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JVA Spring Symposium

Featuring a varied programme of jewellery and appraisal related topics with some of the jewellery industry's leading specialists. The JVA Spring Symposium is for valuers and appraisers, students, jewellers, gemmologists, and anyone who is interested in learning more about jewellery, the gems, the history, the ethics and the value.


The JVA Spring Symposium comprises two education-packed sessions, covering different time zones, so our international members and attendees are able to join us too!

Presentations will start on the hour sharp, with an allocated time for questions at the end and a comfort break before the next presentation begins. Handouts, if available, will be emailed to all registered attendees following the event,

Each session will be recorded and the link to the recording will be sent to everyone who has registered. The link will be available for seven days for you to enjoy the symposium again.

A Certificate of Attendance will follow after the event which can be used towards your Continuing Professional Development.


The JVA Spring Symposium was delivered free to JVA members as part of their membership and continuing professional development. General admission was open to anyone who is interested in learning more about jewellery, the gems, the history, the ethics and the value ....

The JVA Spring Symposium was a very successful event and is now closed - we look forward to seeing you at our next event, if you have any questions please email


10am ~ Patricia Law FGA DGA FJVA FIRV

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Patricia Law 

British Designers of the 20th Century
The 1960s and 70s was an exciting time for a world finding its way out of the Post War period.  This presentation will look at some of the independent jewellers of the day, their creativity and innovative approach to design and how they are regarded today.

Patricia Law FGA DGA FJVA FIRV - Patricia Law FGA DGA Valuations

Patricia Law runs her own Independent Jewellery Valuation Consultancy providing valuations for Insurance, Inheritance Tax and Market Sales. Patricia worked for many years with some of the leading auction houses in the UK, and continues to act as a consultant for several leading auction houses today.
Patricia is an antiques lecturer, presenter and regularly delivers presentations on jewellery related topics for valuers and jewellery enthusiasts.


11am ~ Kym Hughes FGA FGAA DipDT DipVal IMJVA

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Kym Hughes 

South Sea Pearls: How to Identify a Brand
Kym will explore the challenges in the identification of South Sea pearl branding and delve into the world of Paspaley - the farmer, the wholesaler and the retailer of an exclusive South Sea pearl family dynasty spanning nearly 100 years and will include a discussion around the latest CIBJO guide for classifying natural pearls and cultured pearls.

Kym Hughes FGA FGAA DipDT DipVal IMJVA - Symmetry Jewellery Valuation Specialists

Kym is highly respected in the industry, with extensive experience and knowledge of manufacturing techniques of modern and antique jewellery from around the world. With over 30 years experience, Kym has national and international qualifications in gemmology and valuation.
As president of the National Council of Jewellers, and current council member & past president of The Gemmological Association of Australia (Queensland), Kym is unquestionably one of the world's leading valuation experts. Her rigorous appraisal process is supported by sophisticated analytical equipment which can accurately test the origin, type and treatment of gemstones. Testing is performed by sister company Spectra Gem Laboratory.


12pm ~ Clare Blatherwick FGA DGA SJVA

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Clare Blatherwick 

The Story of the Cullinan Mine
From the creation of diamonds deep within the earth's crust to the tale of the journey taken by the speaker as she travelled 750m underground into the mine workings, as well as a look at some of the famous diamonds it has produced, this talk gives the fascinating behind the scenes story of the South African diamond mine which remains the source of the largest piece of diamond rough in history.

Clare Blatherwick FGA DGA SJVA - Clare Blatherwick FGA DGA

Clare Blatherwick is an independent jewellery consultant based in Scotland providing her clients with bespoke solutions for all aspects of their jewellery needs, as well as an independent valuation service for jewellery and watches. She has over twenty years of experience in the jewellery business, ten of which were spent as Head of Jewellery for Bonhams in Scotland, a role which saw her travel internationally searching for wonderful jewels to be auctioned around the globe. Clare has a keen interest in the historical aspect of jewellery and has lectured extensively on her subject as well as having appeared on various tv programmes in the UK and US as a jewellery expert. As a committee member of The Jewellery Valuers Association, as well as an independent valuer recommended by many insurers and brokers, she is keenly aware of the global jewellery and watch markets and the implications of market changes for clients


