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Posted by Ollie Hoopnagle
Ollie Hoopnagle January 22, 2007 10:03PMFrom a website that is run by the "International School of Gemology"
"Fluorescence is made visible by using ultraviolet light that is of high wave lengths and barely visible to the human eye. The colors are caused when a gem material takes these ultraviolet light waves and slows them down sufficiently to be visible to the human eye. Just like the black lights that used to be hanging in the bars in the 1960's, where you could walk in with a particular shirt on and the colors would stand out. The black light was actually very bright and the material interacted with it to slow the light beams down enough to become very visible."
www dot yourgemologist dot com/fluorescence dot html
Pete Nancarrow January 23, 2007 11:39PMDreadful; this guy is an FGA, and supposedly is accredited to teach by The Gemmological Association of Great Britain. In addition to the amatuerish errors about fluorescence quoted by Ollie above, the first two mineral descriptions I viewed briefly at that site showed incorrect formulae! The formula of turquoise is given as CuAlH20, and beryl (for emerald) as BeAlSio2 (sic).
I am also a Fellow of the Gemmological Association, and know several of the officers of the Asociation personally. I will bring this site and it's errors to their attention.
Robert James March 03, 2007 10:19PMBased on an ISG student observation of this thread, I wanted to respond to the profoundly incorrect and unfair comments made here by Mr. Nancarrow. Particularly since the good name of the International School of Gemology has been libeled here without Mr. Nancarrow having the least bit of actual knowledge of the school or our course program. I find it highly unprofessional that you should brand as -dreadful- a program that you have never seen.
YourGemologist is a separate website to the International School of Gemology. YourGemologist is a combined effort of a lot of people to serve as a free study website where beginners and novice amateurs can get some practical explanations regarding the study of gemstones. It is a portal. A beginning. And has served as such to almost 500,000 guests for over 7 years.
We provide easy to understand practical explanations for beginners. That is why we continue to grow. Our explanation of fluorescence is indeed correct, and has served as an excellent beginning into the understanding of UV reactions for thousands of people who used the basic understanding we provide, to move on to a higher level of learning with the ISG and other schools. That you do not agree with it, Mr. Nancarrow, does not mean it is wrong. It just means that you do not agree with it.
And it is not required that we provide the full scientific equation to every gemstone. Newbies to the study simply need to know the basics first, and can move on to as much of the information as they desire once they get the foundation laid down.
I guess what is most disturbing is that Mr. Nancarrow should make such derogatory remarks about something that you know nothing about. If you would care to take some time and investigate before you speak, you would find that we have many GIA Graduate Gemologists, Canadian FGA and Gem-A students who study with us because our ISG course notes offer a dimension into the study of gemology that is both more complete, and easier to understand, than their other courses. And many have given the ISG credit for having passed their other exams With Distinction.
The ISG has over 1400 students in 53 countries around the world, and many of our graduates are working in top jewelry stores or own their own jewelry store and/or appraisal service.
We are the only gemology school in the world that offers jewelry appraisal training that is developed, written and administered by licensed insurance adjusters and underwriters who are on-staff with the ISG. And who have years of experience in the insuring and adjusting of jewelry claims. And the ISG is the only gemology school in the world certified to write and teach jewelry related courses by the various US State Departments of Insurance.
It is an insult to the ISG student body that this thread should have been allowed to even start. But since we try to teach our students the full realm of what goes on in the gemology industry, perhaps this thread will stand as a testament that sometimes people disrespect others in the industry out of pure ignorance.
To that end, Mr. Nancarrowâ€™s comments are certainly a case on point.
Robert James FGA, GG
International School of Gemology
Robert James March 03, 2007 11:04PMAs a followup to this thread.....
Mr. Nancarrow we would like to invite you to spend an hour with the ISG Student Body during one of our Tuesday night ISG Student Chat Rooms. Here we have students from many parts of the world meet each week for a real time, online chat room to discuss various topics of jewelry, gemstones and appraisals.
The time is 8pm Central Time and we meet for about 1 hour.
There is a lot of learning and sharing with students from many parts of the industry, with a lot of industry leaders dropping by from time to time.
We invite you to drop in and spend some time with us to truly learn what the ISG is all about.
I believe it will be of mutual benefit, and hope that you will give us the courtesy of actually visiting with us before making any further comments about what the ISG students are accomplishing.
We look forward to having you join us.
Don Saathoff March 03, 2007 11:10PMMr. James....."The colors are caused when a gem material takes these ultraviolet light waves and slows them down sufficiently to be visible to the human eye." This statement is not merely an oversimplification of the phenomenon of fluorescence, but is incorrect and misleading!! How is this statement less simple: "fluorescence is the visible light produced by a mineral when a higher energy radiation (in this case, ultraviolet) excites some atoms and produces photons in the visible spectrum". It's by no means a complete or exact explanation, but it's not misleading and not insulting to those who know better. The ISG and ANY affiliated organizations bear the responsibility of NOT being misleading....your credentials notwithstanding...and I promise you there are FAR many more that 1400 students of mineralogy in FAR more than 53 countries....some of whome are probably laughing after having read the above.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph March 03, 2007 11:20PMRobert,
"Our explanation of fluorescence is indeed correct"
Unfortunately it is not.
The site says "the colors are caused when a gem material takes these ultraviolet light waves and slows them down sufficiently to be visible to the human eye."
Ultraviolet light is not "slowed down". Technically, the light is travelling (fractionally) slower while it is inside the crystal, but that is the same whether it is a fluorescent material or not. Some of this light is absorbed by the fluorescent material and new light, of a different wavelength, is emitted. Once it leaves the crystal the new light is travelling at the same speed - the speed of light in air - it's not faster nor slower than the original ultraviolet light.
I understand that you do not need to have a full understanding of the laws of physics to be able to appreciate gemology, but to have an incorrect definition of how fluorescence works is worse than having none.
"And it is not required that we provide the full scientific equation to every gemstone."
Of course, it's not required. So why put something that is wrong? "BeAlSio2" means nothing (even if you'd typed the O in upper case as you should). If you wanted to simplify things in a way that was actually useful, then you should have put "Beryllium Aluminium Silicate". That's accurate and simple.
