG offers the only course on the Identification of Synthetic and Treated Gemstones..."
Blimey! We are told that Bangkok's Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences has offered such a course for thirty-odd years, long before the International School of Gemology darkened the gemmological world's doorway.
F, for misrepresenting his course, for gemmological incompetence and for illustrating the entirety with blurry photos.
Now fully back in the gutter groove, YourGemologist from the International School of Gemology issued a further newsletter just one day later, entitled Meiji Techno Microscopes.
It begins right where the last left off, with the type of blatant lie that has earned YourGemologist the moniker Count Clueless:
"In 1988, 24 years ago, I purchased this GIA-Gem Instruments microscope you see at left.
In 2008, 20 years later, I used same microscope to take the microphotograph you seen in the banner at the top of this edition that blew open the Tibet andesine fiasco."
Blimey, Part Deux! Is he really asserting that it was he, Robert James of the International School of Gemology, that first exposed the treatment of andesine?
By Jove, we do believe he is.
And when would that have been?
Reviewing the published record, we find his first article on andesine was published on 17 April 2008, more than two months after JTV released the news that the Chinese andesine was treated. And what did the International School of Gemology's report state? That the stone in question was treated Indian oligoclase. Nice work, Sherlock. In terms of chemical composition, oligoclase is significantly different from andesine. If Sherlock Holmes has posited that, Watson would have capped his ass.
This International School of Gemology newsie is basically one long infomercial for Meiji microscopes, a dog which YourGemologist just happens to have in the hunt. But in this fight, his game is sorely lacking. The images he chooses to advertise the quality of the Meiji scope do just the opposite—these blurry tourist snaps will turn off potential buyers.
Finishing up, YourGemologist claims that "ISG has been the primary Authorized Dealer for Meiji Techno for the past 12 years."
That's bold. Quite. Enough to make us check with Meiji USA. We posed the question: Who, pray tell, among your over 250 dealers across the USA and Canada is your "primary authorized dealer"? They rattled off three names, none of which was our Alamo amigo. Dear, dear, dear...
F for shameless self-promotion and blatant misrepresentation and a minus for misuse of terminology. A "microphotograph" is a photo shrunk to a microscopic size. In contrast, a photo taken through the microscope is known as a photomicrograph.
Of course teachers are not always right. No single person knows everything. Thus a samurai who makes a career of brazenly lopping off heads should not complain when the shinuhi shove a small shiv in his back, neh?
All pretense at kinder-gentler was completely dropped by the next International School of Gemology newsie, which came just two days following the Meiji infomercial. Entitled Microscopes Part 1, it goes after the GIA and Gem Instruments for various imagined infractions.
Here's a short sampling:
"Then I read about a guy named Dr. Bill Hanneman who was making viable gemological tools out of plastic tubes, flashlights and colored film filters. According to the folks at the GIA, Hanneman was a kook. WAAAY out there!
Of course the problem was that Hanneman's equipment worked wonderfully and was very cost effective."
We cannot know exactly when he came to this determination about Bill Hanneman, but we do have in our possession a thread from the ISG forums a number of years back (ca. 2005), where the International School of Gemology's YourGemologist stated the following:
"The Forums Board is intended for the sole purpose of supporting the International School of Gemology. However, just recently we had Dr. Hanneman on the Chat Room without my knowledge and permission. I do not agree with many of his concepts, I do not endorse any of his versions of gemological equipment, and I would never have approved his being allowed to speak with my students."
But back to the newsletter. After praising Hanneman to the heavens, YourGemologist also stated:
"Then I heard about this guy named Alan Hodgkinson who developed a method of doing gem identification using nothing but the gemstone and a distant light source. Once again, the GIA folks touted that this was absurd.
Of course, the problem once again....Hodgkinson was absolutely correct."
Reverting to form, YourGemologist provides absolutely no references to back up his statements regarding the GIA's thoughts on either Hanneman or Hodgkinson. So we did a little digging. Not only did we find that both Dr. Hanneman and Alan Hodgkinson are listed on the GIA Alumni Association Speakers Bureau, but we found that back in 1996, the GIA Alumni Association sponsored an entire speaking tour for Alan Hodgkinson in ten different cities across the US. That's a strange thing to do for someone whose ideas you consider "absurd".
Were we judging moxie here, we'd award the International School of Gemology's Robert James an A+ just for the colossal cojones to publicly suck up to the same individual that he'd previously been rubbishing in private. But we're not. F for duplicity and lack of supporting documentation.
Just days later, yet another San Anton scud landed in our inbox.
And what, pray tell, was eating him this time? Yes, you guessed it, another transgression from the GIA. Seems they've been advertising themselves online using the keywords "Official Gemology School".
Dander flying, Mr. Self-Riotous proceeds to quote the US FTC guidelines regarding false advertising. Can it possibly get better than this? Perhaps AIGS might make a similar complaint regarding the International School of Gemology's claims about having the "world's only course on synthetic and treated gems"? It all reminds us of a comment from one pundit regarding Mr. Bean:
Pot: 'Hello Kettle. You're black.'
Think we're done? No. The waterboarding continues with Microscopes, Part 2 on 22 August. This probably represents a new record, six messages in 14 days. Perhaps the International School of Gemology should just do a daily newspaper?
Never missing a chance to mislead, the International School of Gemology's mickey mouseketeer again repeats the fiction that he was somehow involved in unmasking treated andesine and then launches into a long-winded essay on how to adjust the eyepieces on a stereoscopic microscope. Unfortunately, his illustrations again reveal his incompetence as he shows images of an iris diaphragm through the eyepieces and the iris is not centered, indicating a poorly aligned base. Bad, bad professor.
Amidst this, he provides yet another gobsmacked moment:
"In my 41 years in the business, I think I have used a brightfield lighting maybe twice, and both to read a paper in the dark gem lab room. So don't get too caught up about brightfield lighting."
Thus it was that, in two short sentences, YourGemologist completely dismisses one of the most powerful microscopic illumination techniques in existence.
Sadly F is as low as it goes, but this is so bad we give it a G, for general gawdawfulness.
Shall we review? Let's. In his latest public missives, the International School of Gemology's Robert James initially assumed a humbler persona, one that almost approached impressive.
However, after a few rounds the bumbling inner reptile resurfaced, forked tongue flicking toxin in all directions.
Despite the promising beginning, we do not see enough progress at this time to recommend removal of the ankle monitors. Furthermore, due to the low quality of his published macro shots and photomicrographs, we counsel 200 hours of community service as punishment for crimes against photography.
We are the Gobsmacked Gang, those who cannot believe the things that spring from the mouth of the International School of Gemology's Robert James, the Mr. Bean of the gemmological world. Please note that the Gobsmacked Gang has nothing to do with what appears to be yet another Robert James attack site FakeGemology.com, which is designed to hurt someone making an honest attempt at teaching gemmology. Once again, as is copiously detailed on our Files page, James reveals what an evil little spawn he is. We would pray for his soul, but there is no evidence he has one. Thus we suggest a career change. A man like this certainly belongs in the Trump administration.
"If I were to catch any of my ISG Registered Gemologists or Registered Gemologist Appraisers trying to pull the stunts that you are pulling on eBay, I would pull their diplomas, publicly expel them from the ISG, and personally make sure that they did not work again in this industry with anything but a broom in their hand."
— Robert James
"They [the insurance industry] do not take kindly to frauds being perpetrated on consumers."
— Robert James
Read about the Robert James eBay fraud in our article here.