1pm ~ Susi Smither BSc, FGA, GIA JDT

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Susi Smither 

Ethical Gold: Behind the Price Tag
As a proud Fairtrade licensee for over 5 years, Susi has first hand knowledge of the integrity of traceable gold. Whilst giving a background on the intricacies of the supply chain including third party auditing, consumer buying trends and the power for good that ethical gold wields, Susi will give an oversight into the markings to look out for and the various organisations which are providing responsibly sourced gold. 

Susi Smither BSc, FGA, GIA JDT - The Rock Hound

With over twelve years hands-on experience in the jewellery trade Susi has honed her skills which all started with a short course in jewellery making at Central Saint Martins and has led her through four years training in Hatton Garden through to becoming a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain and studying jewellery design at the Gemological Institute of America. After working at Holts in Hatton Garden as Stock Controller for three years, Susi felt all the building blocks were in place and in 2015 she launched her jewellery brand - The Rock Hound.
After completing her gemmological training, intoxicated by the mixture of geeky science and aesthetically beautiful natural wonders the passion for gemstones and crystals was ignited. In order to delve deeper Susi embarked on two life-changing field trips to Sri Lanka and Tanzania with the Scottish Gemmological Association to gain a deeper understanding of sourcing gems. Having always been a conscious consumer it wasn’t until scrabbling around in a pile of tailings in Sri Lanka and spending days in the Umba Valley in Tanzania with a team of miners that Susi fully grasped the disparity between mine and market and the dark secrets of our industry.
“Our lives and livelihoods, whilst worlds apart, are inextricably linked with the miners through gold and gemstones – and I for one, want that link to be a positive one. So when it came to creating a jewellery brand having this duty of care was at the very heart of all my decisions.” 
In 2019 Susi was invited to join the team at Fair Luxury, a collaboration of jewellery industry change-makers with a vision for a responsible and sustainable future for people and planet. Through their events and activities they strive to challenge, collaborate, inspire and empower.





2pm ~ Jill Burgum GG (GIA) & Stuart Robertson GG (GIA)

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Jill Burgum                                                  Stuart Robertson 

Navigating the Sea of Conflicting Evidence
The client presents you with a stunning piece of jewelry featuring a large, important gemstone accompanied by a report from a major gem laboratory. However, is there anything else you should consider before putting your professional reputation on the line? The simple answer is yes. In this presentation, Jill Burgum, Senior Director of Fine Jewelry for Heritage Auctions and Stuart Robertson, Vice President of Gemworld International, discuss considerations when evaluating fine gemstones and their comparables. Jill and Stuart, in their respective roles in the industry, each employ a process for assessing the strength of the evidence supporting an identification or value conclusion, whether based on their own findings or that of a third party. The goal of the process is to ultimately establish the degree of confidence they have that an item truly is what it purports to be. During this presentation, attendees will gain valuable insights regarding how to recognise the potential for conflicting lab reports and how to reconcile their impact on value. The presenters will also explore how otherwise innocuous seeming differences in terminology can have a profound influence on the perception of value for experienced auction clients and prominent gemstone dealers, who consider these issues before they put their money on the line.

Jill Burgum GG (GIA) - Senior Director, Fine Jewelry, Heritage Auctions, Dallas

Jill Burgum has dedicated the last two decades to the field of jewelry. After graduating from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, with a B.A. in Art History, she attended Bowman Tech and Stewart’s International, both for training in jewelry manufacturing and repair. Her studies then lead to the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica, California, where she completed degrees in both Graduate Gemology and Jewelry Design in 1994.
Ms. Burgum began her professional career working for a private jeweler in San Diego, CA. She then moved to San Francisco as a jewelry cataloger for Butterfield & Butterfield Auctions in 1996, transferring to their Los Angeles Jewelry department in 1997 as lead specialist, which she eventually left to build two jewelry websites for start-up companies. She has also worked in retail jewelry sales and owned her own independent jewelry appraisal business. Ms. Burgum is USPAP compliant. She has been a contributor to Art + Auction, Brilliant, Eclat, Maine Antiques Digest, Modern Jeweler, MSN Money, and Rapaport magazines.
Ms. Burgum has been a guest lecturer for the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, Gem & Mineral Council, the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, and appeared as a specialist on HGTV, KTLA, CNN, FOX Business, and Antiques Roadshow.

