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First Origin Report from GIA
Jewelry Scene

The Gemological Institute of America has taken the first step toward origin reports for colored gemstones. In December, GIA Laboratories began issuing emerald reports with information on geographic origin when "tell-tale properties" are present.

Although this will apply to all emerald localities, initially this service will focus on the distinction of emeralds from Colombia.

"We are very pleased to be expanding our emerald services to include geographic origin information on our reports," says Shane McClure, director of gem identification in GIA’s Carlsbad laboratory. "This is a pivotal step for GIA. The institute has always held that the intrinsic quality of an emerald was the most important factor in determining its market value. While we staunchly believe that the quality of gem material will always be of primary importance, we recognize that the marketplace perceives the country of origin of an emerald to be of added value, and is therefore a factor in its valuation."

Although this is a big step forward for GIA philosophically, it is less so gemologically. Origin in emerald is much more straightforward than ruby and sapphire, which occur in much more similar types of geological formations and thus have similar features. In a presentation at GIA’s gemological research conference this summer, McClure discussed a possible solution: reports that classify corundum by type of deposit rather than country, with a list of countries that have that type of deposit included.

sample emerald report
A sample emerald report from GIA Laboratory, (800) 421-7250.