The Ongoing and Critical Need for Laboratory Identification

It goes without saying that we are in a rapidly increasing technological era. Our capabilities in the broad world of science increase exponentially each year in fascinating ways. The gem and jewelry industry certainly is not left orphaned in that world of development. In the past couple of decades, our trade has witnessed the progression of imitations more closely relating to their natural counterpart, highly advanced synthetic diamonds and colored stones, and an abundance of treatments that have left even the most shrewd Gemologists scratching their heads in confusion.

As the market continues to be flooded with these cloaked gemstones, the critical need for laboratories with sophisticated equipment and advanced training of these instruments becomes more crucial than ever. The time has long passed where one can simply identify these treatments or synthetic gemstones by their appearance alone; however, with the development in science which has allowed these treatments and synthetics to go unnoticed for a short period of time, those same advancements are now allowing Gemologists to widen the methods for detection to further protect the consumer and trade industry. It comes as no surprise that these gemstones are hitting the market with an intense momentum, but what is increasingly disturbing is where these gems are actually coming into the market from, not to mention with little or any disclosure of their true nature. Research is indicating that a good portion of the synthetics hitting the streets are actually coming directly from overseas suppliers and in some cases, natural and synthetics are being mixed within the same parcels.

This poses an interesting question: Who exactly is responsible for the disclosure of said treatments and synthetics? The short answer is, everyone within the gemstone and jewelry industry. We all share an equal responsibility to ensure that the consumer market simply receives what is represented to them. Our industry will never overcome consumer hesitations and questionable business practices if we all don’t take a small shred of accountability for what is being bought and sold, whether it be from the second hand market, wholesale dealers, or the retail sector. Until the gemstone in question has been authenticated and tested by a reputable lab, and represented with proper documentation, everyone within the pipeline is essentially responsible to raise questions and continue to insist on proper accreditations. Quite simply, 47th Street University is no longer a valid form of education in the identification of the most sophisticated synthetic & treated gemstones our industry has ever seen; meaning, a lab gemologist with proper training and ongoing education is the only way to accurately identify the true nature of what is being bought and sold.