I'm afraid that Peter's conclusions regarding your site are pretty spot on. You need to seriously look at upgrading your online materials.
Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 03/03/2007 11:58PM by Jolyon Ralph.
Robert James March 04, 2007 01:26AMI am afraid that you are trying to apply your own explanations as if they are the only one's allowed. Which may be on this site, but certainly not in the overall industry.
When ultraviolet light enters a stone it is traveling at an energy level that is too high for our eyes to see. The wavelength of UV light is higher than the visible spectrum. The gemstone changes that energy to a light wave with longer energy waves. And transmits it out as light within the visible spectrum. Our explanation for newbies on YourGemologist is exactly on point and correct.
And that we list the beryllium aluminum silicate of beryl as BeAlSiO2 is our own perogative. The full chemical breakdown of gemstones is without use in gemology for practical applications. It is tedious. Students do not want to have to learn to that level of minutia. Knowing that beryl is a beryllium aluminum silicate is the required level of information to perform gemological tests. So our listing of beryl as such is as complete as is required to fulfill the requirements of the purpose.
As a result our explanation is correct as it stands. And that we do not provide some high level physics explanation to appease Peter is without standing with us.
And again, Peter has never seen inside the ISG. So neither he, nor you Jolyon, have any standing to be making any comments about the ISG on this or any forums board.
If this is such a strict scientific place of learning I would think that an actual look at the ISG courses would be required before you could pronounce anyone's opinion as -spot on-.
Your pronouncements of the ISG without ever having seen the courses is highly unprofessional. And I would think that this point would be of more concern to people than anything else.
Maybe its your board, and everyone does what you say. I would have to ask how you can issue such comments on something you have never seen?
Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 03/04/2007 01:30AM by Robert James.
Alan Plante March 04, 2007 02:58AMUltraviolet light energy is absorbed by the electrons in the outer shell of atoms/ions, which increases the energy of the particles/waves and causes them to move outwards into the next higher orbit. But the energization isn't sufficient for the electrons to remain stable in this outer orbit, so they end up giving off energy in the form of visible light and drop back to their original orbit.
That IS the simplified but accurate explanation for fluorescence. What you have posted on your website is NOT. It is grossly misleading - inaccurate.
That's not a matter of "opinion" - it's a matter of FACT. Arguing otherwise won't change the fact of the matter.
As an educator you have a duty to provide ACCURATE information to your students - not grossly inaccurate "simplifications." This is from someone who has been a scientific educator for over 35 years.
Alan R. Plante
Evan Chugg March 04, 2007 03:07AMMr James,
in attempting to defend the indefensible - the blatant inaccuracies of the ISG site - you diminish both your own integrity and that of the International School of Gemology - which only strengthens the general suspicion that many 'gemologists' have little idea of what they are talking about.
Robert James March 04, 2007 05:04AMI came here to answer what I thought was a very unfair and unsubstantiated post about YourGemologist that someone choose to bleed over to the ISG. I had hoped to find other professionals who would agree that no one should make these kinds of allegations without ever having actually been on the ISG website. Discuss YourGemologist all you want. I will discuss it with you. But since no one here has ever been on the ISG website and studied with us, how can you act as if you know what is there? How can you even make comment on something you have never seen?
The ISG website is greatly expanded in DVD Video Lecture demonstrations and PDF study files regarding all aspects of gemology. We do indeed have GIA Graduate Gemologists and FGA students study with us because of the quality of our program. And we have helped many students pass their FGA and GG exams. And not one of our students has encountered any problems regarding the understanding of fluorescence. Did any of the previous posters bother to answer that? No. Not one of you bothered to deal with that point.
And let me again make this very clear, All of the above comments about the ISG have come from people who have never actually been on the ISG website.
But after further review, that page on fluorescence was taken down from our directory almost a year ago. So the page itself was not even linked to the YourGemologist.com website, it was just hanging on the net. So the person who started this thread was not even in the actual YourGemologist.com website as we took out that entire section from our directory links a year ago. So this entire thread is not only a hijack, but was done with malicious intent to start with.
But for the people here to post what has been said about the ISG without ONE of you ever having been there......
This was just an attempt to attack a good organization with a lot of excellent students, that is making quality study of gemology affordable to more people, thereby helping to grow the industry.
We do good work. We do good work at a good price. And we help a lot of people realize their dream of getting into the gemstone business. We provide scholarships to disabled people and those who are financially unable to study gemology. And our list of successful students is impressive if one of the above posters would have bothered to ask around before posting up such hurtful and unfounded allegations.
That someone felt they found an error on YourGemologist, and therefore the entire International School of Gemology is "dreadful".........
Don't talk about the International School of Gemology again until you have studied with us. At least have the integrity to do that.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/04/2007 05:27AM by Robert James.
Bill Gordon March 04, 2007 08:29AMThe chemical composition should be written correctly. If your students go on to study mineralogy, the formulae taught by you, unless correct, would be useless and would need to be relearned.
Gemstones are described by gemologists using technical specifications. First, what is it made of, or its chemical composition.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/04/2007 03:41PM by Bill Gordon.
Dominik Schläfli March 04, 2007 11:30AMRobert James wrote:
"Discuss YourGemologist all you want. I will discuss it with you."
"Don't talk about the International School of Gemology again until you have studied with us. At least have the integrity to do that."
ROTFL. If these kind of posts continue, we should create a "craig award".
Well then, let's study the "actual" YourGemologist site, hoping that you'll have the integrity not to edit it on the fly so we can all have a good laugh.
We could call it "the pearl hunt" :-).
It took me less than a minute to stumble on the following:
There is a section called "The Study of Minerals". In there, I found:
Calcite: Crystal System: Hexagonal.
Vanadinite: Crystal System: Trigonal.
Anyone else found other "pearls" ?
Phil B. March 04, 2007 01:26PMHehehe Dominik, sounds like an appropriate award for this situation
Now for a pearl...
"Magnetite ... is natures own natural magnet." followed by a picture of (magnatized) iron filings, although he claims its the magnetite specimens who are holding them. "being held by the magnetic pull of the larger piece"
When we say magnetite is magnetic its because its attracted to a magnet... :-|
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/04/2007 01:28PM by Phil B..
