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Laboratory Certificates?

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LD

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I was just tidying up my gemstone certificates and wondered which Labs you "trust"? I know that''s an odd question and I''m not talking about GIA, EGL, etc but the smaller ones such as:-

LabTrade (based in Thailand)
GIT Memos

Personally the LabTrade ones seem to err on the side of caution (which I like). For example on a Demantoid Garnet certificate it says "horsetail inclusions indicate possible Russian origin". The GIT Memos (although don''t look wildly professional) do seem to test for chemical makeup and will distinguish between groups of Tourmalines.

I came across a piece of paper from Burapha Laboratory (I''d forgotton I had this) but in all honesty it looked a bit suspect!!!!

Any good or bad experiences with the above? Please add any other Labs and your feeling about their certificates
 

T L

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Date: 2/7/2010 1:08:24 PM
Author:LovingDiamonds
I was just tidying up my gemstone certificates and wondered which Labs you ''trust''? I know that''s an odd question and I''m not talking about GIA, EGL, etc but the smaller ones such as:-

LabTrade (based in Thailand)
GIT Memos

Personally the LabTrade ones seem to err on the side of caution (which I like). For example on a Demantoid Garnet certificate it says ''horsetail inclusions indicate possible Russian origin''. The GIT Memos (although don''t look wildly professional) do seem to test for chemical makeup and will distinguish between groups of Tourmalines.

I came across a piece of paper from Burapha Laboratory (I''d forgotton I had this) but in all honesty it looked a bit suspect!!!!

Any good or bad experiences with the above? Please add any other Labs and your feeling about their certificates
I trust GIT, and I heard Burapha is very trustworthy, but I feel their certs can be easily forged. I like the AIGS fast track report because you can verify it''s authenticity online, and I prefer certs with a photo of the stone in question. There''s also Tokyo Gem Lab, which I heard was trustworthy. However, I prefer those certs that are verifiable online at the very least.
 

smitcompton

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Hi All,

I have used Richard Sherman from Florida. I had him check 2 rubies I purchased and to check the treatment level of an emerald I have. In each case he found that that the description that was given to me was untrue. A untreated ruby was heat treated, a heat treated ruby was glass filled, and an untreated emerald was "minor oiled"(zambian emerald).

I returned the two rubies and sent along the lab report back to the vendor and was told they only would accept, in the future, lab reports from GIA. I think Richard is at an unfair disavantage. He did a great job. In the end they even paid for the lab report. I kept the emerald although rather light, because even minor treatment is very good. I''m happy I did.

I am expecting another stone of better quality soon and I will probably send it to Richard to check it out, if I like the looks of it. If I don''t it will go back to the vendor.

Thanks,
Annette
 

LD

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I''ve put together a small sample of different Lab Certs for info. If anybody has any others to share that would be good.

Here are two from Gemological Hallmark. They are small envelopes with a small window in the rear and the gemstone is sealed inside. The only problem is that most Vendors open them to photograph the gemstone which sort of defeats the object! I''m not sure what I think about these certificates. They do appear to look at treatments but I believe the wording on the Ruby one could be challenged? Perhaps some of our experienced gemstone buyers could comment?
 

LD

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Here''s a GIT Memo. In my opinion they are fairly descriptive and I haven''t had a gemstone tested that has contradicted one of their certifications but on the downside they don''t have photos. Also, these are very basic looking (paper on a laminated wallet) so I wonder if they would be easy to forge?
 

LD

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Now this one? Eugh! It's a scrappy piece of paper with a raised stamp area (that can just be seen in the bottom left of this scanned image) but the information is basic basic basic. To me, this isn't worth the paper it's written on!!! They may have different levels of certification I don't know, but if so, I suspect this may not be the top level one!
 

LD

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This is an AIGS Brief Report. It''s about 3" x 2" when folded and in a small laminated wallet. When you open it up, it''s about A4 size folded in half lengthways. It''s then folded into 4 and placed in the wallet. The attached picture shows only 2 parts of it.

They also do a normal report that is the same size as a GIA Diamond Report and that one contains a photograph of the gem.
 

T L

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LD,
What a great thread you started. I hope more people will chime in on this.

I think the GIT certs can be verified online, but I might be mistaken. As for Burapha, someone correct me if I''m wrong, but they don''t look like they can be verified online. I can''t even find a website anymore. They used to have one. That is what bothers me, and it looks easily forged.

The AIGS fast track memos have a nice security stamp on the back and they''re hard cardboard, with a photo. The online website has a place to verify the authenticity of the report. I just don''t care for the Burapha ones unless someone can find a place to easily verify them.
 

