Grading

Gübelin Gem Lab Debuts ‘Emerald Paternity Test’

GradingMar 28, 2017

Gübelin Gem Lab Debuts ‘Emerald Paternity Test’

The new technology introduced at Baselworld can trace an emerald to the mine of its origin.

The world’s largest emerald mine, the Kagem Mine located in Zambia, was the site of Gübelin Gem Lab’s preliminary Emerald Paternity Test. Kagem Mine is majority-owned by Gemfields.

Basel, Switzerland--When developing a method to make emeralds completely traceable, Gübelin Gem Lab looked to DNA.

Introduced at Baselworld 2017, Gübelin’s “Emerald Paternity Test” involves applying DNA-based nanoparticles directly onto rough emerald crystals at mining sites.

Nanotechnology deals with particles less than 100 nanometers large. The particles aren't visible to the naked eye or even under an optical microscope, so a stone’s properties and grading won’t be affected by the application.

Gübelin’s application process is designed to withstand all steps of an emerald’s journey, from cutting to cleaning, polishing, transporting and setting, so that the nanoparticles will act as a permanent origin tag.

Just like a human's DNA is specific to each individual, the tag will be unique to each mine. 


This is an image of the DNA-based nanoparticles applied directly to rough emerald crystals as part of the emerald paternity test. The particles are invisible to the human eye and even to optical microscopes.
At any point in time, the particles can be decoded to reveal a stone’s origin.

“This technology offers all stakeholders along the entire supply chain, from the miner to the final customers, proof of the exact source of emeralds, instilling confidence and creating trust,” said Daniel Nyfeler, managing director of Gübelin Gem Lab. “It enables a new level of transparency for the gemstone trade.”

Gübelin worked with Gemfields, majority owner of the world’s largest emerald mine, the Kagem Mine in Zambia, to test the new technology.

“Partnering with Gemfields for the feasibility study was an obvious choice,” Nyfeler said, “as it is not only an industry leader, but a forward-thinking company, and hence a perfect partner to test a ground-breaking idea such as this paternity test for emeralds.”

The results were a success and Gemfields told National Jeweler it would "continue to tag emerald production coming through the auction system."

Gemfields CEO Ian Harebottle explained, “Embracing innovation, technology and increased transparency is at the heart of our approach. We were therefore thrilled to assist Gübelin in the testing of this new technology, and we are very excited about the outcome as it offers a multitude of benefits to the industry and the consumer.”

For now, the paternity test will only work for emeralds, as the DNA-based nanoparticles are able to adhere to the fissures unique to the gemstone, and remain there through all processing.

Gübelin, which analyzes diamonds, color gemstones and pearls at its laboratories in Lucerne, Switzerland, Hong
Kong and New York, said that the nanotechnology could offer transparency across the industry, to large and small mining companies, governments, trade organizations, industry watchdogs, jewelry brands and customers.

Gübelin is "looking to develop relationships with all stakeholders in the supply chain," they said to National Jeweler.
Ashley Davisis the senior editor, fashion at National Jeweler, covering all things related to design, style and trends.

The Latest

MajorsSep 24, 2021
Brilliant Earth Is Now a Public Company

CEO Beth Gerstein said she believes in the jeweler’s omnichannel approach as its retail rollout continues.

Events & AwardsSep 24, 2021
These 3 Companies Will Receive Business Grants from PGI USA

PGI created the program to accelerate the growth of the platinum jewelry market in the U.S.

CollectionsSep 24, 2021
Zales Introduces Elvis Presley Men’s Jewelry Line

From its curb link chains to statement diamond rings, the new collection takes inspiration from the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

Brought to you by
Bringing Sexy Back: The Allure of COUTURE, Italian Style

Take a tour of Italian designers at COUTURE 2021.

TrendsSep 24, 2021
Piece of the Week: Mateo’s Initial Pendant

It’s a trendy take on personalization.

Weekly QuizSep 23, 2021
This Week's Quiz
Test your knowledge of jewelry news from the week of Sept. 20-24, 2021.
Take the Quiz
CrimeSep 23, 2021
5 Men Who Fenced Stolen Diamonds Get 15 Years in Prison

They bought and resold jewels from a South America-based gang that targeted traveling salespeople across the United States.

SourcingSep 23, 2021
Joanna Hardy Completes Gemstone Trilogy with ‘Sapphire’ Book

It’s the follow-up to “Emerald” and “Ruby.”

Brought to you by
What is your Health Care Coverage Strategy?

Health care coverage is a big expense for small businesses - find out how to lower costs long-term instead of every 12 months.

MajorsSep 23, 2021
Claire’s To Offer Subscription Service

The quarterly themed boxes will feature on-trend jewelry, hair accessories, handbags, and more.

×