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How reliable is GIC certificate UNHEATED statement?

babydoll_mini

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 23, 2009
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261
I'm just back from a gem show, and I saw a 3.03ct blue sapphire with pretty good color from Sri Lanka dealer. It is declared to be unheated, and the certification provided is "GIC", which I believe is a Sri Lanka lab. Anyone heard of this lab before? How reliable is it? Would you kindly shed some light please? Thank you very much!!
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I have never used this lab and so do not know how reliable they are. There is no online verification so other than calling long distance, how would you verify that the memo isn't forged? Interestingly, GIC might be affiliated with Tokyo Gemmological Lab. Since it is a pretty large sapphire of good colour, why not just spring for the AGL brief as backup verification?
http://www.gicolombo.com/
 

OTL

Brilliant_Rock
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Jun 27, 2012
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1,349
I have seen several GIC certs, but I don't know how reputable they are...From what I heard, some vendors believe that the lab is quite skilled since the location is specialized in gemstone and they are experienced, they know their stones quite well.
 

minousbijoux

Super_Ideal_Rock
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If I were you, I would go ask the question on the other online gemology forum geared towards professionals whose name starts with "Gemology." Some of their active members are from Colombo and could likely provide you a knowledgable answer.
 

Richard M.

Brilliant_Rock
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1,104
Hi,

I used that lab several times for unheated sapphires a few years ago. I sent the same stones to AGL, just to be sure, and received basically identical results. They're very professional in my opinion although I don't know if they have LIBS to test for beryllium. You could check that by emailing them if its a particular concern.

Richard M.
 

Gembull

Rough_Rock
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Its been a decade since this thread was opened, and a lot has changed since.

I must say that this lab is notorious for giving out unheated results for heated stones, if you value your money, I would never at any cost accept a stone with this cert alone. I will get it checked again, and use a more reputable lab to sell with.

This lab has no care in the world when it comes to detecting treatments, and at most times only concerned about color grading. I have seen plenty of stones certified with GIC that were wrong calls. A 4 ct pigeons blood ruby from Mozambique for example. Just imagine the loss of reputation if we ended up selling that on a GIC cert?

I must also add, that the market knows what this labs is up to. It's common knowledge now, most if not all low temperature heated stones will eventually go through GIC to sell in China. And their so called LIBS machine has been broken for months, and if you ask them if you can get a test done they will openly tell you its not working. Ask any honest Sri Lankan dealer, heck even the Chinese dealers know it now! Some stones go back to Sri lanka to turn heated stones to unheated from this lab, sent back to china and make a neat profit on it.

There are a few other labs in the market like this, it's common knowledge.

Some of these labs are good on color, and weak on treatments. Some will give you whatever you want, I mean really whatever you want. Ceylon gem lab (CGL), walk in there with a synthetic and you can get unheated natural. Its hilarious.

Ask around from a reputable Sri Lankan dealer, there are many out there who will guide you on which lab you can trust and which you can't.

When in doubt, test it back home, and make the payment after!
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Hello @Gembull and welcome to Pricescope CS.

Have you experienced or verified these yourself or personally know of such cases? Just wondering/curious.
 

LilAlex

Shiny_Rock
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Mar 3, 2018
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Have you experienced or verified these yourself or personally know of such cases? Just wondering/curious.
I may not be as diplomatic as chrono above. You created a brand-new account just to present a paragraphs-long screed against a random Sri Lankan lab on a thread that has been dormant for nearly a decade.

I was hoping you would respond to chrono's question above -- what's the deal? And if this is accurate, how does someone not in the trade purport to know what the entire trade thinks about this lab?
 

Frost

Shiny_Rock
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Nov 9, 2017
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145
I'd echo what I already said on another thread - we have found GIC to be reliable for about a decade now and counting for everything except vivid hot pink sapphires (where there does seem to be disagreement over low heat/no heat).

