Why it’s difficult to determine a diamond’s origin and other gems in the gemology industry

Top GIA Fellow Claims Science Cannot Determine Diamond Origin

Why it’s difficult to determine a diamond’s origin and other gems in the gemology industry

Dr. James Shigley, a renowned research fellow at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), stated that it is highly unlikely to determine a diamond’s origin based on its physical characteristics alone. He explained that diamonds lack distinct visual features that could identify their provenance and the samples often do not provide enough information. The only possible indication of a diamond’s origin is trace elements, which are challenging to analyze due to their low concentration and do not reveal much about the stone’s source.

According to Dr. Shigley, the chemical composition of diamonds is related to geological processes in the mantle and does not correlate with their current location on earth’s surface. Studies conducted to determine a diamond’s origin have been limited in size and range of locations, making it difficult to confirm the source of a stone now or in the future.

However, Dr. Shigley mentioned that identifying the origin of a diamond by matching its polished form with the rough stone of known provenance is possible through GIA Diamond Origin Reports, which have a success rate of around 90%. This process is similar to a chain of custody and emphasizes that this method is more effective than studying a polished diamond alone.

During his GEMTalks LinkedIn Live session, Dr. Shigley also discussed the possibility of determining the origin of colored gemstones, which he considered more achievable than identifying diamonds’ origins, as well as lab-grown diamonds and their impact on the industry. He answered questions from the audience and provided insights into the complex world of gemology. To learn more about this topic and access the full recording of GEMTalks sponsored by GIA, visit our link. The GIA was established in 1931 with a mission to protect consumers and support global trade in gems and jewelry through research, education, laboratory services. Stay informed by signing up for their industry news and analysis updates from leading experts like Dr. James Shigley himself!

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