Top GIA Fellow States Science Unable to Identify Diamond Origins

Identifying the Origin of Diamonds: A Challenge in the Gem and Jewelry Industry

Dr. James Shigley, a distinguished research fellow at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), stated that identifying a diamond’s origin based on its physical characteristics is unlikely. This is because diamonds lack distinctive visual features to determine their provenance, and their trace elements are difficult to analyze due to low concentration levels. Despite efforts to study diamond chemistry, it is challenging to pinpoint where the stone originated on Earth.

According to Dr. Shigley, studies have been limited in size and range of locations, making it difficult to determine the possibility of origin identification in the future. However, he mentioned that the GIA has been successful in confirming the origin of diamonds through Diamond Origin Reports by matching polished stones to their rough of known provenance. This process is more akin to a chain of custody and has a success rate of around 90%.

During a recent episode of Rapaport’s GEMTalks series sponsored by the GIA, Dr. Shigley also discussed origin determination for colored gemstones and lab-grown diamonds, along with addressing questions from the audience. He emphasized that while identifying the origin of colored gemstones is more feasible than for diamonds, using physical characteristics solely from studying a polished stone cannot accurately determine a diamond’s origin without additional information or context about its rough or history.

The GEMTalks LinkedIn Live session hosted by GIA showcases insights from industry experts like Dr. Shigley who have extensive knowledge in gemology. Through providing valuable information on gem and jewelry trade practices, the GIA aims to protect consumers and support the global industry through research, education, and laboratory services. Sign up now to stay informed about the latest news and analysis on the diamond and jewelry industry

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