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“Since I was a child I was always fascinated by gems, I would sit and watch my mom and other girls work. To this day, my love for the job has not changed.”By Rabindra Rooplall“Every diamond is unique. Each reflects the story of its arduous journey from deep inside the earth to a cherished object of adornment. A diamond is a testament of endurance and strength and the ultimate symbol of love.”There are not many persons who could give you a better feel for diamonds than the person who made the aforementioned assertion, Gemologist Deborah Phillipe-Archer.But it’s not just her love of diamonds that has positioned her as a respected name in the field. In her three decades of work, she has assisted untold persons from being duped into buying imitations of the precious mineral known famously as “a girl’s best friend”, the diamond.Indeed, diamonds are Deborah’s best friend, and it was her Mom’s too.A second generation gemologist following in her mother’s footsteps, Deborah Phillipe was born in Georgetown. She attended St Angela’s Primary and later graduated from St Joseph High School. She left Guyana at the age of 18 to attend the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in California, USA, to follow her dream of becoming a gemologist. She graduated with a Diploma in Jewellery Arts in 1981. However, she did not explore a jewellery designing career until 2002.Studying was not a task she could take lightly.“My dad was a no-nonsense man, so I didn’t get breaks between my courses at the GIA. He knew the principal,NFL Jerseys Cheap, since my mom had also attended the same institution,” she recalled.Once she had completed the Jewellery Arts programme, she wanted to move on, but there was no space available in the gemology course, so she enrolled in Gem Cutting instead, and later received a certificate in Diamond Grading.“I was a natural, and totally enjoyed that programme. Since I was the only female in the class, I was usually given the prettiest stones to cut,” she said with a bright smile.Every diamond is unique! Deborah spends a lot of time grading the precious stonesTwo weeks into the coloured stones phase of the programme, her father,China Soccer Jerseys, Anthony Phillipe passed away and she returned to Guyana for his funeral.“Upon my return to California I had to wait on a new programme to start, so I tried two weeks of Hand Engraving, but I’m out of tune with that at present.”With determination as hard as the diamonds she grades, Deborah continued Gemology with another batch of students and graduated with a Diploma, gaining the title of Graduate Gemologist (GG) on October 22, 1982. In 2001 she upgraded herself in Advanced Diamonds and Synthetic Diamonds.“From time to time while on holidays I spent time doing labs (grading diamonds) at the GIA or at a friend’s business to keep up with the fast-moving technology of the jewellery industry. Back in Guyana after my studies, I first landed a job, not in gemology, but in screen printing, with Brian Gittens and Beverley Harper, my mentors. Thereafter, I began my career in gemology in earnest, with Enachu Diamond Traders, under the watchful eyes of my mother, Waveney Phillipe. She had more confidence in me than I had in myself.”It didn’t take too long for Deborah to prove that all that studying actually stuck.“One time a known customer from Berbice came in with what looked like a 3-carat polished stone and placed it in my hand. I thought I was being tested since the stone was not a diamond but a cubic zirconia (CZ). So I blurted out CZ. My mother told me, sternly, to go with the customer and check it. I would have been embarrassed if I was incorrect.”But she was not. It turned out that the stone was indeed a cubic zirconia.“The poor customer almost fainted. It was the ‘80s and CZs were the latest lookalike diamond substitute on the market. It was new to Guyana,Wholesale Jerseys, but during my Gem Cutting course I had to practice on CZs so I was familiar with them.”She said presently fraudsters do not use CZs to fool persons, but a rear mineral, Moissanite. However, a simple magnifier will show doubling which will reveal that they are not diamonds.Lion Phillipe-Archer (at right) performing her civic duty“I try to keep myself updated by newsletters on new methods of Colour and Clarity Enhancing Treatments and how they are detected. The biggest challenge is the new Synthetic Colourless Diamond (SCD). Sale of SCDs is available to customers via the internet. SCDs are priced at about 25% below the cost of a natural diamond and are mostly set and marketed in wedding jewellery.”Her future in relation to Gemology is to expand it into education. Ms. Phillipe-Archer noted that she will soon be conducting seminars on diamonds and coloured stones for both the general public and jewellers. These seminars will not feature grading of stones but will focus on making the consumer more aware of what is available on the market and what questions to ask when buying diamonds and coloured stones.“I have put together videos and a booklet on how synthetic stones are made and how the industry enhances diamonds to make them more appealing to the buyer.”Drawing on her 30 years in the field, the gemologist decided to share some of her knowledge. She said the key to a diamond’s value is its rarity, and no two diamonds are alike.