CGA Gem Conference 2023

Conference 2023 Speakers

Join us in celebrating our 65th anniversary Gem Conference featuring
Edward Asscher (House of Royal Asscher of the famous Asscher cut) as our keynote speaker.
More renowned speakers are being confirmed every week.  Please keep checking back.
Click on the name to be taken to Speaker Biographies and Photos. If there is
no link, then we do not have current photos and / or Bios of our speakers.

Edward Asscher, Vice – Chair responsible Jewellery Council and Past – President, World Diamond Council.

Edward Asscher is a member of one of the diamond industry and Amsterdam’s most well-known families. Since 2022 he is Vice-Chair if the Responsible Jewellery Council.
Edward Asscher was elected President of the World Diamond Council in 2014. He served for a two-year term. In June 2020 he was reelected for a three-year term. He is also a past President of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) and the International Diamond Council (IDC), a diamond standards-setting organization affiliated to IDMA and the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB). He is Chairman of the family business Royal Asscher Diamond Company in Amsterdam which is now managed by two of his three children Lita and Mike.

In public life Mr.Asscher has also served in various capacities outside the diamond industry: A past President of the Liberal Party in Amsterdam he was elected Senator for this party in Dutch parliament and served 4 years. He was on the board of the Jewish Historical Museum. He founded the largest Foundation for mentally handicapped people in Amsterdam. Member of the board of the Amsterdam Zoo and chairman of various school boards. He is married to Caty Asscher for 53 years, has 3 children and 8 grandchildren. His hobbies are classical music and sailing.

Angela Betteridge GG (GIA)

Angela Betteridge is a seasoned professional with over 20 years in the Canadian diamond industry. A GIA Graduate Gemologist with extensive experience in a broad range of industries including diamond branding, marketing and retailing, junior and senior natural resource companies, investor relations and corporate communications, wealth management, and design disciplines. Clients and employers include International Institute of Diamond Valuation (IIDV) Part of De Beers Group, BHP Billiton, Indicator Minerals Inc., Dia Met Minerals and RBC Dominion Securities.

Angela is Chair of the Board of Directors and a proud member of the Canadian Jewellers Association, a signatory to the Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct and is a Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Graduate Gemologist, Accredited Jewelry Professional and Pearls Graduate.

Warren Boyd Gemmologist / Geologist

Warren Boyd is the Advisor / Director of Marketing for a Montana based private company called Potentate Mining LLC which is North America’s largest sapphire producer based in Montana.  The Rock Creek Sapphire mine produces a magnificent variety of fine pastel coloured sapphires of all sizes from 0.25 carat to over 60 carats.

He is the founding director of Ontario-based Algonquian Diamond Counsellors International (ADCi) a rough diamond valuation and consulting firm. ADCi’s majority shareholder is also involved in a number of African Government Diamond Valuation (GDV) contracts in Sierra Leone, Lesotho, Guinea, Liberia, and Angola.

Recently in 2022 he became a founding director of eValuer DMCC, from Dubai, that provides a subscription based “Price Book” specific to rough diamonds that is currently being used by governments and industry around the globe. The price matrix is used in the annual valuation of over $2 Billion is rough diamond assortments.

He is the Past Vice President for the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) an international trade organization whose raison d’être is the promotion of coloured gemstones on the global markets. ICA members include miners, traders, and dealers in coloured gemstones from around the world.

In addition he is the Senior Gemmological Associate with Watts, Griffis, McOuat Limited whom are Canada’s longest running independent firms of geological and mining consultants. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the firm provides professional services to the global mineral resource industry, including exploration project management, property valuations, Mineral Resource and Reserve estimates, National Instrument 43-101 and JORC technical reports, and due diligence reviews.

He was formerly the Director of Marketing for Vancouver based Tsar Emerald Corporation that briefly held the license for the exploitation of the Malysheva Emerald and Alexandrite mine in the Urals Mountains of Russia. During this rehabilitation process the mine was brought back into full and profitable emerald production prior to the revocation of the license by the authorities.

Warren is also the President of Canadian-based R. T. Boyd Limited a family owned company marketing coloured gemstones and diamonds in North America since 1956.  His father Dr. Russell Boyd was a founding director of the Canadian Gemmological Association in 1958.

Bruce Bridges

Bruce Bridges is the son of Campbell Bridges, the discoverer of the vivid, pure green variety of garnet known as tsavorite, and the person to bring the first variety of blue zoisite, known as tanzanite, for identification to the United States. Campbell Bridges was also Tiffany & Co.’s official consultant geologist on tanzanite. Bruce has been intimately involved in the gem industry since childhood, working side-by-side with his father. Growing up in Kenya, he has completed extensive fieldwork in the Taita/Taveta region of Southern Kenya. As the President of Bridges Tsavorite, Bruce carries on the family tradition of three generations as gemstone miners and dealers in Africa. The family business is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya with its sales distribution headquarters in Tucson, Arizona. The company is proud to maintain its fully integrated operation, which includes every aspect from; mining, sorting, grading and cutting, to marketing and sales. In addition, Bruce has both published and lectured extensively on tsavorite throughout the world.