LD

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This is a LabTrade Gemstone Grade Report. I like these because they have photos and a hologram so I would think much more difficult to forge. They come in a wallet with the Report and then a further laminated sheet that tells you what tests have been performed. Especially when diamond grading they seem to be fairly robust and I''ve seen a couple of items that they''ve been what I would say is harsh - I guess that''s better that the other way though!
 

LD

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Last one - this is again from LabTrade but for a coloured diamond. Again, it has a photograph and hologram and all the other bits as per the one above!
 

chrono

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LD,
Great thread together with example pictures of the certs. I''m with LD that Burapha''s certs don''t inspire confidence based on how easily it can be forged. I like GIT but love AIGS the best for being quick and inexpensive with their comprehensive brief card. I have to say Lab Trade looks impressive and very professional!
 

morecarats

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Forming an opinion about a gemological lab from the appearance of their certificates is akin to judging a book by its cover.

The most important thing to know about a gem lab is their ability to identify gems and gem treatments accurately.

You can find out a great deal by asking a lab a few simple questions, such as:

1. How do you determine if a gemstone is copper-bearing?

2 How do you determine if a sapphire has been beryllium-treated?

3. How do you determine if a gemstone has been irradiated?

Answers to these questions will tell you if the lab has the advanced instruments necessary for modern gem identification.
 

morecarats

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Date: 2/7/2010 2:31:34 PM
Author: LovingDiamonds
This is an AIGS Brief Report. It''s about 3'' x 2'' when folded and in a small laminated wallet. When you open it up, it''s about A4 size folded in half lengthways. It''s then folded into 4 and placed in the wallet. The attached picture shows only 2 parts of it.

They also do a normal report that is the same size as a GIA Diamond Report and that one contains a photograph of the gem.
This example is of an old AIGS Brief Report. They no longer look like this. The current ones (issued for more than a year now I think) are 2-sided laminated cards, blue in color, with a photo of the gem. You can see an example here:

http://www.aigslaboratory.com/Gemstone_Identification_Brief_Report.aspx
 

chictomato

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We only have 2 major labs in Singapore, Nanyang Gemological Institute(NGI) and Far East Gemological Institute. NGI offers more services from testing treatments in gems to testing gold content and they are much reasonably priced than the latter. The info might be useful should anyone wanna make gem purchases in Singapore:)
 

Arkteia

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Don''t you all think that this topic should be turned into main thread, like "sites selling..." one in bold letters? Because all of us sooner or later might come across certificates from smaller, less known labs, it would be nice if we have this thread on top of the page for reference.
 

LD

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Date: 2/7/2010 11:41:59 PM
Author: morecarats
Forming an opinion about a gemological lab from the appearance of their certificates is akin to judging a book by its cover.

The most important thing to know about a gem lab is their ability to identify gems and gem treatments accurately.

You can find out a great deal by asking a lab a few simple questions, such as:

1. How do you determine if a gemstone is copper-bearing?

2 How do you determine if a sapphire has been beryllium-treated?

3. How do you determine if a gemstone has been irradiated?

Answers to these questions will tell you if the lab has the advanced instruments necessary for modern gem identification.
Unfortunately some gemstones come already certified and so the opportunity to ask the Lab what they can/can''t do is irrelevant. I would hope that the questions you''ve mentioned above are asked by the Vendor of the Lab. If not, then your post is a useful reminder for the Consumer to ask the Vendor to ask the question if the gemstone isn''t certified. I am in the process of doing exactly that as I am hoping to have a Padparadscha certified and of course need it to be checked for beryllium treatment as well so I have specifically asked what tests are going to be conducted as I am unfamiliar with the laboratories in the country I am buying from.

I don''t think anybody is daft enough to judge a certificate on how it looks BUT I know from experience whether the gemstone mentioned in the certificate is a good match or not AND I have had some of the above independently checked - which is an ideal opportunity to double check.

In terms of how they look? Some certificates "appear" easier to forge (ie. the Burapha certificate) which is unhelpful to the Consumer and I''d rather have one that has a picture of the gemstone and can be checked online.
 