Sophia Shultz March 04, 2007 02:05PM<
To quote the genie in "Aladdin", "NNT! WRONG!"
I may not be able to argue the composition or crystalline structure of some of these other materials without looking them up, but this is hands-down WRONG. This statement (in addition to being so grammatically incorrect as to cause physical pain to the reader) is written at a level that would have insulted my daughter when she was in first grade.
This statement makes flint appear to be a sort of fossil sponge, which is wholly incorrect. Flints or cherts form largely as the result of the presence of radiolaria or diatoms, which feature silicious skeletons. These are not sponges. Taxonomically, they are not even close. It seems to me (please collect me if I'm wrong) that silicates only come out of solution in cold water, not a preferred environment for sponges.
Simply using the term "flint" is a gross oversimplification. Flint is a member of a huge group of cryptocrystalline silicates which includes chert, opal, chalcedony, jasper (I could go on and on.) It is mostly closley related to chert; the division, though under debate, is often made by color,flint being dark and chert being light.
You could get more--and more accurate--information out of the DK Eyewitness series for children.
There you go, Phil! ;)
Jolyon & Katya Ralph March 04, 2007 02:28PMRobert.
I find your responses here somewhat sad and disturbing. Anyone can have errors on their website - there are plenty of errors on this one. The difference is how you handle it when the errors are pointed out to you. For future reference the correct way is to thank the people who pointed the errors out and go about making changes - not to attack the messagebearer.
I understand you have a reputation to protect, and admitting to mistakes is harder than blindly defending them. But please, this is not an "Industry" with "different opinions". This is science. There are different ways to explain the same thing, but they are only valid if the basic science behind what you say is correct.
You're already starting to backpeddle a little bit. Let me quote:
"When ultraviolet light enters a stone it is traveling at an energy level that is too high for our eyes to see. The wavelength of UV light is higher than the visible spectrum. The gemstone changes that energy to a light wave with longer energy waves. And transmits it out as light within the visible spectrum. Our explanation for newbies on YourGemologist is exactly on point and correct."
But your definition on the website says:
"The colors are caused when a gem material takes these ultraviolet light waves and slows them down sufficiently to be visible to the human eye."
Now, anyone with even the most basic of high-school physics knows that speed and wavelength are two totally different and unrelated properties. There is no harm in simplifying complex things for a non-technical audience, but when you simplify it too far that you're actually changing the meaning then you have gone too far.
The definition you used in your reply on this board whilst still not entirely accurate is far closer to reality. Why not use that?
Other mistakes such as the Trigonal Vanadinite are presumably just simple slip-ups in data entry - these things happen and can easily be fixed - but I hope you appreciate the importance of fixing them when they are pointed out.
And as for Sophia's comment about sponges, I'm certainly no expert about fossil sponges and flint formation (which for many years has been a big mystery), but it is certainly very common to find fossil sponge relics within flint nodules, and even if the sponge is not the original source of all of the silica that forms the flint nodule, there may well be a connection. I'll need to read up more about this, but I don't think that Robert's comments about this are too far from the truth.
Alan Plante March 04, 2007 04:32PMI sometimes find myself wondering if the people who come here to argue some point realize that this website is frequented by professionals and advanced amateurs? - That they are arguing with people who actually know what they are talking about. It's like the kid with a broken calculator trying to convince a mathematician that 2 + 2 = 7.956, 'cause he says so!
You have to wonder if Mr. James "gets" what Evan means when he says you can't defend the indefensible? He doesn't seem to know enough about the subject to understand how indefensible his position is...
Robert James March 04, 2007 05:40PMLet me clarify this situation once more for you all. YourGemologist is a free study website developed starting 7 years ago. It is a portal into the study of gemstones for a lot of newbies. As with any website, there will be places where others may or may not agree with the information. But there is a professional method of submitting recommendations for suggesting corrections or updates.
What has been done here is anything put professional. This is a hatchet job with all of you circling like sharks in the water looking for any tid bit of carrion to snatch up for yourselves. It is an unprofessional thread being extended by people who claim to be professionals.
True professionals would have submitted a private email to me to provide your assistance in upgrading and updating information you felt needed your professional expertise. Not this free for all feeding frenzy that you have done here.
Since you all seem bent on cutting and pasting, why not be fair and post some of the positives?
No, that would not be fun for your group would it? More entertaining to have a group crucifixion. And you have to be sure to libel the ISG as part of your effort.
So allow me to post up some responses from actual ISG students. If anyone here is interested in fairness and balance in a discussion, perhaps you will read these. I have the original copies of these transmissions and can prove in court that they are true and correct in case anyone would care to actually learn about the ISG.
I believe I that I have not thanked you for having this course. It was the best thing I have ever done. And the course material is great just like the instructor.
Now I know about gemology and the goldsmiths are hire me for identifications of gemstones.
Today I was out at five new companies for introducing what I do; all of them want my services. This is great THANK YOU ROBERT!!
Best Regards Mattias, Sweden
I am using the International School of Gemology's materials for my GIA Gem ID course as they are superior teaching materials. The GIA is best for diamonds, but suffers from a learning point of view. I have several graduate degrees, so I experienced a variety of learning situations and I am very happy with the International School of Gemology. I am reading the materials studiously before I begin to take the tests.
Susan P. (ISG and GIA Student)
Having studied at both the GIA and ISG, I can tell you that the ISG is easier to understand, goes much deeper into the concepts, and has prepared me for the industry far better than the GIA. A superior program all the way around.
John L, ISG Student
â€¦..As a former GIA student, I truly feel that your program offers the best hands on, practical, day to day knowledge that is available including GIA. Good luck in the new office and continued success!
Bill W, Pres. ********** Jewelers Association
I wanted to thank you for the opportunities you have opened up for me in the world of gemology. In spite of my disability I am now able to operate my own gemstone business from my home and can finally make a living on my own.
Julie. T. ISG Student
Now, if you all are the professionals you claim, letâ€™s have a discussion about these cut and pastes.
What is amazing is that we have referred our ISG students here to this website in the past to learn more about mineralogy from the experts here.
And the ISG pays for Google advertising to participate on this site, which helps to add revenue to this Mindat website.
