Many Filipinos have heard about book-to-movie adaptations, but here's something that's truly out of the box. Remember that 1960's film with Audrey Hephburn's character Holly Golightly? Breakfast at Tiffany's was one of the world's most iconic movies, and it went down in history as a true classic in the realm of cinematography. Now, the retailer that branded itself in the title, has created an experience for people to relive the motion-picture in a bold and unconventional way.



Tiffany & Co. opened the "Blue Box Cafe" for both jewelry buyers and movie fans to immerse themselves in the feeling of being part of the beloved 1960's film "Breakfast at Tiffany's'.

Located on the fourth floor of their flagship boutique in New York, the restaurant immediately received a widespread following from all walks of life. Many who came during their first days of service, had to be rescheduled, simply because lines were too long.



Hepburn's numerous fans, along with droves of enthusiasts and Tiffany collectors braved through the cold November snow, just to get a shot at booking a table during the bustling week.



Nathan Strauss from Tiffany & Co., said: “We’re continuing to see enthusiastic interest in the Blue Box Cafe, and are encouraging prospective patrons to make a reservation via Resy.”



In related news, Audrey Hepburn's Breakfast at Tiffany's script has recently sold for £630,000. This was about seven times the estimate given by experts in the trade. It was part of an auction led by Christie's in London. Alongside the sale, were many others from the actresses personal possessions, including a Tiffany bangle that reportedly went for over £300,000 and a colorless tiara she wore to a couple of movie premiers that sold for £43,750.

Images credit to Tiffany & Co. and Paramount Studios

Not as much people are familiar with red spinel, but almost the entire world knows about the majesty of ruby. Both of these gemstones can come in a brilliant scarlet red, reaching vivid saturation levels on a pure earth-mined and untreated condition. Of course, those would be the top qualities of these gem varieties, and thus would command a hefty price in the industry.

To those who have seen the rarer fine qualities of red spinel, you must already be familiar with its likeness to ruby. The general trade also prizes spinel for its brilliant colors and fine luster. Its beauty is the favorite of many gemstone connoisseurs around the globe- and up until the 19th century, a vast majority of the general public actually believed this red gemstone to be ruby itself.

The advent of gemology and a better understanding of crystals gave way to the separation between these two gem varieties (which also belong to different species). Here, we will take a quick look at some of their differences.

First of all, rubies are a variety of corundum. This gem species belongs to the trigonal crystal system, is doubly refractive and will show "doubling" under strong enough magnification.

Spinel is a another gem species altogether, which belongs to the cubic crystal system. It is singly refractive, and therefore will never show any kind of "doubling" under magnification.

Doubling refers to the visual "duplication" of back facets or inclusions when you look through the gemstone's interior, provided you are not looking down an optic axis direction.

A polariscope can help you separate ruby from red spinel simply by observing if your red stone "blinks" or not as you turn it full circle under crossed polars. Ruby will do this because it is an anisotropic stone (DR), while spinel will not.

Ruby's hardness as the mineral species corundum is also rated at a 9 on the Moh's scale, while spinel ranks at an 8. Both gems are very hard with optimum durability traits.

When mining for them, rubies are most commonly found as hexagonal tablet shapes, while spinels could resemble partial or whole octahedral shapes.




Their specific gravities are also different, with spinel ranging at 3.58 to 3.61 and ruby at 3.9 to 4.1.
Some people are able to heft this difference by bouncing gemstones on their palms, but the more accurate way to determine SG would be using a scale with a hydrostatic attachment. You could also use SG heavy liquids at your preference.

Natural, Untreated Rubies Will Always Command Higher Prices Compared to Spinels of Equivalent Color Intensity and Overall Quality.


Separating ruby and spinel can also be supported by using a refractometer. Spinel has an RI value of 1.719, and shows a singular value (therefore there is no birefringence observation). Ruby on the other hand, shows RI values of around 1.762 to 1.770. This simply means that if you view the refractometer's scale while turning a polarizing filter in front of the viewer, you will see that ruby's RI value will change upon a 90 degree rotation. This value will first be around 1.762, then change to 1.770 upon the turn.

Both red gemstones are extremely remarkable, and can show us specimens of undeniable beauty and earthly rarity. Many people will agree that while they can often look very similar, an untreated ruby will usually have a much higher price compared to a red spinel of its equivalent quality. This is true especially in the finest hierarchies of their color and clarity grades levels.