That means blue, yellow, pink, orange, padparadscha, green, multi-color etc. have had no issues so far, on accounts of both heating and diffusion (diffusion is rare enough to begin with anyway, you should see one - mainly in theory - every 10 years if you work with reliable suppliers and even then it would have to be a new supplier since no one in their right mind will sell you that when you have a face to face working relationship, you can go to the police for that).

Hundreds, or thousands of our stones have gone through GIC and then subsequently through GIA/AGL (as they went to U.S. dealers and jewelers) and we've yet to encounter a single issue with anything at all that isn't vivid hot pink.
I mean anything at all. And we can literally prove it, with clients in 30-ish U.S. states, most of whom rely on America's two premier labs to verify what a Sri Lankan lab has said.

So as someone who sources in Sri Lanka (even though not a Sri Lankan), I really don't know what Gembull is on about and find it very puzzling, since our experience has been so drastically different for quite some time now while selling to a wide array of people all over the planet.

Some of their post is true though: for one, we also called the other day and their LIBS is under repair with the manufacturer (in the UK apparently) so they're waiting to get it back. That has no bearing on heat/no heat however, as an FTIR is more than sufficient along with microscopy.
And I'd suggest to anyone to wait until it gets back to get a full lab report with heat and diffusion checks for any heated stones, as they should, or to hand the stones over to the other 2 Sri Lankan laboratories who also have LIBS in the meantime.

Secondly, what they mentioned about other labs (there's a million paper shops like that) is also true - we've seen synthetic spinels "certified" as natural padparadschas, synthetic white sapphires come back as unheated, chrysoberyls as alexandrite etc.
But never from GIC, or from the other two with LIBS, who I will refrain from mentioning because we don't have extensive experience and data for them like we do for the former.

This lab has no care in the world when it comes to detecting treatments, and at most times only concerned about color grading. I have seen plenty of stones certified with GIC that were wrong calls.
... and this part is total nonsense - I'd like an explanation on how is it that we have failed to get lab reports from them and got the stones back instead as "inconclusive" whenever anything at all was uncertain (even in silly cases like a loupe clean hessonite garnet that was obviously natural but failed to get a report out of an abundance of caution). Plenty of examples like that, there's even a local term for it, "too clean".
Also, there's the fact that quite a few big dealers in Sri Lanka dislike GIC for their unwillingness to write trade terms (royal blue, padparadscha) for their dubious gems. We spoke to a dealer who used to brag about giving them thousands of dollars of business monthly, and finally decided to boycott them entirely when they refused to write "royal blue" on a particularly important stone of his (large and fine) that was just a tad too reddish. We've even bought padparadschas and re-submitted them for LIBS checks, only for them to tell us that under new standards, this is no longer padparadscha (so we lost out). Etc. etc. etc.
 

arkieb1

Ideal_Rock
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9,588
One of my friends is a gemstone dealer who lives in Sri Lanka, sometimes I've purchased sapphires from him with these certificates I always get them checked at places like Lotus and AGL or GIA just to be sure. I've never had an issue with certificates being incorrect as far as treatments, such as heating or not treated. Generally they get that part right.

They can be overly zealous (which is a polite way of saying generous) with their colour descriptions and I've had stones where the origin has been incorrect. So for example a stone they claim is Madagascar origin is actually Sri Lanka origin or somewhere else when sent to somewhere like Lotus which IMHO is one of the better places of the three labs I use for determining sapphire origin.

Keep in mind, incorrect origin has only happened a small number of times.
 

Gembull

Rough_Rock
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Hello @Gembull and welcome to Pricescope CS.

Have you experienced or verified these yourself or personally know of such cases? Just wondering/curious.
I have seen several stones so far that were given to me as a natural GIC, and then have received heated from other respected labs here.

You know this is a sensitive topic, but I think people have to take it with an open mind and stay up to date with what is happening. Some may not have the experience that I and many others have had with the help and caution of their broker/ supply source locally in Sri Lanka. IF you have a solid supply source you are in safe hands, which is the key component.