And in return for our efforts to support you, we get this thread.
I am personally disappointed in Mindat. I honestly expected more from you.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph March 04, 2007 11:00PMRobert.
The perceived wisdom is that when you've got yourself into a hole, it's a good idea to stop digging.
The original message (which was not posted by anyone involved in the management of this site) raised alarm at seriously inaccurate information placed on the internet - not on a personal home page but on a page intended as an educational resource created by someone with credentials that would make the reader expect the information to be accurate.
The simple fact is that you have refused to admit there is a problem here and that your information was plain wrong. Instead of sparking an unhealthy thread of accusations in both directions, you could have simply accepted there was a problem and sorted it out - in fact you didn't even need to comment here. This thread would have vanished into obscurity. However, you insisted on taking us on.
I have tried to be objective and fair in this - please review my previous email and my comments on the Vanadinite and Flint issues if you do not think this is the case, so your comments attacking Mindat are a little unfair.
I'm glad that you are getting good comments about your web materials. That's good to know. But if you're giving people the wrong information don't you feel you are letting them down? This is so easy to fix. It would take you far less effort than replying in here - sort out the errors on your site and there will be nothing for people here to complain about.
Peter Nancarrow March 05, 2007 12:12AMMr James wrote:
"I find it highly unprofessional that you should brand as -dreadful- a program that you have never seen. "
I find it unprofessional that someone should take accurate comments about a laughable catlogue of errors to be libellous, and respond with embarassed petulant personal accusations rather than an acknowledgement of the truth of the matter. You have obviously never presented such nonsense at a scientific conference or at a learned society, or you would have developed thicker skin. I was referring to the website in question as seen, and not to the course program or its content, of which I have no need, and in which I have no interest.
I DO however, have an interest in defending scientific accuracy and helping to prevent people who are spending their hard-earned money to be taught science being misled. Dreadful, I wrote, and dreadful I repeat; and disgraceful, I would add, that someone who claims to be teaching a scientific subject sees nothing wrong in quoting incorrect chemical formulae for well-known minerals of simple composition and defends giving totally incorrect explanations of well-understood pyhsical phenomena such as fluorescence, with fatuous comments such as "Our explanation of fluorescence is indeed correct".
Mr James also wrote:
"I guess what is most disturbing is that Mr. Nancarrow should make such derogatory remarks about something that you know nothing about" . . . "But since we try to teach our students the full realm of what goes on in the gemology industry, perhaps this thread will stand as a testament that sometimes people disrespect others in the industry out of pure ignorance.
To that end, Mr. Nancarrowâ€™s comments are certainly a case on point. "
The only reason my response to this is as restrained in tone and language as it is, is in deference to the good name of Mindat, which I have no wish to bring into disrepute by getting further embroiled in a flame war here.
Just for the record;
I am a graduate geologist BSc (Hons) London University, 1977, and Fellow of the Gemmological Association Of Great Britain (FGA Diploma, London, 1984). I spent 17 years working for the British Geological Survey, including working in the Geological Museum in London, where I was mentored by two of the world's leading gemmologists, and where my duties included identification and electron microprobe analysis of gemstones (Jobbins et al. 1978), and later in the Mineral Sciences and Isotope Geology Group, where I worked on diverse mineralogical research. I later spent 10 years working as (the) Mineralogist for the European Division of a Rio Tinto Group company, running their mineralogy, optical microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction laboratories. I have published mineralogical-related research papers in the British Geological Survey Report series, The Mineralogical Magazine, The Journal of The Russell Society, and Mineralogy and Petrology, and contributed to papers in The Journal of Gemmology.
I don't claim to be an expert in all fields, by any means, but I resent accusations of "pure ignorance" with respect to my knowledge of mineralogy and gemmology.
So can we have a bit less of the hurt schoolchild act and accusations of libellous ignorance from someone who is feebly trying to defend a shambles of a website full of scientific howlers.
If Mr James chooses to stand by his accusation of libel, then I can only say he is spitting in the wind, because I will gladly defend my stand against nonsense and scientific inaccuracy.
I have brought the website in question to the attention of the Gemmological Assocation's authorities, and left it with them to take whatever further action they feel appropriate.
Peter Nancarrow, BSc, FGA, Fellow of The Mineralogical Society of Great Britain
Reference 1: Jobbins E.A. et al. 1978 "Studies of a Gem Garnet Suite From The Umba River, Tanzania" Journal of Gemmology volume XVI.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/05/2007 12:18AM by Peter Nancarrow.
Chester S. Lemanski, Jr. March 05, 2007 01:12AMJolyon, Peter, et al:
I regret that this string had to become so long and persistent; however, that said - BULLY for you all! There are many areas of the science where we have yet to learn but there are also many where we know what is scientific fact - getting those latter areas so wrong with the arrogance to defend the erroneous data is truly regrettable, especially when it can be researched so easily. The number of Mindat errors/omissions brought to our attention each year is significant. Most are corrected immediately, a few may be argued among our professionals or locality experts, but action is taken. That keeps our database as accurate as possible. Seldom, if ever, does a Mindat contributor act so petulant.
Justin Zzyzx March 05, 2007 08:09AMThat was
That's exactly how I act when someone tells me an error on my website. It's a good thing there are no errors...
Hey, actually, I was looking for an editor, but I don't have any money to pay anyone for it. So, how about you all "Attack" me and point out all the errors on the-vug for me. That would be hurtful/AWSOME. Whichever emotion motivates you to work for me for free...
Bring it on.
Fred E. Davis March 05, 2007 05:48PMThere are different ways of dealing with a notification of errors on one's website.
1) A man of science would carefully consider the allegations and compare them to authoritative references. If the allegations prove to be true, he would make the corrections to the website, then sincerely thank the person(s) who found the error(s). He would also encourage them to notify him of any further errors that might be found.
2) A man of religion would would deny there is any error given the high Authority of the information. With mounting evidence to the contrary, he would dismiss the allegations as unimportant and immaterial. When evidence to the contrary becomes overwhelming, he resorts to sarcasm, ad hominem attacks, and trots out positive testimonials (which frequently have nothing to do with the allegations, a non sequitur). At one point in history, this would be followed by an auto-da-fe. Thankfully, we left that period behind us long ago.
