AGTA takes a stand against lab-grown gemstones at trade shows

The American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) recently announced a significant policy shift, declaring its trade shows to be synthetics-free zones starting from the AGTA GemFair Tucson 2025 event
AGTA takes a stand against lab-grown gemstones at trade shows

In a statement released on Tuesday, the organization outlined its decision to prohibit exhibitors from showcasing loose lab-grown stones or jewellery containing them. The move aims to address potential market confusion, particularly in light of the disruptive presence of lab-grown diamonds.

AGTA emphasized its commitment to transparency by allowing dealers to sell synthetic gems, provided that they are clearly disclosed. However, to ensure clarity and confidence for buyers, AGTA GemFair attendees can now expect only natural gems available for purchase.

Based in Dallas, Texas, AGTA is renowned as the authoritative source on natural coloured gemstones. Its shows, including the annual Tucson fair in February and another event in Las Vegas in late May and early June, are pivotal gatherings for the coloured gemstone industry, attracting thousands of buyers and exhibitors.

Kimberly Collins, president of the AGTA board of directors, emphasized the organization's dedication to offering superior, rare, and natural gems sourced directly from the earth. She underscored that synthetic gemstones lack the intrinsic value and natural beauty found in mined gems.

AGTA's decision aligns with its founding principles, established in 1981 to represent wholesale dealers of natural gemstones, cultured pearls, and natural pearls. CEO John Ford reiterated that the board's resolution remains consistent with AGTA's core purpose.

AGTA also recognized the Gemological Institute of America's (GIA) definition of synthetic gems as materials sharing identical chemical composition, crystal structure, and optical and physical properties with natural gem materials. However, AGTA clarified that synthetic gems do not meet the criteria of minerals as defined by the British Geological Survey and the US Geological Survey, which necessitate a natural origin.

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