Red diamonds have always been some of the rarest and most beautiful variants of diamond. It ranks as one of the top picks in price and exclusivity, when pit against other fancy colors of the gem, such as the more common- pinks, yellows and browns. Today we're taking a look at another legendary gemstone, making its way into the archival records of our jewelry industry.



Rio Tinto, one of the largest diamond mining companies in the world, presented the largest red diamond eve found from its Argyle mine in Australia. The Argyle has already gained a widespread following for being a premier source location for pink diamonds- with the company holding the 'Argyle Tender', a grand auction for many of its fancy colored diamond finds (predominantly pink colors in the finest lots).



This 2.11 ct. radiant-cut fancy red diamond, is simply ethereal in its brilliance and splendor. Named the "Argyle Everglow", it has recently been acquired by Optimum Diamonds LLC, for an undisclosed amount, along with winning another lot from the tender- the "Argyle Liberte", a 0.91 ct. violet colored diamond.


Red diamonds are much more rare then their colorless counterparts of the same size and clarity, however if you're looking for more affordable alternatives to the stone, some jewelry dealers do trade in treatment-enhanced red diamonds, where the stone itself is indeed a genuine diamond, but the red color was introduced via artificial processes at a laboratory. These would command significantly lower prices than their naturally colored counterparts, but are still worth a good value in terms of investment and appreciation.

Here in the Philippines, red colors of diamond aren't as frequently seen in many jewelry shops, but collectors of rare gemstones are quite familiar with the beautiful variety. Jewelers mostly concentrate on keeping inventories of colorless diamond, as these are probably the most known and appreciated kind of diamond within the high-end shopping districts of Metro Manila.

Photo credits to the Argyle Mine, Rio Tinto and its photography team & representatives.
It's enough of a recurrence to note that many Filipinos seeking out gemological evaluation for their property, do so because the items currently in their possession were passed down to them from previous generations of their family. Inheritances, often called 'mana', or 'pinagmanahan' in the local Tagalog dialect, can sometimes be very tricky to self-examine, since no information was given as part of the acquisition, unlike when you buy a wedding ring or diamond bracelet from a jewelry store, the staff detail the item's characteristics to you using the best of their knowledge.



Occasionally, people can have hopes that the piece of jewelry they've just inherited, could fetch a large sum of money. The opposite is also true, in the sense that a recipient of an item could doubt its authenticity and therefore its value. This is particularly sensitive, when it comes to equally or proportionally dividing inheritance items among several parties. How would you divide things in a respectable, value-based equality without first knowing the worth of the items to be split?

Proportioning Inheritance Lots Fairly Can Be Very Challenging When Faced with Unknown Item Values. We Help by Providing Information Critical to Best Handling these Situations with Proper Awareness and Transparency.


Gemological laboratories like Gemcamp, have been able to help alleviate some of the stress and risks associated with inheritance division. We are indeed able to identify and valuate your various pieces of inherited jewelry or gemstones, so that your family can have a clear sense of their objective and financial worth in today's current markets.

It's also important to be aware of certain historical facts when it comes to inherited jewelry. Some items that were acquired by ancestors, were most likely cut or manufactured several decades ago. Certain sciences and technologies did not exist in those times. For example, for a long stretch of time, ruby and spinel were once considered to be the same stone. It was the advent of scientific gemology that separated these two gem species from each other by studying their chemical / atomic, optic and geological properties.

Simulant gemstones, such as flame-fusion corundum (ruby, sapphire) had also existed over a hundred years ago, so while gemology is a fairly new science- it's vital to remember that the intention of creating fake gemstones, has been around for quite some time. It's everyone's responsibility to know more about the precious treasures in their possession so that they can act accordingly in safeguarding, sharing or trading these items with the rest of society.

One of the many things you should have as a gemologist (or even a jeweller) is access to higher magnification. While a loupe is sufficient for a lot of things like clarity grading or quick referencing, sometimes you may need more in order to observe smaller inclusions or subtle growth marks in a gemstone.

The reason why gemologists need to use magnification to view such tiny or mild interior characteristics is because much of the evidence used in gem identification is not be readily seen by the loupe or the human eye. These could be gas bubbles, curved striae, flux inclusions or a number of many other things that dictate the true identity of a natural, synthetic or treated gemstone.