Bruce previously served as the First Vice President of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) and completed a six-year term as a Director of the International Colored Gemstone
Association (ICA). In 2017, he was appointed to the Advisory Board of The University of Arizona Gem and Mineral Museum, as well as the Advisory Board of the Gemstones and Sustainable Development Knowledge Hub.

Richard Drucker GG (GIA)

Richard Drucker is the founder and president emeritus of Gemworld International, Inc. in Glenview, Illinois. His credentials include: Graduate Gemologist of the Gemological Institute of America; Honorary Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain; Senior Member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers; Senior Gemologist, Accredited Gemologists Association.

As a third generation in the jewelry industry, he began a pricing publication in 1982 now known as the GemGuide. This publication is used in more than 40 countries and is the industry leader in gem pricing and market information. In 2002, he became the owner of GemGuide Appraisal Software. In 2014 he co-developed the World of Color nomenclature and grading system for colored gemstones. In 2020, he collaborated with Jewelers Mutual Insurance to develop appraisal software for retail jewelers powered by Gemworld.

In 2006, Drucker was bestowed the Antonio C. Bonanno Excellence in Gemology industry award. In 2012 he was awarded honorary fellowship in the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (FGA). In 2019 he was awarded the Diamond Award from the Canadian Gemmological Association. In 2022, he was named as president of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, an ambassador and board position. Drucker now serves as publisher, consultant, lecturer, and author. He has hosted five international gemological conferences bringing gemologists, jewelers and appraisers together from around the world.

Lisa Elser GG (GIA)

Lisa Elser living in the Vancouver, BC area.  She spent 25 years in IT working for companies like Bell Laboratories, NCR and Sun Microsystems and consulted to some of the largest banks and insurance companies in the world.

Lisa holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from Rutgers University, as well as advanced courses on Finance from Edinburgh School of Business.    She has lectured around the world on using technology to achieve business goals and was a sought after speaker for conferences and corporate meetings.

She began cutting gems as a hobby when she moved from consulting to managing consultants, finding that it gave her a satisfaction to create something with her own hands.

Lisa trained in gemcutting in Montreux, Switzerland and did her Graduate Gemologist degree with the GIA in Carlsbad, CA.   After a number of years of cutting as a hobby she retired from IT and with her husband Tom founded Custom Cut Gems.  Lisa now works with custom goldsmiths and jewelry designers in North America and Europe.  She and her husband travel the world to buy rough gems.  As the business grew, she and Tom began making grants to support economic development in gem producing countries.  They continue to put a percentage of the profits into projects like well, sanitation, women’s business cooperatives and education.

She’s published articles on topics including rough buying techniques, sawing, faceting “off the diagram” and on the heat treatment of tourmaline.    In addition to her own publications, Lisa has been featured in More Magazine, Jewellery Business Canada, The Gem Guide, and her work appears in Renee Newman’s “Rare Gemstones.”

In 2013, she won the a prestigious American Gem Trade Assoc (AGTA) Spectrum award for her 14.24ct red Tourmaline.  The gem is now in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

Dr. Lee A. Groat

Lee Groat graduated from Queen’s University with a B.Sc. (Honours, Geology) in 1982 and from the University of Manitoba with a Ph.D. in 1988. From 1988 to 1989 he was a NATO Postdoctoral Fellow at Cambridge University.

In 2003 Prof. Groat was elected a Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America, and in 2009 the new mineral groatite was named in his honor.

His main research interests are the geology of gem deposits, pegmatites, the crystal chemistry of minerals, and economic geology.  Professor Groat has published extensively in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He also edited the best-selling 2007 and 2014 “Geology of Gem Deposits” volumes and in 2022 co-wrote (with Dr. David Turner) the textbook “Geology and Mineralogy of Gemstones”.

Professor Groat will be reviewing the latest research on the origin of gem deposits and how to explore for them, especially in remote areas of the Earth.

JP Jutras

Mr. Jutras is a professional mineral exploration geologist with over 30 years of experience in the mineral exploration industry. He has worked in over 15 countries on four continents, with numerous public companies including Placer Dome, Prism Resources, Golden Star Resources, Tyler Resources Inc. and now, Jade Leader Corp.

In the late 1980’s while working in Northern British Colombia, Canada, Mr. Jutras had an opportunity to take some jade samples home from a mine visit. This became the beginning of a parallel avocation to his mineral exploration career now spanning over 30 years as a student and collector of jades from all over the world, gemstone carver, faceter and metalsmith. It was this parallel path which led to Mr. Jutras being invited to participate and compete numerous times as an International carver at the prestigious Zi Gang Bei Jade and Gemstone carving exhibition, Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, where by now he has received both silver and bronze medals for his competition entries. He has recently been a guest speaker on Jade at both the Canadian Gemmological Association (CGA) and the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA).

