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Pearls of Wisdom : Antoinette Matlins

In our latest edition of Pearls of Wisdom, David interviews Antoinette Matlins.

Antoinette Matlins is the daughter of Antonio Bonanno (Founder of the AGA – the international Accredited Gemologists Association) and is an internationally respected gemologist, author, lecturer and educator. She was the first to offer consumer advice on a major TV network (in 1984 on “The Today Show” in the USA) and has subsequently been seen on many international television venues, including CNN, BBC, CNBC, as well as major magazines and newspapers.

Gemology Editor for National Jeweler for almost a decade in the 1990s, she has written 7 highly acclaimed books on gems and jewelry, including Jewelry & Gems: The Buying Guide (now in its seventh edition) which was the first-ever written for a layperson. However, it was her book Gem Identification Made Easy — which received one of the publishing world’s highest awards, the “Benjamin Franklin Award” for Best ‘How To’ Book –that proved to be her most important contribution to the field of gemology.

Ignoring the advice of everyone at the time, Matlins did not believe that people had to “know it ALL” in order to know more than they knew before, arming them with needed skills to spot common fakes and early synthetics, and perhaps most important, to understand the importance of gemological expertise and to recognize when they needed to seek additional expertise to know with certainty, and thus, avoid costly mistakes.

Her writing career began when with a series of articles for National Jeweler magazine, which led to a unique series of hands-on workshops in Tucson, which provided the catalyst for Gem Identification Made Easy, the first practical, easy-to-understand book stressing the value of simple, portable, inexpensive tools. In it, she showed readers how to use them properly, listed what to look for gem-by-gem, and stressed when they needed to seek greater expertise. More importantly, however, this book led many to value the importance of gemology, along with the important role that skilled gemologists played in the larger gem and jewelry world, which encouraged some of today’s most highly respected gemologists to pursue a gemological journey.

Her focus has always been on making “gemology” a practical tool and making it accessible to more people such as collectors, connoisseurs, hobbyists, and retailers, and even experienced gemologists who found it contained practical tips and techniques they had not learned elsewhere. Altogether, over one million copies of her books have been purchased, in 9 languages.

In addition, Matlins has an unsurpassed record for translating complex material into practical, useful hands-on training workshops and customized training for consumers, retailers and trade organizations. She also provides consulting services ranging from counsel on mining and distribution, to manufacturing, marketing, advertising and promotion. A former Vice President at one of New York’s “Top 10” advertising agencies, Matlins’ extensive consumer marketing, advertising, and PR experience, combined with her about gems and the gem and jewelry trade, have made her an asset to management teams in the gem field internationally and domestically.

Matlins was also presented with the Antonio C Bonanno Award For Excellence in Gemology in 2005, awarded by the AGA.