Aug 302014

Al Gilbertson signing his book "The American Cut"

AIJV member Ted Irwin hosted the second annual Northwest Jewelry Conference August 15-17 2014 in Bellevue, WA, USA. With a twenty-five year history of offering period jewelry classes, Irwin through Northwest Gemological Institute (NGI) started a multi-speaker conference style program in 2013, attracting collectors, dealers and appraisers to a small classroom setting with accomplished instructors.

This year, eight distinguished colleagues presented lectures and workshops to a class of twenty-two students and then became part of the class themselves, making for a unique experience of sharing information and ideas.

Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Cut Researcher, Al Gilbertson and Scott Sucher of Museum Diamonds presented the evolution of diamond cutting which not only traced history but allowed students to handle exact replicas Sucher has made of the world’s most famous diamonds.

Marking his fourth appearance at NGI jewelry historian, Peter Shemonsky offered a 360 degree look at how the transitions of 1890-1905 translated into the jewelry of the day. Peter also presented a hands-on materials identification workshop and teamed up with Diana Singer on the formidable history of Tiffany & Co. Diana, dealer and Vice President of the American Society of Jewelry Historians, marked her second conference year and also gave a thought-provoking look at determining excellence in jewelry design and construction.

Bill Whetstone giving instruction on historical European Hallmarks

Danusia Niklewicz and Bill Whetstone of the Hallmark Research Institute demystified the analysis of jewelry hallmarks in their interactive workshop, local dealer Karen Lorene introduced the world of jewelry art and Evie Chung gave a pearl stringing demonstration.

All of this, while Lori Irwin kept the attendees well-fed throughout the day.



 Administrator’s comment

NWJC 2015 will be held August 14-16, with a Friday night reception and first session, very full Saturday slate and half-day Sunday. Tuition will be $695 and most of this year’s students have already reserved a spot for 2015. While the program may have outgrown its current venue, class size will be deliberately limited to insure an intimacy that insures interaction between the students and their instructors. Information will be posted as it becomes available at


Disclaimer – The AIJV blog is authored by a selection of AIJV members and guests specifically to be able present many different viewpoints on a large variety of subjects. The opinions expressed by the authors are not necessarily those of the AIJV.

Photo Credit – Ted Irwin

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Ted Irwin

AIJV member Ted Irwin, is President of Northwest Gemological Laboratory, a jewelry appraisal practice in Bellevue, Washington, USA. Ted is the course creator, educator and owner of the Northwest Gemological Institute, who are the administrators of the Northwest Jewelry Conference.

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