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Beyond business


By Rachel McArthur

I am…

Name: Jack Ogden

Age: 60

Nationality: British

Job: Chief Executive, Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A)

You're also a jewellery historian. How did you get into the profession? As a kid I wanted to be an archaeologist, but was born into a jewellery family. The net result was a passion for ancient and early jewellery. Essentially, I am self-taught: Obsession plus a microscope are great teachers.

Tell us more about your involvement with the World Pearl Forum, which was held in Dubai recently. I think it is the combination of my international jewellery industry experience and historical interests that brought me to the forum – so that I could say something about pearls and the challenges in the pearl market over the years.

Are pearls still a good investment? Until the start of the credit crunch, natural pearls rose in price significantly. The limited supply of natural pearls means that they are likely to increase again when the international financial situation improves, but that is a rarefied, collectors' market. Cultured pearls are far more readily available, and thus affordable.

Apart from pearls, what other gems are your favourites? I wish I knew as I often change my mind. Normally I'd say a fine ruby or sapphire, but then I have the privilege of seeing a great spessartine garnet, for example, with its extraordinary orangy-yellow colour, and my choice wavers. I suppose if I had to choose just one gem, I'd say a fine blue sapphire of the cornflower blue colour characteristic of the mines in Kashmir.

Is it true that certain gems suit certain personalities, or is that just clever marketing? Personally, I don't believe there is any connection on some sort of metaphysical level, but I do think certain colours and thus certain gems appeal to certain types of personalities. Marketing comes in to it too. Everything a person owns and uses, from clothing to cookbooks, will reflect their personality. Gems just seem to do it so well. Pearls are especially interesting with their natural simplicity.

I'm watching...

1) Mongol

2) The Lord of the Rings trilogy

3) The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

4) Lawrence of Arabia

5) Casablanca

I'm reading…

Various publications Recent books that I have enjoyed reading include The Beckoning Silence, pictured, by Joe Simpson, as well as Conn Iggulden's Lords of the Bow. As for magazines, the only one I read regularly is The Economist.