Stuart Robertson GG (GIA) - Gemworld International 

Stuart Robertson, GIA GG., is an award-winning gemologist and appraiser. He is currently vice president of Gemworld International, Inc., and serves as research director for the company’s publication GemGuide. Stuart is a Senior Member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, and was appointed Conference Program Content Advisor to NAJA in August 2020.
He is also the immediate past-president of the Accredited Gemologists Association. Stuart received the prestigious Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology in 2011; The AIJV Valuer of the Year Award in 2014 and The Scottish Gemmological Association’s Catriona Orr McInnes Award in 2019.


3pm ~ Michael Johnson GG (GIA)

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Michael Johnson 

Important American Jewelers: Story, Style and Stamp
In this presentation, we will explore the lives of important 20th-century American jewelry designers, delving into the impact their work had on the jewelry industry in the United States. We’ll dig into the fascinating, behind-the-scenes details that influenced their designs, including a study of where they came from and how they got into the industry. Next, we will examine the nuances of each artist’s personal style in order to be able to identify their work correctly and determine its value in today’s ever-changing marketplace. Finally, we will examine each designer’s stamp, which will help us identify their pieces of jewelry in the future.

Michael Johnson GG (GIA), CM - Eiseman Jewels

Michael brings 30 years in the jewelry industry to his position as the director of Eiseman’s Estate Division. He holds a Graduate Gemologist degree from the Gemological Institute of America and is a master jeweler, master stone setter and master hand engraver. Additionally he has worked with tax and estate attorneys as an industry expert and advisor. His vast knowledge, combined with his superior customer service, put clients at ease as they make important decisions on selling family heirlooms. With his wide-ranging experience in the fine jewelry industry, Michael is uniquely qualified to value, purchase fine jewelry for Eiseman’s growing estate collection.
Michael credits his experience and industry connections for his ability to acquire high quality estate pieces. Having been involved in so many segments of the jewelry industry I have valuable relationships throughout our industry,” he said. This network provides me the opportunity and ability to bring buyers and sellers together to acquire the finest estate jewelry for Eiseman’s clientele.
In addition to the above, Michael’s skills also extend to project management, product development, advertising, merchandising and inventory control.
In tandem with the technical side of his expertise, Michael has had the great privilege of sharing his experience and knowledge as a presenter for over 20 years.  He has taught or presented in various settings and for diverse audiences, including academia, trade organizations, community groups, businesses, motivational speaking, and charitable organizations. The presentations have been on many different subjects such as history, art, gemology, science, jewelry, appraising, and community service.

Key areas of expertise include: Estate Jewelry, Gemology, Jewelry Appraising, Purchasing, Pricing, Sales, Merchandising, Inventory Controls, Advertising, Presenting, Management, Hand Modeling, Hand Fabrication, Stone Setting, Product Development, Project Management, Hand Engraving, Machine Engraving, Repairs


4pm ~ Roland Schluessel FGA

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Roland Schluessel 

Trends and Pricing Considerations: Spinel, Tourmaline, Aquamarine and Garnet
Trends and pricing of colored gemstones are influenced by changes in the supply chain and by evolving consumer's preferences. There are many quality parameters that apply equally to most faceted colored gemstones, but differences and the impact these quality parameters influence prices of some gemstone species, and even varieties, differ so significantly, that value can differ several 100%. Size pleochroism, fluorescence etc. are such quality parameters. By comparing past with current trends, Roland will point out the main variable trends and pricing elements in spinel, tourmaline, aquamarine and garnet, and will explain how to better include these factors into the appraising activity.