“Rarity is determined by a diamond’s unique characteristics as measured by the 4Cs: cut, color, clarity and carat weight.”Highlighting that the size of the diamond does not always mean it’s more valuable, she said using the 4Cs, a small diamond of exceptional quality will likely be more valuable than a larger diamond of lower quality.Diamond colours vary as those of the rainbow, and our ‘special person’ emphasised to me that diamond is the hardest of all known natural substances, and has adamantine lustre. Diamond form in the cubic, or isometric, crystal system, has four directions of perfect octahedral cleavage, and shows a step-like fracture surface. Its colour ranges from colorless to yellow, brown, gray, orange, green, blue, white, black, purple, pink- and (extremely rarely) red.Deborah explained that synthetic diamonds are generally produced using one of two methods. One method uses high pressure and high temperature (HPHT), and the other uses chemical vapour deposition (CVD). She said diamonds and other gemstones are weighed in metric carats: one carat is equal to 0.2 grams, about the same weight as a paperclip.She further pointed out that diamonds are weighed with an electronic micro-balance that captures their weight to the fifth decimal place. An optical measuring device determines their proportions, measurements, and facet angles.Underscoring a technique used,China Jerseys Free Shipping, she said enhancement is any artificial process that alters the appearance, especially the colour or clarity, of a natural diamond or other gem material. Coating, fracture filling, irradiation, heating and lasering are all forms of enhancement. Enhancement can also be referred to as “treatment.” Selling enhanced diamonds and gemstones is an accepted practice in the gem and jewellery industry, provided the enhancement is disclosed prior to sale.In some cases, she noted, a gemologist can tell what gemstone is before him/her by looking at it, but this may not always be possible. Two different gemstones such as blue topaz and aquamarine may look nearly identical. This means that gemologists are often required to perform a series of tests to determine the true identity of a gemstone. Usually one test is only enough to provide indicators but insufficient for complete identification.“Since I was a child I was always fascinated by gems, I would sit and watch my mom and other girls work. To this day my love for the job has not changed.”Noting that the largest diamond she ever saw physically – a 22 carat stone – was one her mom dealt with, however, she had personal experience with a 15-carat diamond that a miner brought out of the interior. She recounted that the man had visited her to confirm if it was indeed a diamond, since it was in its raw state.“I am confident that many gold miners don’t have an idea of the amount of diamonds they discard of while searching for gold. They are going into mining and have no idea what a diamond looks like; some of them are mining gold areas and throwing away the diamonds. The governing bodies need to educate them,” she noted.Explaining that many testers are being bought to test stones, Deborah said the tester should not be used for raw diamonds but polished diamonds, because a tester can only work effectively when the diamond has a clean and shiny surface.Giving a further tip to persons interested in purchasing diamonds, she said they should never hit the diamond with any object to prove that its original, since it can also split or flake if this is done,Cheap Hockey Jerseys, thus diminishing the value of the gem.“The same way wood has grains and if you hit it at certain points it can split, diamonds also have grains that when placed under intense pressure can shatter.”Sending a warning to persons seeking to purchase diamonds, she stressed “while most people are honest, there are those who aren’t and it’s up to buyers to beware. I think one of the reasons I have been so successful is that I am so honest. I give honest opinions on pieces of jewellery.”Noting that they are the best conductors in electronic items, she said that diamonds will always have a great demand in all spheres of life.The gemologist is a mother to many, but her lone biological daughter, Alex Archer, is her heartbeat. She is currently attending university in Canada.Though her life has been primarily about gemology, Deborah is quite active in social circles. As Third Vice President of the Lions Club of Georgetown, Durban Park, she is closely associated with children’s development especially through various programmes offered by the organization.“We have reading programmes, with a library, we are involved in the distribution of spectacles. We also do life skills programmes with teenagers. All the children in the Ruimveldt and schools in the area are given an opportunity to be a part of developmental programmes.”Her joy for children’s improvement has made her even more committed to the task of making one child at a time, more knowledgeable and healthy.“There is a personal joy that comes with helping people educate themselves…there is also a programme to help children with a low blood count, and if they are not eating properly, especially females, we help them with vitamins to stay focused,CHeap NFL Jerseys China, particularly during exams. We also tangibly support the elderly.”Apart from that, Deborah is the Treasurer of the Guyana Women’s Artists Association, a member and Chartered Secretary of the Guyana National Association of Goldsmiths and Jewellers, has been an official of the Guyana Motor Racing and Sports Club on race days, was a past member of the Guyana National Hockey Board, the Georgetown Cricket Club and she has also been associated with women’s cricket.
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