Perhaps it's not too late to try option 1).
Alan Plante March 06, 2007 03:13PMHi Fred
I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who saw the trend the defense took. - Only I wouldn't equate it to religion. I know of it as a variation of the politician's defense: "If the facts are unassailable, attack the person delivering them." Problem is that while that works with a general population - deflecting attention away from the misinformation and revealing facts - it doesn't work with a specialized population, such as we have here at Mindat. It just makes the defense look all the worse...
I think that perhaps what Mr. James failed to appreciate was that when he attempted to defend the mish-mash of information at his website he opened himself up to the derision he received. Whoever it was above that noted this would have died a natural death if he hadn't come along was absolutely right. - It was already on its last gasp when he breathed new life into it! Mr. James brought it on himself.
People really ought to be careful about tailoring their posts to the audience. The old "Look before you leap!" is always good advice. (Maybe I out to take it to heart more often myself? :~} )
Daniel Russell March 06, 2007 03:21PMAnother error:
Under "mawsitsit" (a chrome-rich rock akin to jadeite):
"Chemical: Combination of elements but primarily chromite and jadeite."
In fact, the dominant phase in mawsitsit is kosmochlor - which usually makes up 60 - 70% of the material. Chromite is merely a minor constituent.. usually less than 1%.
Overall, mawsitsit is a mixture of kosmochlor, chromian jadeite, chromian eckermannite, and chromian albite, with minor to trace amounts of chromite, natrolite, a poorly characterized serpentine group mineral and a poorly characterized chlorite group mineral.
Steve Hardinger March 06, 2007 03:37PMJustin said: "Hey, actually, I was looking for an editor, but I don't have any money to pay anyone for it. So, how about you all "Attack" me and point out all the errors on the-vug for me. That would be hurtful/AWSOME. Whichever emotion motivates you to work for me for free..."
OK Justin, here is one for you: AWSOME should be AWESOME. Ha!
Dominik Schlaefli March 06, 2007 07:45PMThere is another lesson to be learned (nothing new, dates back to the old GF spam story):
Look at the hits google turns up when searching:
"International School of Gemology" successful
"International School of Gemology" quality
"International School of Gemology" problems
"International School of Gemology" issues
Just the kind of routine searches everyone does today before buying a product.
Ironically, all these words are found in Mr. James' posts.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph March 06, 2007 10:10PMActually, it's worse than that.
If you just search for "International School of Gemology" then it comes up on the front page of my google search (This might be because I'm searching from the UK though).
I don't think we should be especially proud of this however. It's certainly not our intention to cause anyone problems. But it does go to show that there are right ways to deal with problems like this, and there are very wrong ways!
Martyn Golding March 07, 2007 01:16AMJust to clarify about sponges, as mentioned by Ms. Shultz.
Sponge bodies are mainly composed of spongin or calcium carbonate, however their spicules can be composed of either calcium carbonate or silica. The silica from these spicules is similar to that which forms the tests of radiolaria and diatoms as mentioned. Spicules are obviously commonly broken off the sponge after death and can be transported great distances on their own. They often end up in the same size bracket as the other microfossils, so I don't see it as inconceivable that they could be incorporated into the formation of flint.
The point about cold water is not really correct, sponges can be found in a wide range of water depths. Calcareous sponges are typically shallow marine, but others can be found on the abyssal plain, at depths of greater than 600m. Its obviously pretty cold down there! Most fossil sponges preferred shallower waters, but as I mentioned spicules can be moved great distances.
I agree that the post on this other website (I haven't seen it myself) is misleading, and personally I don't know if siliceous sponge spicules ARE one of the constituents in flint, but Ms. Shultz's reasoning for sponges not being involved are equally misleading.
Hope that sorts things out,
Enjoy lambasting that gentleman...
Robert James March 07, 2007 03:31AMI actually think Fred Davis has the best approach to this matter. And with respects to his observations, I would like to request that I might try again here and revert to his Option 1.
I reviewed the various comments of this thread, and reviewed the information in question, and found that indeed there was outdated information on YourGemologist.com that needed updating and correcting.
As a result I have gone in stone by stone and entered the complete chemical equation based on several qualified texts including GEMS by Webster and others. And I will continue to make an effort to listen and be proactive to respond in a kindly manner to future observations of our efforts, with a request that they be presented with a like gentle manner.
I regret that this situation deginerated into the situation that it did. This is one of those times in life when you sit down after the fact and say to yourself: "Damn, I sure could have handled that one better".
I am not saying I am totally wrong here. The first two posts in this thread were unprofessional. But as Fred Davis said, there was a better way to have handled the situation.
Wish I had done so. Mea Culpa. Res Ipsa Loquitur.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph March 07, 2007 01:37PMRobert,
I'm glad you have made these updates. Any website with any significant amount of information is going to have errors and mistakes that will only be discovered over time - everyone can now benefit from the revised information.
And if anyone finds more problems with this website, maybe it would be best if they emailed Robert directly. I'll just give those who originally posted a chance to respond if they wish and then I will close this thread.
Peter Nancarrow March 07, 2007 04:15PMI've no wish to leave this on a sour note, so I will add here only this.
I have so often been irritated to find grossly erroneous data on so called scientific sites, and there are so few sites dealing with gemmology in a scientific manner, compared to the numbers of those which deal with gems in a superstitious and irrational manner, that I was upset to find what should be a valuable mineralogical educational dataset corrupted by errors and oversimplification; I lost patience and flew off the handle a bit, especially when public oppsition to such errors was deemed "unprofessional".
Thank you for your acknowledgement that you could have handled this situation better, and that goes for me too. I am also sorry that what I wrote seemed to end up having an effect similar to throwing a stone at a wasp's nest. I agree that my reaction to what I found at "Yourgemologist" was a little hasty, and that a quiet private word would have been a much better first move.
I hope this has all cleared the air, and if the final effect of all this has been to remove the errors which upset us so much, and improve the quality of the data at "Yourgemmologist", then we are all the better off for that, despite our differences and the rather painful route we took to this point.
