Gemfields rough emeralds

SPYING GAME: Gemfields, a supplier of responsibly sourced colored gemstones, has teamed with Gübelin Gem Lab, which specializes in the analysis of precious gemstones, to develop a new technology that traces the origins of emeralds in an effort to increase transparency in the colored gemstone industry.

The new traceability technology, called Emerald Paternity Test, works by applying DNA-based nanoparticles on rough emeralds from the mining stage. They can then be decoded at any stage in the supply chain to identify an emerald stone’s exact place of provenance. The nanoparticles have been designed to survive all the processes a stone undergoes, from cleaning to polishing and setting, to ensure they are always retrievable.

Gübelin Gem Lab highlighted that by using these tiny particles — smaller than 100 nanometers — they are able to ensure that the appearance and properties of the stone are not affected in any way.

“This technology offers all stakeholders along the entire supply chain, from the miner to the final customers, proof of the exact source of emeralds, instilling confidence and creating trust. It enables a new level of transparency for the gemstone trade,” said Daniel Nyfeler, Gübelin Gem Lab managing director.

Nyfeler said he was drawn to Gemfields’ forward-thinking approach and established standards of sourcing gemstones responsibly when choosing a partner to test the new technology.

“Embracing innovation, technology and increased transparency is at the heart of our approach. The outcome offers a multitude of benefits to the industry and the consumer,” said Ian Harebottle, chief executive officer of Gemfields.

This is the first in a series of technological initiatives Gübelin Gem Lab is planning to launch in order to increase transparency in the industry’s supply chain and promote ethical sourcing.