Zircon ZrSiO₄ a very intriguing mineral, not only because it can be used as an attractive gemstone (Figure 1) but also due to the fact that it can contain minute traces of radioactive elements (U, Th), which decay over time to lead (Pb) isotopes.
The quality and consistency of analytical data is important for gem labs in order to provide replicable results to gemmologists over a long period of time. In addition, the accuracy compared to internationally recognised standards allows us to perform inter-lab comparisons or track instrument performance and tr
Very recently, we tested a tricky case of a synthetic ruby (Figure 1) of 4.27 ct, submitted to SSEF as a natural stone accompanied by two lab reports confirming its natural origin. Under the microscope, the submitted stone showed ‘zircon-like’ cluster inclusions (Figure 2). They were somehow reminiscent of
From time to time, we get a flashback in gemmological history. This is specifically the case when we receive an antique ring with an ‘early’ Verneuil synthetic ruby showing strongly curved growth bands, or, as in the past few months, when clients submit us doublets.
Copper-bearing tourmaline from Nigeria is known in the trade since about two decades (Milisenda 2001, Henricus, 2001; Smith et al., 2001; Zang et al., 2001). The first reported material from Nigeria was rather of aquamarine- to amethyst-like colours, but shortly after it was followed by a limited and sporadic p
The body colour of pearls is normally related to the presence of natural colour pigments produced by the mollusc during pearl formation. Another option is to colour pearls artificially, with dyeing being the most readily available method. Often applied to rather low-quality freshwater cultured pearls, these tre
The mineral chrysoberyl BeAl₂O₄ is a highly appreciated gemstone due to its rarity, brilliance, and beauty and comes in attractive colours commonly ranging from colourless (chemically pure) to yellow, yellowish green, green, and brownish green to dark brown, mostly related to the presence of iron in its cry
Pearl testing was long limited to determining whether a pearl is natural or cultured, and whether a pearl has been treated or not. As we have considerably invested in pearl research in recent years, we have achieved significant breakthroughs, namely DNA fingerprinting for species identification and radiocarbon
In 2020, a novel light source for the colour grading of diamonds was developed in a collaboration between SSEF and the Department of Physics, University of Basel (see Figure 1). In contrast to many of the models on the market, the new light source uses state-of-the-art LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights instead
by Dr. M.S. Krzemnicki, first published in Facette 27 (June 2021) It cannot be repeated often enough: any gemstone which contains fissures is prone to be treated with fissure filling substances, either by using a colourless or coloured substances (e.g. oil). Even when the stone comes from a famed mini