The world of gemstone trade is fascinating for a number of reasons. On one hand, it’s a colorful industry full of interesting people with unique and peculiar backstories, while on the other, it has a nasty reputation for unethical business practices and shady dealings. For such high-value items such as gemstones, you always need to remember that the industry has a history with forgery and lying. For this reason, it’s important to always have gemstones examined by an independent gemological laboratory before you buy.
Independent gemological laboratories came about for the very reason that they are used today. For many decades, the gem trade was governed by power and perceived trust. With no systems in check, a few companies began running the industry and lording power of anyone who tried to capitalize on it as well. They feared competition and snuffed it out, sometimes through unsavory methods.
Fraud and forgery were two such methods that saw fake or mislabeled stones infiltrate the market. Novice traders without a trained eye would fall victim to traps and forgeries, losing incredible amounts of money with little consequence to the perpetrator. In response, independent gemologists created laboratories where gems were studied and professionally graded, free from bias or influence.
Independent Parties Can be Trusted
Gemstones are highly unusual natural fragments of the Earth. Formed under incredible pressure and temperature, gemstones are the product of hundreds of years of formation, where the smallest influence can change the structure and quality of the stone. For example, both ruby and sapphire are the mineral corundum, but something as simple as color affects what type of stone it is and how much it is worth.
Independent gemological laboratories study the delicate sciences of geology and gemology, mastering stone identification and grading by understanding the science that goes behind it. Not only can they measure inclusions and give a stone a grade, they can also understand how the inclusion formed and how big of a deal it is within the stone.
In reality, independent gemological laboratories are run by gem enthusiasts who appreciate the wonder of the gemstones they study. They care not about the monetary value; rather, they study and grade stones to further their understanding of the phenomenon and better service the industry. That’s why you can trust a report or grade from an independent gemological laboratory.
Today, getting a gemstone graded by an independent gemological laboratory is a must-have for any transaction. For too long, traders would scam or rip off buyers by giving falsified information or documentation before skipping town with the payment. Now, if you don’t have a gem report, no one will buy your gems.
Conversely, if you are buying a gemstone and the dealer shares with you the gemstone report, make sure to cross-reference the report in the independent gemological laboratory’s system. You’ll be able to see firsthand from the lab rather than trust a printout that may have been manipulated.