The movies are full of scenarios where a character finds (or steals) a treasure trove of gemstones, then takes them to an ‘expert’ to be verified as the real things. But that’s not how it works in real life. In the real world, people take their gemstones to a gemstone testing laboratory to have their gems tested scientifically.
But these gemstone testing laboratories don’t just verify whether your gemstones are real or not. The world of gemstones testing is a very exacting one. These laboratories focus on three main areas in testing gemstones for authenticity.
Determination of Origin
Gemstone testing is so exacting that they can determine what region of the world your gem was mined and whether it was from a known mine or a new and previously unknown mine.
This knowledge can be used by traders in assessing the value of a gemstone, as stones from certain areas of the world can be rarer than others. Knowing exactly where your gemstone was mined and having the scientific proof to back it up can increase its value when it comes time to sell your gemstone.
Color Grading and Branding
Another facet of gemstones that can affect their value on the market is the coloring of the gemstones. But rare “pigeon’s blood” and “royal blue” colors aren’t something that can be determined just by looking at a gemstone, no how practiced the ‘expert’ is.
While the terms used to describe colors in the gemstone industry are historically colorful themselves, they each apply to a certain measurable degree of the color spectrum. A gemstone testing laboratory subjects the gemstone to a test to determine that exact degree. They can confirm the degree of color exactly and determine whether it’s accurate to use the term in describing the gemstone’s color.
Treatment Identification and Classification
The analytical methods employed by the gemstone testing laboratory can determine gemstone imitations and synthetics, which are what most private collectors and small traders use them for.
But they can also determine and identify the use of new and old gem treatments to improve the clarity and look of the gemstone. These treatments have become accepted by many in the industry as a valid way to improve the look as well as the value of gemstones.
But when a gemstone is advertised as something it is not, a problem arises as to the stone’s true heritage and value. A gemstone testing laboratory has the means to quickly determine whether a gemstone has undergone treatment that undermines how it’s being represented.
This is crucial in determining accurate historical data for museum collections. The data of the gemstone testing laboratory can rewrite history and determine the lineage of valuable historical pieces.
For the gemstones in your collection, receiving certified documents ascertaining the composition of your gems can help you in insuring them and selling them. Having your gemstones tested by a reputable gemstone testing laboratory is something everyone should have done as soon as possible.