Kristi Hugs March 11, 2007 03:02AMJolyn, Alan, Justin, Steve.....i just have to say, Y'all ROCK!! I don't come from any type of geological background and am decidedly not even close to amateur much less expert when it comes to these things, but this thread alone has taught me a ton! And you all always answer my questions, as silly as they may be. I really want to thank you all for allowing me to be a part of this. WOW!
Anonymous User April 07, 2007 06:19PMSo, is this school a good school to go to? Nay or yay? I was considering going to this school but now I am unsure. I did a search and this board came up. I posted this before but it seems my post disappeared??
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/07/2007 06:20PM by Sunny.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph April 07, 2007 06:33PMI don't think this is the right forum to discuss the benefits positive or otherwise of this school - because as far as I know no-one here has any first-hand knowledge of it. We just raised some concerns about errors in their website that have now been resolved - I wouldn't take that as any serious indication as to the quality or otherwise of the school - you'll need to talk to them and make up your own mind about it.
Luke Charter April 08, 2007 02:54AMI was going to ignore this entire thread but the last post has got my back up and I feel I must respond.
I am quite perturbed by the way this entire thread has been handled and some of the baseless accusations leveled herein.
It seems that everyone here is ignoring the fact that the errors quoted are ALL from yourgemologist.com and NOT from the International School of Gemology.
As Robert stated numerous times, yourgemologist.com is a COMBINED EFFORT.
Yet numerous people have felt the need to level accusations at Robert James and pass judgment on the International School of Gemology.
For those of you who failed to understand, combined effort, implies that several people were involved in the project.
That would obviously allow for a higher frequency of what I would consider to be rather minor errors. The site is after all a resource for beginners and amateurs to get a taste of the basics of gemology. It is not a definitive directory for experts the world over and does not claim to be one.
It clearly need mentioning that the site is about gemology, not geology. The level of chemical analysis is less in depth and testing measures are decidedly different. Gemologists do not have the luxury of destructive testing.
David Bradley, your comment about yourgemologist's fantastic efforts to expose companies is weak and baseless.
If you read the reports you would see they are based on facts and scientific evidence.
To imply that the links to his school appear to be a consumer service are laughable and insulting to the intelligence of other people reading this thread.
Robert did not whine when someone questioned him, he stood up in defense of something in which he believes and has dedicated a great deal of his time to.
Attacks were made specifically towards the ISG, which had no relevance to the actual complaints about yourgemologist.com and were therefore baseless.
The apparent arrogance of certain posters towards what is essentially a great gesture on Robert's part by providing information and more to the public is disturbing to say the least. Why not try and involve yourselves and help to make the site better instead of throwing stones out of your pretty glass houses?
Just for those who are conspiracy theorists, I am not involved in the ISG, but I admire Robert and his organization for what they have done for gemology worldwide. They have opened doors to so many who would otherwise never have a chance to enter the world of gemology. For that I believe he believes not only some respect, but also support. That some chose to go off on a tirade against him without having an inkling of the facts was very sad to see.
Gemmological Society of South Africa
African Gem Society
Ollie Hoopnagle April 08, 2007 03:17AMOdd... the only web presence I can find for "Gemmological Society of South Africa" and "African Gem Society" is web pages on the sites of YourGemmologist.com and International School of Gemology which states those two organizations endorse the ISG.
Do either of these organizations have websites so that we can see the quality of the research work they're involved with?
Jolyon & Katya Ralph April 08, 2007 02:49PMLuke
"David Bradley, your comment about yourgemologist's fantastic efforts to expose companies is weak and baseless. If you read the reports you would see they are based on facts and scientific evidence."
How is this different from our fantastic efforts to expose companies with bogus information on their websites, based on facts and scientific evidence?
ps. I think it would be in EVERYONE's interests to just let this thread come to a natural end, dragging it on here does NO-ONE any good.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/08/2007 02:50PM by Jolyon Ralph.
Anonymous User April 09, 2007 02:19PMLuke Charter Wrote:
> It seems that everyone here is ignoring the fact
> that the errors quoted are ALL from
> yourgemologist.com and NOT from the International
> School of Gemology.
Yet both sites are created and ran by Robert James.
Luke Charter Wrote:
>> Just for those who are conspiracy theorists, I am
> not involved in the ISG
But it's mentioned on yourgemologists site and the ISG site that the "Gemmological Society of South Africa" and "African Gem Society" organizations endorse the ISG. That is some type of involvement I'd say.
I get the feeling that "Luke Charter" is none other than Robert James.
Edited to add detail and correct a typo.
Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/2007 03:12PM by Gregg.
d. schlaefli April 09, 2007 03:07PMSorry Jolyon, couldn't resist, this is my last post, promised.
Luke Charter wrote:
"It seems that everyone here is ignoring the fact that the errors quoted are ALL from yourgemologist.com and NOT from the International School of Gemology."
There is a mineral page (www.yourgemologist.com/diopside.html) on yourgemologist where the ISG logo and header are used.
Should Jolyon wisely choose to close the thread, remember google caches pages for several month.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph May 01, 2007 01:31PMIt seems that even though I tried to close this thread, someone out there is determined to not let the subject die.
So. Apparently we have committed the heinous sin of not reporting that Turquoise can be TRANSPARENT. I'm not sure I can sleep tonight knowing that we have let this outrageous error slip through on the site.
ps. The thread is reopened
MRH May 01, 2007 02:46PMInfuriating! We are ALL are very aware of the characteristics of microxtls of "turquose". This is misrepresentation of the lowest order, and he knows it!
Rather than accepting the errors he made on his website and correct them, he instead takes this insignifcant instances, misrepresent it to make it look "germaine" to the subject (which it is not), and tries to make it look like he has proved US wrong, thus concluding WE can't be trusted.
This reminds me a lot of the Intellegent Design folks. As we in science regularly question our understandings, in hopes of being as acurate as possible, they (and like Robert it would seem) approach the subject with the notion of "infailability", the idea that their concepts need not face challenges nor should be questioned, and for that reason alone, they consider themselves MORE right than those who regularly "fact check" to be sure thet are not missing something.
My two cents.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2007 03:57PM by Chester S. Lemanski, Jr..
