AGL has a reputation as the premier colored-stone lab in the U.S. Headed by Christopher Smith today, many auction houses emphasize the need for an AGL lab report for any listings. The integrity, authenticity, and expertise of this laboratory is well respected in the gemstone industry.
GIA is the arguably the most well-recognized lab for diamonds. Besides creating the Four Cs for diamond grading, established in 1931, GIA’s motto is the “world’s foremost authority” on diamonds, colored stones, and pearls. GIA is also a non-profit organization, allowing it to pursue leading research and education on all gem and jewelry related matters. In 2019, GIA announced that it will start identifying Alexandrite origins. GIA reports are known for their beautiful presentation, and are nearly universal in their recognition.
GRS is among the most internationally recognized labs in the industry. With emphasis on the European and Asian clientele, many collectors see GRS as the standard. Directed by Dr. Adolf Peretti, many of the color description terms used in the industry today have been coined by this lab, such as “Royal Blue” Sapphires, or “Pigeon Blood” Rubies. Today, GRS is a trusted leaders in color classification and color nomenclature. Most recently, GRS opened a New York based branch, further stretching its reputation and presence across the globe.
Established in 1923, Gϋbelin Gem Lab Ltd. is highly respected in the gemstone industry, and considered the premier laboratory in Europe. Many of the world’s leading gemologists began their careers at Gübelin. Gübelin’s reports have also been historically associated with famous auction houses, and personal jewels for royal families.
Who is Christian Dunaigre? Mr. Dunaigre is one of the only premier and well known gemologists relied upon by dealers in the gemstone trade. His experience identifying gemstones dates back over 25 years. This includes the Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences (AIGS) in Bangkok, Thailand. He also played a prominent role as the lab supervisor of Gübelin Gem Laboratory in Switzerland for many years. In 2008 Mr. Dunaigre set up an independent Swiss based gem lab company, which offers onsite gem testing service. He regularly travels internationally to provide direct in house gem identification services. His main offices being in Thailand and Switzerland, but commonly visiting New York to work with many of the global leaders of the gemstone trade.Mr. Dunaigre’s expertise was formally recognized in Christie’s 2008 Auction involving a 42 carat blue sapphire from Kashmir that sold for $4,000,000 USD.
A gemological lab is an institution, organization, or company (which could be for profit, or non-profit), that generates reports on loose gemstones and/or mounted jewelry. We strongly believe that American Gemological Laboratories (AGL) is the most reputable independent and trustworthy labs that a gemstone collector can use. Both Christie’s and Sotheby’s Auction houses consistently rely on AGL for the most important gemstone condition reports. In addition to AGL, we prefer labs affiliated with the Lab Manual Harmonization Committee (LMHC) that maintain American branches*. However, credibility should be given to all members as well. The member labs include: CGL Laboratory (Japan), CISGEM Laboratory (Italy),
DSEF German Gem Lab (Germany), GIA Laboratory (USA and Thailand), *GIT – Gem Testing Laboratory (Thailand), Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd (Switzerland), and *Swiss Gemmological Institute (Switzerland). Although not a LMHC member, we feel confident that Gem Research Swisslab (GRS) are reliable and reputable labs for identification and treatment purposes for Alexandrites. The lab itself is well recognized in Asia, and maintains an office in New York. Lastly, SSEF is an important lab that must be mentioned. The Rare Gem does not use SSEF often due to their infrequent presence in the US.
The purpose of a gemstone lab report is to ensure that the authenticity is verified, and the quality of a gemstone is evaluated and characterized.
Lab Reports typically disclose the following details: Weight (usually in carats), Shape description, Measurements, Color description, Treatment (if applicable), Gem Species/Gem Variety, A Photo of the gemstone, and Origin (likely at an additional fee). Most importantly: all lab reports are provided on the basis of opinion made at the time the gem was submitted. Therefore, while reports are reliable, Gem Labs relieve themselves on liability for mistakes. While lab reports seem to be quite detailed, the most important piece of information to look for is: Enhancement or Treatment.
The American Gem Trade Association is well-known in the gemstone and jewelry industries for maintaining and educating the highest ethical standards in colored gemstones.
Although there are many types of treatments, the most valuable gemstones will always be ones that are free from any. As a rule of thumb, any gemstone that is enhanced will be less valuable than an equivalent one that is untreated. Since the inception of The Rare Gem LLC, we have prided ourselves on gathering only Natural Alexandrites, that is, without any type of treatment whatsoever. All the gemstones in our collection have been, and continue to be completely natural.