While competing in China, the scale of recent changes in the Jade industry became obvious, and a one month initial research journey to some of the major Jade carving centers and markets in China was undertaken. This led to the creation of Jade Leader Corp. as it entered the International Jade space and began taking steps to establish itself as a leader in Jade exploration and production.

Craig Lynch

Craig A. Lynch is passionate about gems and jewelry, Mr. Lynch has worked in the jewelry industry for more than 40 years. For the last 35 years he has been the owner of Ouellet and Lynch an independent gem and jewelry appraisal firm in Phoenix Arizona. During his career he has been fortunate to work on many unique projects and has had the opportunity to examine and appraise some of the rarest unique and beautiful jewels on the planet.

In 2002 he was honored to be the chosen appraiser for all the jewelry and watches recovered from the shipwreck “RMS Titanic”. In 2006 he examined- (while it was loose) and appraised the historic “Archduke Joseph” diamond a true Golconda, Type II, 76 carat, D-Flawless diamond which sold for 21 million at Christies, Geneva in 2012. Since 2008 he has been the gemological consultant and appraiser for the world renowned “Somewhere in the Rainbow Collection”.

He has been honored to complete multiple appraisals for the Smithsonian’s mineral and gem collection at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC., The Museum of Natural History of Los Angles County, Los Angeles Ca. and the The Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum University of Arizona, Tucson Az. He has appeared in more than 45 episodes of the PBS television series “ Arizona Collectibles” as the shows “on air” expert for gems and jewelry.

Dr. Maria Maclennan BDes (Hons), MDes (Dist.), GCert, PGCert, Ph.D., FHEA, FRSA

Dr Maria Maclennan is an award-winning interdisciplinary designer, researcher, educator, and TEDx Speaker. She is currently a tenured Lecturer/Assistant Professor (Teaching and Research) at The University of Edinburgh, part of the prestigious UK Russell Group of world-class, research-intensive universities. Working between both Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) and the Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI), Maria currently contributes to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and research across a range of disciplines.

Maria obtained her PhD in Forensic Jewellery from The University of Dundee in 2018, a unique partnership between Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD), the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID), and The Institute for Capitalising on Creativity (ICC) at The University of St Andrews. Her research interests concern the role of jewellery in forensic and criminal contexts, and the role of design in facilitating collaboration across diverse fields such as forensic science, policing, government, and education. She is currently Principal Investigator on Identifying the Displaced (2021-present), an ESRC-funded multidisciplinary investigation into the role of personal effects in the migration context.

As the world’s first ‘Forensic Jeweller’, Maria has collaborated on a broad portfolio of practice: outside, inside, and alongside high-profile public, private, and third sector organisations internationally, including the Police Service of Scotland, INTERPOL, National Crime Agency, European Academy of Forensic Science, and British Transport Police. She regularly provides support and advice to international policing agencies on the identification and repatriation of jewellery recovered with human remains. Prior to her appointment at Edinburgh, Maria held several senior leadership roles across the public sector and civil service, including the Police Service of Scotland (Service Design Manager; Academic Research Lead) and Scottish Government (Lead Service Designer; Senior Service Designer). Previous academic roles include as a Lecturer in Designing Out Crime (University of Dundee), Research Assistant in Design Against Crime (Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London), Research Assistant in Service Design (Home Office College of Policing), and as a British Research Council Fellow at the John W Kluge Centre (Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.).

Passionate about public engagement, Maria is a regular contributor to national television and radio, having featured on BBC One, Radio 4, STV News, and Scotland Tonight. Her work has been the subject of major profiles by The Financial Times, The Times, New York Times, BBC Crimewatch, and the popular Ripley’s ‘Believe It or Not’. In 2022, she was named a finalist in the AHRC/BBC ‘New Generation Thinkers’ scheme and was featured by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) in their documentary series, ‘101 Jobs Changing the World’. Most recently, Maria was the recipient of an Outstanding Early Career Impact Award from the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR). She is currently represented by TV and Media agency, Gritty Talent, working on her first monograph on the forensic and criminal use of jewellery.

Renée Newman

Renée Newman developed her interest in gems while conducting tours to Asia, South America and the South Pacific. Her passengers wanted information about the gems displayed in hotels and stores so she signed up for a colored stone grading course at GIA in order to answer their questions. The teachers there inspired her to complete the GIA colored stones and diamonds program.