Chester S. Lemanski, Jr. May 01, 2007 02:57PMAGAIN! We have NOT criticized his school or its curiculum. Jolyon has been very careful to point that out. We have also pointed out that we DO make mistakes (both of commission and omission), that is why we have a "Mistakes & Errors" category in our forum. We correct mistakes on a daily basis despite the fact that our database is imminently larger than his. The point here initially was that the "mistakes" in the subject website were so egregious and the attitude to defend them so intense. Our contributors and users are dedicated to the science and the hobby to the point that they may become a bit appelplectic over mis-information, including ours!! Just read our "Mistakes and Errors" forum! Characteristic data presented on mineral species is the norm but sometimes includes the deviations as well. Transparency in turquoise is found only on the microscopic level in tiny crystals, which, macroscopically, appear translucent at best - a technicality? Yes, but they are right. We can and will correct this error just as we correct hundreds a month and thousands a year as they are brought to our attention, discovered by our own staff, or result from new information added to the science.
MRH May 01, 2007 03:34PMChester,
I always understood that general characteristic of mineral identicication was was just that "general". Perhaps it would be impractical to address ALL possible optical characteristics of every mineral, including thin-section, without intruducing more confusion, rather than less.
Just a thought.
PS: my apologies for the last line of my prevoius post, but it would seem the Gauntlet was thrown down by Robert, and I felt it this affront be answered. Feel free to edit the "disservice" statement out if you feel it was inappropriate here.
Alain van Acker FGA May 01, 2007 03:37PMHi,
As someone who has actually read the ISG course, I must say it contains many errors that are presented in such a simple way that you hardly notice they are wrong unless you start to think about it. Of course gemmology students with no background in science would never spot that.
Many of the FGA and GIA people he refers to have stepped away from him over a year ago.
I will not make inflamatory remarks on Robert James's character as that would result in a soap. Enough to state we are not the best of friends.
Him taking the "high road" as he claims on his forum and playing the victim is not entirly the truth; if he dislikes you, you'll suffer his wrath (google for Fred Cuellar and him) or just read here.
It is true that (in general) gemmologists are not much bothered with science but are more pragmatic, but there is some basic science involved that needs to be understood. Luckely there are many gemmologists out there that do groundbreaking research in our field and luckely for us they do have an interest in science.
Concerning the slowing down of light as the cause of luminescence, a simple night's sleep should render that impossible.
Aside from the fact that the speed of light is not changed atall (it is just absorbed and re-emitted which has a net result of slowing down), UV light travels at a lower velocity than blue light and blue light has a slower velocity than red light.
One can easily calculate that with frequency = V over Î». The frequency doesn't chance, so if V (for velocity) is slower then lamda (the wavelength) must also go down. So if you take a light wave with a wavelength of 400nm and slow its velocity down by half, you would get a shorter wavelength of 200nm.
If I follow James's his logic, the fluorescence should be due to a speeding UP of light (which we know is also wrong).
When you look at a prism which produces dispersion, the red light is bend less because it travels at a higher velocity inside the medium.
I was banned from his forum a few years ago for bad behaviour and recently asked him if I could get back in to comment here and there and he would put it before his student council (whomever they might be) to let me back in. Still no word on that.
The problem is that he doesn't take critisism very well and he presents himself as the best school in the world. He is basically a one-man show and every critic or hint that he might be wrong is punished immediately.
Another thing to read is his page on the refractometer. He claims a lot of things, like the light is refracted by the stone and more silly statements. There is no mention anywhere about total internal reflection, which is what a gemmological refractometer makes use of (hence the name "total internal reflection refractometer").
I'm sure James' will respond to this with the emphazise on my character, but so be it.
Finally I want to take the oppertunity to shamelessly plug a new project that we are working on: The Gemology Project ( gemologyproject.com ).
It's a closed wiki, but I invite everyone to please go over our mistakes (which I'm sure are more than plenty) and correct them through the "submission" links. If you want to become an editor, contact me and you will get an account (unless your initials are RJ).
You would make me very happy (I hope you read this Peter Nancarrow).
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2007 04:08PM by Alain van Acker FGA.
Alan Plante May 01, 2007 05:03PMI think that the fact that most non-metallic minerals are transparent in thin enough pieces makes it impractical to report this for every species it is true about.
Sounds like the guy is a *very* immature and insecure person who simply can't handle criticism. I don't feel it is worth chasing him around the intermess to try to set him straight - with someone like that, it can't be done...
d. schlaefli May 01, 2007 05:07PMI like his 6-step error correcting process. Sounds like "show respect, do all of my work, and keep quiet about it". But why would anyone choose to follow it? To benefit from reciprocity? What if a cursory evaluation of the situation reveals that a future collaboration is unlikely to be mutually beneficial?
David Von Bargen May 01, 2007 05:32PMEven metals can be transparent if thin enough. The "aura quartz" is quartz that has a thin coating of gold on it (and you can see through it). And things will become opaque if they are thick enough (even optical grade glass has some attenuation of light going through it).
Alain van Acker FGA May 01, 2007 06:06PMHi all,
He is running a school and so is responsible for getting his facts straight. Nothing much else to it.
He should be so lucky that the people here evaluated his site so he can hand out better information. His students are a lawsuite waiting to happen.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2007 06:12PM by Alain van Acker FGA.
Robert James May 01, 2007 09:22PMAlain,
Regarding your statement: Many of the FGA and GIA people he refers to have stepped away from him over a year ago.
It was actually only 5 people who left because we kicked you out. And it was you and your cohorts who continually posted improper sexual innuendo and banter on the YourGemologist forums after repeated requests to stop your antics. And we had to close the board for a few days just to rid ourselves of you.
And afterward, you did indeed threaten to post up the ISG course notes on your own website if I did not pay you money.
And even today there is proprietary YourGemologist information on your website that you stole from YourGemologist when we kicked you off.
And now days, you go about posting up nasty things about the ISG to fulfill your threats 2 years ago to damage us in any way you could find possible.
You have done the same thing on other website forums boards in the past. These people here simply don't know you or have the years of experience with you that we do.?
I have no doubt that you are the person who started this thread. You are keenly smart when it comes to computer technology. And I am sure that you will start others.
