Coloured gemstones

Coloured gemstones come in an incredible array of colours and varieties. Emeralds, rubies and sapphires are most well-known, but our testing services and research efforts go far beyond these three varieties. Our expertise in treatment detection and origin determination of coloured gemstones is based on decades of research, a large reference collection and continuously developing new techniques to analyse these treasures of nature.

We test different types of coloured stones

  • Single or series of loose coloured gemstones
  • Gemstones mounted in jewellery
  • Coloured stone bead necklaces

For more specific information on disclosure and standards, and issues related to specific coloured gemstones please visit the Understand SSEF Reports page, which offers extensive details on individual varieties of gemstones.

Explore our research library

Paraiba tourmalines owe their attractive colour to the presence of copper. In the best case, this gives rise to a vivid blue colour, also known in the trade as ‘neon’ blue or ‘electric’ blue and not known from any other gemstone in nature.

On the 8th of June 2023, the Estrela de Fura ruby was sold at Sotheby’s in New York for a world record price of US$ 34.8 million. This ruby of 55.22 ct was cut from a 101 ct piece of rough, discovered in July 2022 near Montepuez in Mozambique, in a mine operated by the Fura Gems company.

Recently, a beautiful Vietnamese ruby of 2.10 ct and vivid red colour was submitted to SSEF for testing. Microscopic observations and chemical trace element analysis confirmed its Vietnamese origin and our colour grading protocol revealed that this stone was well fitting to be called ‘pigeon blood

Sodalite, a complex tectosilicate with the ideal formula Na8Al6Si6O24Cl2 is known in the trade mostly as dark blue ornamental material, often as translucent to nearly opaque beads and cabochons, but in rare cases also as transparent faceted stones.

Since ancient times, the Badakhshan Province in northeastern Afghanistan has been known for its gem deposits, most prominently the lapis lazuli mines near Sar-e Sang in the Kokcha valley.and cabochons, but in rare cases also as transparent faceted stones.

Afghanistan is known since ancient times as source of exceptional gems, namely lapis lazuli, tourmalines, beryls, rubies and spinel (Bowersox & Chamberlin 1995). Apart from these rather classic gemstones, Afghanistan is also source for numerous rare collector minerals, such as väyrynenite, triplit

Any gem hunter will tell you that collecting minerals from the soil is a hard job, especially if done in a remote place with rather dry and hot climate conditions and hard rocky soil. So, why not have small and hard-working animals such as ants do the work for you?