After receiving a graduate gemologist diploma from the GIA, Renée was hired as a gemologist at a diamond wholesale firm in downtown Los Angeles. It provided hands-on experience grading diamonds and selecting colored gems and pearls for their jewelry. Armed with trade experience and gemological credentials, Renée decided to create books that showed readers how to visually evaluate the quality of gems. Her first book, the Diamond Ring Buying Guide, was published in 1989. Since that time, she has written 13 more books on gems and jewelry, including the Diamond Handbook geared to trade professionals and her new large-format book Diamonds: Their History, Sources, Qualities and Benefits. Information about it is at

Renée’s books are used as consumer guides, gemology course textbooks, sales training tools and appraisal references and are listed at  Renée will be selling her books and autographing them at the conference. Bring cash or a check if you would like to purchase any of them.

Duncan Parker FGA, FCGmA

Duncan Parker is vice president at Dupuis Fine Jewellery Auctioneers in Toronto. He provides assessment, valuation, consultation, and specialized jewellery and gemmological advice to assist a global client base to make informed decisions for participation at auction.

Past president of Jewellers Vigilance Canada, Duncan chaired the committee that wrote Canada’s Jewellery Appraisal Guidelines, and the Guidelines with the Respect to the Sale and Marketing of Diamonds Pearls and Coloured Gems.

Duncan is the past president and has been an instructor at The Canadian Gemmological Association. He has also written and taught gem and jewellery programs at George Brown College and at the Life Institute at Toronto Metropolitan University, and has developed and written training programs for staff at several retail jewellery organizations.

He has worked as a jewellery valuer and diamond and coloured gem specialist for 30 years. He is a regular columnist on appraising, antique jewellery and gemmological subjects for several journals, and is a regular speaker at international conferences.

Jon Phillips GG (GIA), CG (AGS)

Jon has been in the jewellery business for over 40 years and worked in all of its “facets”. He was recently the Divisional Manager for Canadian Diamonds at Corona Jewellery Company Ltd. in Toronto, Canada. Part of Jon’s responsibilities included managing the rough to polish systems for Canadian Diamonds including the purchasing of rough directly from mining companies to working with diamond polishing factories to produce the final product.

Jon was also the lead instructor for Corona and traveled worldwide to promote Canadian diamonds and gold. Jon is also well known for his presentations on diamond market conditions and on synthetic diamonds in the jewellery industry.

Jon worked for BHP Billiton Diamonds as a Marketing Manager in both Vancouver and Antwerp and as a service Manager for Birks in Vancouver. He was a part time 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 Graduate Gemologist (GG) from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and President of the Vancouver Chapter of the GIA Alumni Collective.

Jon is the past chair of the Assurance Committee of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) and a past member of the Standards Committee. He has served as a board member for the Canadian Jewellers Association and is a past vice-president of the diamond commission for CIBJO and a past President of the Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct Committee (CDCC).

Gary A. Roskin, GIA GG, FGA

Gary Roskin, graduate gemologist, author, gemstone photographer, and journalist, is the Editor in Chief of the Roskin Gem News Report.

Former CEO for the International Colored Gemstone Association, Senior Gemstone Editor for JCK Magazine, and the Baselworld Daily News, Roskin has covered the international colored gems and diamonds market, as well as gemological subjects on diamonds, and the estate gemstone/jewelry market for close to four decades.

With years of professional experience in areas including laboratory diamond grading, supervising, training, monitoring, and reporting, Roskin has provided jewelers and appraisers valuable diamond grading tips and techniques. Gary is the author of “Photo Masters for Diamond Grading.”

Roskin began his career as a fourth-generation retail jeweler in Marion, Indiana. He studied at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in Santa Monica, California, and worked there from 1977 through 1992; 6 years as Assistant to the Director of the Los Angeles GIA Gem Trade Lab, 3 years as a resident gemology instructor in both diamond grading and colored stone/gem identification, and 5 years as Executive Director of the GIA Alumni Association. From 1992 through 1997, Roskin was Assistant Director for the European Gem Lab in Los Angeles.

Roskin is a Graduate Gemologist and Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain. Gary has been the recipient of many awards, including the International Society of Appraiser’s Media Award for his feature story entitled, “Bad Appraising Lands Good Jeweler in Court,” several Richard T. Liddicoat Journalism Awards Honorable Mentions from the American Gem Society, and a shared 2nd place award in Gems & Gemology’s Dr. Edward J. Gübelin Most Valuable Article Award, as a co-author of “Synthetic Gem Materials in the 2000s: A Decade in Review.”

Gary was just presented the Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology from the Accredited Gemologists Association.

Kelly Ross

Kelly Ross is a Security Advisor for Jewellers Vigilance Canada and independent consultant. Kelly has decades of police and security experience dedicated to jewellery related crime. He owned and operated an on-line jewellery store and is a trained gemologist and rough diamond grader. He has written for law enforcement magazines on this topic and presents and teaches on the topic of gemstone/precious metals crimes to law enforcement globally.