SOCGEMS Monthly Meetings are held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, at 7:00 pm PST.


Wednesday, 21 April 2021, at 7:00 pm PDT

The South Orange County Gem and Mineral Society is proud to welcome Al Gilbertson


Al Gilbertson was raised in the lapidary (gem-cutting) business, his folks operating a rock shop and jewelry store in Tehachapi, Ca.  Al later provided custom gem-cutting (faceting) for McDonald Jewelers in Fresno, CA (1976-1984). His work eventually led him to become their manager while completing the coursework at GIA to become a GG and an American Gem Society Certified Gemologist (1979).

Al and his wife eventually moved to Oregon, where they operated an appraisal service (Gem Profiles), serving over 50 specialty and high-end jewelers in the Pacific Northwest ranging from northern Washington to southern Oregon.

Al had a strong interest in cut quality evaluation of diamonds and was a part of the American Gem Society Cut Task Force member (to work towards a cut grading system for round and fancy shape diamonds), ’98-’00. His patents (US6795171, US6665058) about utilizing a particular colored lighting system to analyze cut quality were acquired by the American Gem Society and are the foundation of their ASET technology for cut grading of diamonds.

With his strong background in cut evaluation, GIA hired Al in 2000 to be part of GIA’s team researching diamond cut evaluation. Al is one of GIA’s researchers that created GIA’s cut grading system for the round brilliant and is listed on several GIA patents for the cut grading system as one of the inventors. During his tenure at GIA, Al has written several articles related to the cut quality evaluation of colored stones (non-diamond) and co-authored many articles about the cut evaluation of diamonds. He has lectured in many forums about cut quality evaluation, even teaching classes related to understanding GIA’s cut grading system. Al is currently studying the influence of proportions and other factors on the appearance of fancy shape diamonds, working towards a cut grading system for fancy-shaped diamonds.  Recently he is one of the creators of GIA’s new Jewelry Forensics class.

When he was an appraiser, Al had a concern about the correct terminology.  His long-standing absorption in understanding what he was appraising led him to be concerned about how older style cut diamonds were classified and documented.  When he joined GIA, part of his work involved investigating previous research and concepts about supposedly “well-cut diamonds.”  As he dug into this history, he was surprised by some of what he found, which led him to question much of his personal understanding about how the American Cut or Ideal Cut had evolved. He continued his research into the history well beyond that which was required for his GIA project and wrote a book American Cut —The First 100 Years.