Busting the Myth Buster Jeffery Bergman

On June 25th I wrote an article titled: The Gobsmacked Gang Rides Again, regarding renewed attacks on the International School of Gemology by Jeffery Bergman of the International Gem Society. Immediately after this was published I received a large amount of responses from gem dealers around the world who had also been victim of Bergman’s internet bullying. It seems that Bergman has set up his own cyber-attack persona that he has created for himself as some kind of “Myth Buster”.

In each case, Bergman takes a portion of what someone says or offers and uses just that portion to attack the publication, using himself as the sole authority and source of information. When his antics are exposed or a dealer calls him to task for his nasty methods, Bergman runs and hides behind the skirts of Antoinette Matlins at the Accredited Gemologist Association like a small child crying “help me mama, those mean boys are picking on me”.  

Jeffery Bergman has done great harm to many people  in this industry and done so hiding behind the falsified credentials of the International Gem Society.

It is time to Expose the Myth Behind the Myth Buster.

Last week on the Jewelers Helping Jewelers Facebook Group, someone posted up a question about Montana Sapphires, and heat treatments. As part of my ongoing effort to help with these kinds of questions, I posted a spectrum photograph of one of the many Montana Sapphires we have in our office. Montana Sapphires are well known for not being heat treatment, and the parcel we have I know is not heated because I got them direct from one of the mine owners. The presence of the 450nm absorption area is classic for Montana Sapphires. Also, the heating of these and other sapphires tends to make those absorption areas fade significantly to the point that it is hard to see or missing totally. Therefore, if the person asking the question believed they had an unheated Montana Sapphire, that 450nm absorption area would at least be an indicator, a place to start looking.

I never said the 450nm absorption was an indicator of Montana origin. I never said it was diagnostic to prove heating. I said it was an indicator of not being heated, and the Montana sapphires were generally not heated. I posted a spectrum photo of the Montana sapphire for reference.

That spectrum I posted is below. Below that is the attack Bergman made on my comments on another Facebook group on which I am not a member. He does that, hides like a snake in the grass then attacks in places not expected.

Part of our study group of Montana Sapphires is above. The spectrum I posted in the Facebook group is below.

Here is Bergman’s Post:

“So, an absorption line at about 450nm is NOT an indicator of unheated sapphire and CERTAINLY NOT an indicator of Montana….There is really no excuse in our modern era of instant information access for gross mis-information to be spread by any gemologist, let alone one who is paid to teach!!” -feeling shocked (Jeffery Bergman)

As usual Bergman offered no evidence of his own, just the results of a Google search for articles, all but one of which did not even mention the topic at issue. But this is how Bergman works, attack without evidence, put up enough smoke and mirrors to fool the crowds, then claim victory as the Myth Buster.

Well, I do not work like that. I use scientific evidence that will support my points, as well as my own research documented from my own gem lab. Same applies here.  I will even use one of those articles that Bergman used as a resource, but apparently did not bother to read.

First, I turn to Kurt Nassau regarding heat treatment of sapphires in his article:

Heat Treating Ruby and Sapphire: Technical Aspects, Kurt Nassau, GIA Gems and Gemology, Fall 1981.

“…identifying characteristics include chalky green fluorescence, no iron line at 4500A (450nm)…

So, we start with this article from a world renown gemologist identifying the lack of the 450nm iron line as a characteristic of heat treating. Let us move to one of the most widely read reports.

This report, also from Gems and Gemology, Winter 1993, is very specific about this issue.

 

Heat Treating the Sapphires of Rock Creek, Montana, John. L. Emmett and Troy Douthit, Gems and Gemology, Winter 1993.

“The spectra show the absorption characteristics before (A) and after (B) heat treatment….The stone became blue because heat treatment substantially increased the absorption in the yellow and red region of the spectrum, while it substantially reduced the absorption of the violet, blue and green regions. (bold is mine)

At left you see the actual absorption image listed in the above passage.

The heating of the Montana sapphire made the 450nm absorption area “substantially reduced”, which is what I stated in my post that Bergman attacked. Perhaps Bergman should have spent some time reading his own source and less time perfecting his P.T. Barnum act.

Conclusion

Jeffery Bergman is a classic playground bully who thinks he makes himself look tough by taking cheap, blind-side shots at other kids on the playground. He is a bully without any gemological credentials.

WAIT! You say? He has credentials! Well, he has done his P.T. Barnum act for you there also. Below is his picture and bio lead from his Academia.edu profile. Here is what it says in the bio:

“His formal gemmological training was accomplished at SSEF, the prestigious Swiss Gemmological Institute in Basel, Switzerland where he successfully completed his Basic, Diamonds, Pearls, Advanced & Scientific Gemmology courses qualifying him as an SSEF SGC.”

Academia.edu/BergmanJeffery

From this description it sounds like Bergman has completed a lot of courses in things like diamonds, pearls, and other advanced gemology courses. I must highlight the word in his bio description: “courses” to earn the title: SSEEF SGC. But let us go to the SSEF and find out what those initials actually mean.

SSEF

The Swiss Gemological Institute’s SSEF Education Department is a well respected education organization that offers courses ranging from 2 to 10 days in specific topics. No gemology diplomas like the Graduate Gemologist, Registered Gemologist or Fellow of the Gem-A. Daily courses. Specific to Bergman’s claimed gemological credentials, here is the course he took:

 Scientific Gemmology Course (SGC): Intense one-week course in scientific gemmology… Each participant of this international course will receive the SSEF Scientific Gemmology Certificate.

Wait, I thought Bergman was claiming the SSEF SGC as some kind of gemological title, requiring multiple gemological courses. But this is a one week course in advanced testing, and Bergman has inflated that into a full gemological diploma. P.T. Barnum would be proud of Bergman!

This is getting tedious, but it follows that Bergman is working with the International Gem Society, whose founder and author of their courses also faked his credentials.

It is frustrating that this industry has no legal oversight like the American Bar Association or the State Insurance Commissioner. We could file a formal ethics complaint against Bergman for his bad faith dealings throughout the industry. But we do not have that. We have anarchy in this industry when it comes to things of this nature.

No wait……we also have all of you out there reading this and your common sense. Common sense says that guys like Bergman are just bullies on a playground with no teacher in sight.

Eventually, the other kids getting bullied get tired of it and fight back. Then, the cowardice of the bully surfaces and they run away.

Jeffery Bergman is a bully of the gemstone industry. He uses half-truths and fake information to attack other dealers and members of the industry to make himself look like the tough guy.

In truth, his credentials have been over-blown, his research non-existent, and his readiness to attack others with cheap shots rampant.

Please remember that when you read somewhere that the Myth Buster has busted another myth.

In reality, the bully has simply found another he thinks he can intimidate. Do not let yourself be a victim of this guy.

Robert James FGA, GG
International School of Gemology
Global Claims Associates