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Open Letter to World Gem Society Members


Dear Colleagues,

We write to you today about a serious matter and hope you will give what follows a few minutes of your time. It is in respect to Robert James of the World Gem Society and International School of Gemology.

The 91.83-ct green sapphire

In December of 2011, Robert James purchased a 91.83-carat green sapphire from a dealer on eBay using his “yourgemologist” handle. The sapphire was clearly represented at the time of sale by the Chanthaburi (Thailand)-based seller, as “lead-glass filled”.

Fear Mongering #1:
The World Gem Society Tucson show warning

On 17 January 2012, just before the Tucson gem shows, James claimed in a World Gem Society broadside, that a 91.83-carat green sapphire was sold to him by a “noted sapphire dealer in Hong Kong” who represented it as “all natural and untreated.” In that newsletter he warned buyers away from Hong Kong and Chinese sapphire dealers.

Fear Mongering #2:
The World Gem Society Las Vegas show warning

On May 30 2012, just prior to the Las Vegas shows, James issued another World Gem Society newsletter that, among others, made the following outlandish claims (our emphasis added):

  • At this time we can offer no confidence in any colored gemstone coming from Chinese dealers in general, and Hong Kong dealers in specific. Particularly in the following stones: Amethyst, Apatite, Aquamarine, Garnet (all types) Sapphire, Ruby, Tanzanite, Peridot, Tourmaline (all types).
  • We want to note that this situation appears to be very much centered around the Chinese gemstone industry.
  • We urge everyone to seek out a World Gem Society Registered Gem Dealer when shopping for gemstones at any time. It is your guarantee of quality and proper disclosure.

Again, in support of his warning, Robert James misrepresented the source of a purchase, this time claiming a 93.10-carat rough amethyst came from a “Chinese dealer” when in fact he had purchased it on eBay from a Bangkok dealer for ninety-nine cents.

Our Opinion

The willful misrepresentation of these samples to tar an entire city and country's gem dealers and the undermining of public confidence in gemstones just before a major gem show is simply outrageous, particularly as it comes from an individual who constantly lectures the gem trade on “ethics”. He is trashing our goods using phony evidence.

Do the WGS rules apply to Robert James?

Fear mongering has proved an effective marketing and publicity tool for Robert James, the International School of Gemology and now, the World Gem Society:

In 2008 it was a false report of synthetic tourmaline flooding the gem market.

In 2009 it was a false report of copper diffusion in tourmaline, topaz and tsavorite garnet issued just before the Tucson Gem Shows.

Now it is 2012 and he is trashing every gemstone on earth.

What are WGS members getting for their money?
A fear alert before every major show?

Are you a dealer in amethyst, apatite, aquamarine, garnet, sapphire, ruby, tanzanite, peridot or tourmaline?

How long will you continue to support an organization that uses misrepresentation to undermine public confidence in your product based on fabricated evidence and junk science?

A Call to Action

As members of the World Gem Society, you (and others) are enabling Robert James' outrageous behavior by providing funding and adding legitimacy with your good name. We ask you to withdraw that support by cancelling your membership and asking that your names be removed from the World Gem Society website.

Similarly, we call on the various trade, gemmological and appraisal organizations of which Robert James is a member to open investigations, as we believe the evidence presented shows unequivocal ethics violations. Should those investigations reveal that he has misrepresented the above specimens, we ask you to remove him from your membership rolls and ban him from entry to your functions and shows.

We also call upon the trade press to do a proper investigation. Our industry needs the press to be more than simply a PR arm.

We are all aware of the need to identify and disclose gem treatments. If this were simply sloppy science, he might be forgiven. But when it devolves into blatant misrepresentation and the libeling of the gem traders of an entire city and country, we believe the time has come to say enough is enough.

The Gobsmacked Gang


  1. This is not about students or graduates of Robert James’ International School of Gemology. We have absolutely no evidence that any of them were aware of the above malfeasance.
  2. The Gobsmacked Gang has set up a website to detail these transgressions. All relevant documents and evidence can be accessed at
  3. Who are we? The Gobsmacked Gang is a large group of respected gemologists and dealers on three continents dedicated to gemological integrity and full disclosure of all treatments. We have not signed our names to this message to avoid the type of cyber-bullying and threats that Robert James has a well-known history of. This is not about the messenger, but solely about Robert James.



About us

gobsmacked gang, International School of Gemology, Robert James, World Gem Society,

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, 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.