If what some claim here that they have had no issues so far, you are indeed working with a good network and in safe hands. We who live in sri lanka see the ins and outs of each lab, and no we don't keep track of each stone to mention. When we dealers meet up we do discuss the results we obtain from each lab and know how things go with our recent certifications. I don't use GIC at all.

I have had several dealers who tell me it's lightly 'warmed' but then mention that they can get unheat from GIC, and have proved it also. Some have returned as heated from other labs and they mention that they can get the heated one as ''unheated'' from GIC. Look all I ask you to do, is to ask your dealer so you are up to date on what is happening. I just don't want anyone to lose their hard earned money, and their investments go to waste.

The issue of beryllium is a negligible one here as there aren't too many of those in the market. You do come across them at times, but they are too good to be true, and the suspicion usually pays off.

Most of the issues pop up when this lab knows the client well, and know its for the china market. It may not be the case for all clients, but there are a few that seem to have their way.
 
Last edited:

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
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28,688
Can you please identify yourself as a member of the trade? Thanks for the follow-up post.
+1

If you are reputable post your real name and the name of the business you own or work for.
Otherwise you come across as someone with an agenda to harm this lab.
Perhaps you own or work at a competing lab. :Up_to_something:

Be honest.
Show integrity by identifying yourself.
Otherwise your attempt to harm GIC here just backfires.
So far this thread actually makes GIC look good, but makes you look bad.
 
Last edited:

Rare gem lover

Shiny_Rock
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I don’t know if this helps because I rarely ever deal in Sri Lankan gems or sapphires and rubies in general.

However I did get an incorrect GIC certificate though on heating and it ended in a return and cost me money. So now I do get them re-certified from a local lab- Nanyang Lab, if possible.

I bought one sapphire (probably Madagascar origin) and one Mozambique ruby from the same seller with GIC Certificates and they both said unheated. I took them both to nanyang lab, sapphire came up as heated and ruby as unheated. The gemologist also told me it was extremely obviously heated.

I think it’s just better with expensive gems to be extremely careful and just certify again. Probably unless a lab is a top lab one can’t say for certain if a lab is always correct with heat.
 

Rare gem lover

Shiny_Rock
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@Frost I remember I told you about the incident and you were surprised. I also talked to another major sapphire dealer in the UK about it and he was not surprised and said this has happened to him before on expensive gems with GIC. Suggested other labs instead. So I do believe there’s no perfect answer.
 

Frost

Shiny_Rock
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So for example a stone they claim is Madagascar origin is actually Sri Lanka origin or somewhere else when sent to somewhere like Lotus which IMHO is one of the better places of the three labs I use for determining sapphire origin. Keep in mind, incorrect origin has only happened a small number of times.
Saw this and wasn't going to say anything but now that we're necromancing the thread I just wanted to ask, are you sure this was GIC?

I'm pretty positive that since their inception until now they've never offered origin determination as one of their services. I've never seen a GIC report with any mention of origin, either our own or of a stone belonging to someone else online or in person. Might it be that this was a different lab perhaps? Or was it a one-off report?

Even more generally, I can't think of a single Lankan lab that does offer that option... Pretty much your only choice in Sri Lanka would be to take it to the local GRS branch (which consults with GRS BKK and CH).

How reliable is this lab for vanadium chrysoberyl
I think I may have answered this directly in the meantime (if so, hi!), but just to write this for anyone else wondering: they don't test for vanadium themselves, they write "vanadium chrysoberyl" only if one gets a separate (and pretty expensive) EDXRF report from a government institute that deals with materials research and testing (https://aeb.gov.lk/web/).
They make an EDXRF report and give you the readout, which you then take to GIC and they write V-chryso based on that.

Several other labs I know of write "vanadium chrysoberyl' based on color alone, which is contentious. No one I know of wants a Cuprian without copper -> same idea applies here.

@Frost I remember I told you about the incident and you were surprised.
I remember... And I think you just got really unlucky with some Madagascan stones and a really shady Lankan dealer visiting you in Singapore. You were just barely starting with sapphires and trying something out and lo and behold, that sort of thing happens right off the bat. Which would understandably make one upset, yes - but it doesn't justify generalizations or a crusade of the sort that brought this thread back to life after 7 years.