The only difference now is that we are going to fight back against your antics and hateful vengence. And every forums that posts up your venomous rhetoric without a fair hearing for the ISG will be published in our YourGemologist forums, to let people know exactly what is going on when they stumble across these postings of yours.
Alain, you threatened to harm us 2 years ago by doing anything you could do to damage us. And you have jumped from one forums board to another posting under secret names, making every false and malicious accusation you could make just to fulfill your threat. And I am tired of it.
What no one here has bothered to answer is that we have many GIA students who have studied with us and use our course notes to take their GIA courses because ours are more indepth yet easier to understand.
Why did you not mention that, Alain?
And GIA students report that they did not understand many of the concepts of gemological properties until they read our ISG course notes and viewed our DVD Lectures.
Why did you not mention that, Alain?
And we have had our students pass the FGA and FGA(Canada) With Distinction, and give the ISG credit for helping achieve this distinction.
Why did you not mention that, Alain?
The ISG gemology program is one of the best in the business, and at a cost that allows more people to participate than ever before.
Anyone want to say something about that, have the guts to pick up the phone and talk to me person to person. 210.877.5816.
Seriously. If you have something to say, say it to me in person. I'm tired of these hide and seek shots at a good organization being made by Alain van Acker whose purpose is blind raging vengenge for our having tried to rid ourselves of him.
Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2007 09:40PM by Robert James.
Alan Plante May 01, 2007 09:25PMHi Dominik
Your post prompted me to have a look at the site via Jolyon's hot link.
It sure sounds like the main rule is "Don't embarass me by pointing out that I'm wrong."
I also noticed that there is no way to respond to the post without signing up. I wonder if anyone who frequents Mindat would be allowed admission to the club?
Robert James May 01, 2007 09:36PMAlan Plante Wrote:
> Hi Dominik
> It sure sounds like the main rule is "Don't
> embarass me by pointing out that I'm wrong."
Actually Alan, the concept is: Be professional in dealing with others.
And I do not go to other people's forums and invite them to mine. As I do not want them to do the same to me. Part of that professional respect I was talking about.
If you would like to come experience a little professional respect, and are willing to give it as well as receive it, the door is always open to anyone who comes to us with that understanding.
The rest is up to you.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2007 09:37PM by Robert James.
Alain van Acker FGA May 01, 2007 09:49PMDear Robert,
You did solicitate people to join you.
Since you are in a generous mood, please give me an account so I can reply on your forum.
Mindat is very professional in the way that they let you comment here, how about some courtesy back?
Jolyon & Katya Ralph May 01, 2007 10:08PMI know who "Ollie Hoopnagle" is. And it's not Alain (nor is it myself nor any member of the Mindat management team).
I don't see any reason why any of us should bother to join and comment on the forums at the Yourgemologist site - I prefer to reply here than to send unnecessary traffic to his forums.
Robert James May 01, 2007 10:09PMTake your pick. I'm just waiting to see what forums board you jump to from here.
I took down our thread on this issue. After confirming that it was indeed you at the bottom of all of this, I have no desire to continue any ill will between YourGemologist and Mindat.
I guess you can cut another notch on your belt. Let's see, it was YourGemologist Forums, Gemology Online Forums, Diamond Talk Forums, Mindat Forums.....where shall we continue this little te' ta te' of yours, Alain?
You lead the way. Someone will let me know where you have landed next.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph May 01, 2007 10:15PMI have no desire to let this carry on more than it needs to.
Robert, I was disappointed that you dragged this up again with a pointless attack on mindat on your site, but I am glad that you have removed the message and I will now, again, lock this thread and hope this is really the end of the matter.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph May 02, 2007 10:07PMSigh... and this thread is re-opened again.
Robert has a problem with us. He threatened me last night by saying that if I didn't delete this thread he'd re-open a thread on his message board criticising Mindat.
I told him that, unlike him, I'm perfectly happy to receive criticism about the site - and UNLIKE HIM I don't react in a crazy manner when people say this site is no good (and people have).
So - tell me who is being unreasonable here. Are we? I've left EVERY message that Robert has posted in this thread unaltered, I have given Robert every opportunity to respond to the allegations that we raised about the quality of his online materials.
He seems to believe that if you publish information into the public domain you should not expect public criticism if you get your facts wrong. That's plain wrong. If you're out there telling the world you are an expert on the subject, and especially if you are taking money for this, then you should be prepared to defend yourself IN PUBLIC if you are wrong.
So I told Robert in no uncertain terms that I wasn't prepared to give in to his threats and I have been waiting all day for his revenge. And here it is:
I must admit I was expecting a little bit more of an intelligent attack, but I suppose when you run out of facts to support yourself then personal attacks are all you have left.
I could at this point get angry and make it my mission to ensure everyone involved in the International School of Gemology and the YourGemology website reads this thread and finds out what has happend, but I have no interest in being vindictive or looking for revenge. Robert's comments are so laughable that there's hardly any point trying to reply in any kind of sane way. I'm sure that it will backfire for him as more of his students read that message and come looking here to see what's going on.
Alain van Acker FGA May 02, 2007 10:28PMHi,
I think that was uncalled for. If you need professional help on topics that puzzle you, come here and they will help you with it.
Jolyon does understand the true meaning of open community.
p.s.: James deleted the post again, you can read it at http://yey.be/ISG/ISG_Mindat.php
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/02/2007 10:53PM by Alain van Acker FGA.
Barry Flannery May 02, 2007 10:35PMI guess that I fall under the ''Wannabe standing behind an old fart'' category so he has personally attacked me and pretty much every other wannabe and old fart we have on MinDat...!
I personally will back you on any retaliation that you might see fit Jolyon if you feel it is merited.
I would not be too angry if Robert had called me a ''wannabee'' but the fact that he said it about everyone on MinDat some of which are the worlds leading scientists in their respective fields truly hurts me.
P.S. Alain, didn't Robert accuse you about using inuendo or sexual comments on the forum? Robert does not seem to be too afraid of doing the same...! Such a hypocritic fool...!
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/02/2007 10:45PM by Barry Flannery.
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Copyright © mindat.org and the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy 1993-2018, except where stated. Mindat.org relies on the contributions of thousands of members and supporters.