Arkteia

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LD, when I come across a stone with a certificate from the lab that is not known to me, I shall go back to find your thread, but it is so hard since you post many threads. Do you agree that it is so important it should be moved on top of the page? And if so, who should I contact with this offer?
 

chrono

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Date: 2/8/2010 2:20:54 PM
Author: crasru
LD, when I come across a stone with a certificate from the lab that is not known to me, I shall go back to find your thread, but it is so hard since you post many threads. Do you agree that it is so important it should be moved on top of the page? And if so, who should I contact with this offer?
Crasru,
You can make this request to the PS moderators.
 

colormyworld

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I didn't know that the labs CERTIFY anything. I always thought the just issued REPORTS. I guess I have a lot more to learn about the subject.
 

LD

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Date: 2/8/2010 5:33:56 PM
Author: colormyworld
I didn''t know that the labs CERTIFY anything. I always thought the just issued REPORTS. I guess I have a lot more to learn about the subject.
So I guess a REPORT doesn''t CERTIFY that a gemstone is X, Y or Z? Semantics.
 

T L

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Date: 2/8/2010 2:20:54 PM
Author: crasru
LD, when I come across a stone with a certificate from the lab that is not known to me, I shall go back to find your thread, but it is so hard since you post many threads. Do you agree that it is so important it should be moved on top of the page? And if so, who should I contact with this offer?
There is a "suggestion box" subforum. IMO, I think we should have a subforum on laboratory certs whether they''re for diamonds or colored gems.
 

colormyworld

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Date: 2/8/2010 5:44:38 PM
Author: LovingDiamonds


Date: 2/8/2010 5:33:56 PM
Author: colormyworld
I didn't know that the labs CERTIFY anything. I always thought the just issued REPORTS. I guess I have a lot more to learn about the subject.
So I guess a REPORT doesn't CERTIFY that a gemstone is X, Y or Z? Semantics.

They issue a report of the characterstics of the material being tested. The labs make no guarantees though. Semantics? Perhaps but to me anything certified implies some sort of guarantee. These reports are not up to that level.
 

T L

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I got reamed out by a gemologist on another site (guess who LD?
2.gif
) that was mad that I called them certificates, and not memos. LOL!
 

LD

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Date: 2/8/2010 6:58:32 PM
Author: colormyworld

Date: 2/8/2010 5:44:38 PM
Author: LovingDiamonds



Date: 2/8/2010 5:33:56 PM
Author: colormyworld
I didn''t know that the labs CERTIFY anything. I always thought the just issued REPORTS. I guess I have a lot more to learn about the subject.
So I guess a REPORT doesn''t CERTIFY that a gemstone is X, Y or Z? Semantics.

They issue a report of the characterstics of the material being tested. The labs make no guarantees though. Semantics? Perhaps but to me anything certified implies some sort of guarantee. These reports are not up to that level.
Doesn''t a report suggest some sort of guarantee that you''re getting what it says?

Reports or Certificates - call them what you like - they should give a guarantee that what is written on the paper is what you''re going to get. Unfortunately that may not be the case and for IMPORTANT gemstones it''s pretty savvy to have a gem double checked. This thread was intended to help people see the different types that one may get with a gemstone purchase. As you''ll see I''ve asked others to contribute by posting up copies and also to contribute with their own specific examples of when something may not have been what it seemed. Would you care to contribute because that would be far more valuable than semantics don''t you think?
 

LD

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Date: 2/8/2010 7:12:58 PM
Author: tourmaline_lover
I got reamed out by a gemologist on another site (guess who LD?
2.gif
) that was mad that I called them certificates, and not memos. LOL!
Mmmmmm let me guess ................ ! Yep, got it!
2.gif
 

morecarats

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Date: 2/8/2010 1:19:10 PM
Author: LovingDiamonds
Date: 2/7/2010 11:41:59 PM

Author: morecarats

Forming an opinion about a gemological lab from the appearance of their certificates is akin to judging a book by its cover.


The most important thing to know about a gem lab is their ability to identify gems and gem treatments accurately.


You can find out a great deal by asking a lab a few simple questions, such as:


1. How do you determine if a gemstone is copper-bearing?


2 How do you determine if a sapphire has been beryllium-treated?


3. How do you determine if a gemstone has been irradiated?


Answers to these questions will tell you if the lab has the advanced instruments necessary for modern gem identification.

Unfortunately some gemstones come already certified and so the opportunity to ask the Lab what they can/can''t do is irrelevant. I would hope that the questions you''ve mentioned above are asked by the Vendor of the Lab. If not, then your post is a useful reminder for the Consumer to ask the Vendor to ask the question if the gemstone isn''t certified. I am in the process of doing exactly that as I am hoping to have a Padparadscha certified and of course need it to be checked for beryllium treatment as well so I have specifically asked what tests are going to be conducted as I am unfamiliar with the laboratories in the country I am buying from.