I don't remember it being mentioned that Nanyang said the stone was "extremely obviously heated", and I honestly don't see how that would be possible since FTIR usually produces pretty clear results when it comes to heat. I don't know much about Nanyang so I'm not going to talk about their abilities or reliability, but labs sometimes disagree on no heat vs. low heat - all labs, I mean, even the holy trinity of GIA/AGL/Gübelin.

But to disagree on "extremely obvious" heat would imply that a stone that registers clear high heat somehow got missed which just doesn't seem factually possible at all if one has eyes, since even with just a microscope it would scream "heat" (melted/dissolved silk, melted or otherwise changed crystals and fingerprints, Saturn inclusions, iridescent haloes etc.). You don't even need more than a loupe most of the time to see that. Never mind an FTIR on top.

I don't want to disparage anyone's experiences... But we do have our own too. For 9/12 months every year, we live a stone's throw from dozens of mines - we visit weddings, funerals, school graduations etc. of the entire mining/dealing community around Ratnapura. We see river mining on our morning walks and get people coming over for a morning coffee with a fruit basket and a handful of sapphires. These people are our friends and neighbours. And what I'm trying to say is that we've bought and sent literally hundreds if not thousands of locally mined and processed sapphires to Polygon members (and a smaller amount to PSers, LTers and lurkers) over the past xyz years and have yet to run into an issue with anything blue, pad, yellow, green, teal, purple, violet, etc. Similarly to Pricescopers, Poly members are a very no-nonsense, zero-tolerance-for-mistakes bunch of dealers and jewelers, who need to get GIA/AGL after the fact since they sell in person on the NAmerican market - and it seems to me impossible that so many stones got the same results from GIA/AGL like they did from GIC if GIC is somehow, as you would suggest, so consistently off the mark. It just doesn't seem possible to me, based on these past 9 years of dealing with a lot of sapphires and different labs. Because if it were the case, we'd sure as anything have stones being sent back all the time - and that simply hasn't been happening.
 

Arcadian

Ideal_Rock
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@Frost I remember I told you about the incident and you were surprised. I also talked to another major sapphire dealer in the UK about it and he was not surprised and said this has happened to him before on expensive gems with GIC. Suggested other labs instead. So I do believe there’s no perfect answer.
Well I can certainly tell you that all labs make mistakes, since humans are involved. I had a mistake made on a report from AGL, and it could have been a very valuable one, and one that they would not have seen if I had not contacted them again. so it wasn't a small mistake. They in fact refunded me based on that mistake but it could have been bad if I had sold that stone with a bad report.

This is in no way me disparaging their lab, I still feel they're top tier and, worth getting certificates from. But again, you put humans in charge of certain tasks and mistakes can and do happen.

I'm assured that since then checks have been put in place to minimize something like that from happening again.
 

LD

Ideal_Rock
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Does anybody have any thoughts on GGTL? I was recently offered a sapphire with a GGTL lab report and all seemed too good to be true so thought I'd ask!
 

Frost

Shiny_Rock
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Does anybody have any thoughts on GGTL?
Yes... Not worth the paper it's printed on. Seen multiple "alexandrites" with totally faked color change photos (a chrysoberyl with a 5% color change edited to look like it has a change and being called alexandrite), a brownish pink spinel with a lab report as "unheated natural padparadscha sapphire"... And similar inexcusable things that simply could not have been honest mistakes. I could go on but basically, it's worse than having no report at all.
 
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LD

Ideal_Rock
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Yes... Not worth the paper it's printed on. Seen multiple "alexandrites" with totally faked color change photos (a chrysoberyl with a 5% color change edited to look like it has a change and being called alexandrite), a brownish pink spinel with a lab report as "unheated natural padparadscha sapphire"... And similar inexcusable things that simply could not have been honest mistakes. I could go on but basically, it's worse than having no report at all.
Thanks @Frost I had assumed as much but thought I'd ask!
 
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