Roland Schluessel FGA - Pillar & Stone International

Roland Schluessel was born in Switzerland and spent part of his childhood in Milan, Italy. After graduating from business, management, and marketing schools in Switzerland, he studied gemology in Idar-Oberstein and London, where he was awarded the Rayner Prize in 1985. He was a senior director of the gemstone and jewelry department, and member of the board of directors of the leading jewelry and watch company in Switzerland.
During his numerous travels to the gemstone centers and mining sites in South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe, and as a hobby photographer, Roland captured more than 200,000 pictures of gem mining,  gemstones, and dynamic geological processes such as volcanic eruptions. His presentations on gemstones have been valued in many countries throughout the world.
Roland Schluessel resides in the San Francisco bay area. Together with his wife Nata, they own the gemstone wholesale company Pillar & Stone International specializing in fine colored gemstones and jadeite.
Roland is the author of numerous articles about gemstones and is the author of the book Mogok – Myanmar, A Journey to the Finest Rubies and Sapphires in the World” (2002; written in German). His latest article "Judging the Quality of Burmese Jadeite" was published in the last InColor magazine.


5pm ~ Jon Phillips GG (GIA), CG (AGS)

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Jon Phillips 

Canadian Diamonds: Market and Mayhem
Canadian diamonds stormed and surprised the diamond market just over 23 years ago with great fan fare but it has not always been an easy road. You will discover how the past has shaped the current market place for Canadian Diamonds and how a recent shake down in the market has put diamond mining in Canada on the edge.

Canada is in a unique position to capture what today’s consumer is looking for in a diamond and how Canadian miners hope to capture part of that market. New discoveries await in Canada but at what cost? Will it be enough to supplement the declining supply as mines around the world close down in the coming years? The talk will cover the locations of the Canadian diamond mines as well as distribution and marketing. Find out who are the current main players in diamond mining in Canada and how their rough diamonds reach the market.

Jon Phillips GG (GIA), CG (AGS) - Corona Jewellery Company

Jon has been in the jewellery business for over 35 years and worked in all of its facets”. He is currently the Divisional Manager for Canadian Diamonds at Corona Jewellery Company Ltd. in Toronto, Canada. Part of Jon’s responsibilities includes managing the rough to polish systems for Canadian Diamonds including purchasing of the rough directly from mining companies to working with diamond polishing factories to produce the final product.
Jon is also the lead instructor for Corona and travels worldwide to promote Canadian diamonds and gold. Jon also does presentations on diamond market conditions and on synthetic diamonds in the jewellery industry. He is Corona’s first contact for anti-money laundering (AML) and Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) compliances.
He has worked for BHP Billiton Diamonds as a Marketing Manager in both Vancouver and Antwerp and as a service Manager for Birks in Vancouver. He is a past instructor at Vancouver Community College in the Jewellery Art and Design program. Jon and his wife Carol ran their own custom jewellery business in Vancouver for fifteen years which is where Jon obtained his training as a journeyman goldsmith. Jon currently writes the Diamond Market News for the Gem Guide’s bi-monthly newsletter out of Chicago.
Jon is a Certified Gemologist (CG) from the American Gem Society (AGS) and a Graduate Gemologist (GG) from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). 
Jon currently sits as the chair of the Assurance Committee of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) and is a past member of the Standards Committee.  Jon is a past vice-president of the diamond commission for CIBJO and currently is the President of the Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct Committee (CDCC).  Jon is also the chair of the Education Committee and sits on the Government Relations Committee for the Canadian Jewellers Association (CJA).


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The Jewellery Valuers Association is an organisation dedicated to ensuring the public receive the highest quality jewellery, watch and silver valuations. As a busy and proactive association, the JVA hosts a regular programme of talks, quizzes, symposiums and an annual conference, all of which are fascinating and educational in equal measure. Holding members to the highest standards, the JVA is the only truly independent jewellery valuation body in the UK and Ireland. The JVA also has international, student and associate membership categories.

To find out or learn more about membership please contact

To find a highly skilled and qualified JVA Registered Valuer® please visit Find a JVA Registered Valuer®