I don''t think anybody is daft enough to judge a certificate on how it looks BUT I know from experience whether the gemstone mentioned in the certificate is a good match or not AND I have had some of the above independently checked - which is an ideal opportunity to double check.


In terms of how they look? Some certificates ''appear'' easier to forge (ie. the Burapha certificate) which is unhelpful to the Consumer and I''d rather have one that has a picture of the gemstone and can be checked online.

Actually, it''s not irrelevant, it is done all the time in the trade. You can ask the dealer for a copy of the test report for the gem you''re considering purchasing, and you can call the lab and talk to a gemologist about the report. Most labs keep scrupulous records on the testing they''ve done, and you''re welcome to ask any questions about their testing.

For beryllium-testing, make sure the lab has a LIBS (laser induced breakdown spectroscopy) or similar machine. It is the only way to conclusively determine the presence of light elements such as beryllium.
 

Harriet

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Does anyone have a copy of a Gubelin cert that can be posted?
 

morecarats

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Date: 2/7/2010 2:26:47 PM
Author: LovingDiamonds
Now this one? Eugh! It''s a scrappy piece of paper with a raised stamp area (that can just be seen in the bottom left of this scanned image) but the information is basic basic basic. To me, this isn''t worth the paper it''s written on!!! They may have different levels of certification I don''t know, but if so, I suspect this may not be the top level one!

The Burapha reports issued in the last several years have a photograph of the gem.

Burapha mainly serves the Chanthaburi gem market and is a reputable but somewhat limited lab. They perform basic gem identification using standard gemological tools. They don''t have advanced instruments and cannot be relied on to detect many gem treatments. On the plus side, they will not issue a test report if they are not 100% confident of their identification.

There seems to be some concerns that the Burapha certificates could be easily forged. They are printed on distinctive paper and are stamped by the lab. Each report is numbered and can be verified with the lab.

If someone wanted to go to the trouble of forging a report, I think they would rather forge a report from a more reputable and well-known lab. The AIGS reports for example, are printed on credit-card style plastic, and could be more easily reproducd from a computer. Someone could simply take a high resolution scan of an existing report and then edit it.
 

LD

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Date: 2/8/2010 7:22:38 PM
Author: morecarats

Date: 2/8/2010 1:19:10 PM
Author: LovingDiamonds

Date: 2/7/2010 11:41:59 PM

Author: morecarats

Forming an opinion about a gemological lab from the appearance of their certificates is akin to judging a book by its cover.


The most important thing to know about a gem lab is their ability to identify gems and gem treatments accurately.


You can find out a great deal by asking a lab a few simple questions, such as:


1. How do you determine if a gemstone is copper-bearing?


2 How do you determine if a sapphire has been beryllium-treated?


3. How do you determine if a gemstone has been irradiated?


Answers to these questions will tell you if the lab has the advanced instruments necessary for modern gem identification.

Unfortunately some gemstones come already certified and so the opportunity to ask the Lab what they can/can''t do is irrelevant. I would hope that the questions you''ve mentioned above are asked by the Vendor of the Lab. If not, then your post is a useful reminder for the Consumer to ask the Vendor to ask the question if the gemstone isn''t certified. I am in the process of doing exactly that as I am hoping to have a Padparadscha certified and of course need it to be checked for beryllium treatment as well so I have specifically asked what tests are going to be conducted as I am unfamiliar with the laboratories in the country I am buying from.


I don''t think anybody is daft enough to judge a certificate on how it looks BUT I know from experience whether the gemstone mentioned in the certificate is a good match or not AND I have had some of the above independently checked - which is an ideal opportunity to double check.


In terms of how they look? Some certificates ''appear'' easier to forge (ie. the Burapha certificate) which is unhelpful to the Consumer and I''d rather have one that has a picture of the gemstone and can be checked online.

Actually, it''s not irrelevant, it is done all the time in the trade. You can ask the dealer for a copy of the test report for the gem you''re considering purchasing, and you can call the lab and talk to a gemologist about the report. Most labs keep scrupulous records on the testing they''ve done, and you''re welcome to ask any questions about their testing.

For beryllium-testing, make sure the lab has a LIBS (laser induced breakdown spectroscopy) or similar machine. It is the only way to conclusively determine the presence of light elements such as beryllium.
Interestingly, I''ve been told that there is nowhere in the UK that can test for BE which I found incredibly surprising. Do you happen to know which labs have them by any chance?
 

colormyworld

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I can add a picture of a report I have from GIA.

IMG_1094_2.JPG
 
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