Most laboratories have at least one gemological microscope, either a standard binocular one or a trinocular one (with a tube for the camera) that can zoom to about 40x or 64x. This is essential for better capabilities in inclusion observation for all gemstones.

Now, the microscope is made up of different parts. We have the head, which is usually where the optics system is held. This would be a series of mirrors and lenses that link the objective lens to the oculars so that you can view a larger image of your item. Many people would probably say that the head is the most costly section of the microscope to replace.

Most Gemologists' Favorite Instrument is the Binocular Gem Microscope, as It Allows Them to Immerse Themselves into a Miniature World of Crystal Inclusions, Vibrant Reflections and Opportunities for Deductive Identification.


The objective lens is the lens that is closest to your item, while the oculars or eyepiece lenses are those that are closest to your eyes. Aside from these, the microscope head also usually hosts a know or two. One knob is called the focus knob, which allows you to sharpen the visual field you see, while the other knob would be for zoom magnification.

Most gem microscopes use a rolling zoom capability where turning the knob creates a gradual zoom. This is unlike other microscopes from industries such as microbiology where multiple ocular lenses are used for different magnification powers.

The placement platform is beneath the microscope head, and this is where the gemstone clip holders are usually set. Someone using a pair of tweezers to grasp a gem would also want to rest them on this surface for steadier viewing.


The microscope's iris diaphragm is situated below where your gem would be positioned. This part allows you to manually limit the amount of light you need for illumination. Another similar part is the baffle, which is a small cover that can be used to switch your set up from brightfield to darkfield lightings.

The electronics of a microscope are usually housed in its base. This area also houses the light well or light source, where the main bulb is positioned.

The microscopes used in gemological laboratories also employ 5 different types of lighting modes. Each one used for specific purposes in the deduction of gemstone identity.

1. Darkfield illumination - The microscope's "baffle" (cover beneath the gemstone placement area) is closed, allowing light beams to enter the gem from its sides instead of directly from the bottom. This method of illumination allows us to see a gem's interior characteristics much better. Most inclusions will be lit well for observation, even smaller ones that might have been missed if viewed in normal lighting.

2. Brightfield illumination - The microscope's "baffle" is open, allowing light to pass freely through the gem and into your eyes. Many use this mode in conjunction with a partially open iris diaphragm (circular opener above the baffle that looks like a camera shutter). This is to limit the amount of light that is let out from the light well.

3. Reflected light - This makes use of an external overhead lamp that usually emits daylight-equivalent or fluorescent light. It's often used for viewing the surface condition of gemstones or for evaluating the nature of any fractures and blemishes present.

4. Fiber optic illumination - This type makes use of a fiber-optic tube attachment or an external fiber-optic lighting machine. It allows you to direct a focused beam of light (sometimes cold light) at any flexible angle, in order to view specific parts of your gemstone's interior.

5. Diffused illumination - Here, you would normally use either a diffusal plate, translucent white plastic or even a sheet of paper to manually diffuse the light coming out from your microscope's light well in brightfield mode. This particular setup is good for viewing subtle zones of color, such as those often seen in synthetic blue sapphires or lattice diffused corundum.

A microscope is very useful for many various reasons, and a good gemologist knows how to use one to its full advantage. Such a tool is ever-present amidst the scientific suite of instruments you will find at a gemological laboratory.
Many wonder about the current jewelry preferences of budding Filipino collectors and style aficionados from across the urban landscape. Most might tell you that common knowledge dictates diamond to stand out as a wide-spread favorite among the socialites of Metro Manila's bustling gala scene. This has been true for decades to be fair, and yet nowadays there are more and more people coming into the laboratory seeking help with assessing their colored stone jewelry items. We've been seeing rubies, sapphires, emeralds, jade, aquamarine, tanzanite and many other illustrious varieties of gemstone material. Occasionally some of them turn out to be synthetic after careful examination by our GIA graduate gemologists, however the ones that hold their identities as natural gems, are then also tested for the presence of treatments or enhancements. Procedures that improve the apparent clarity or color of gems, are a recurring observation in many of the commercial-to-mid quality stones we take into the laboratory.





Gemstone Color is Composed of Hue, Tone and Saturation.


Colored stone grading, unlike diamond grading, is a little less universally standardized in comparison. Despite this, a general consensus equates that stones of a more intense saturation, belonging to certain hues (and with more appealing tones) usually trend higher in the pricing scale. At the laboratory, we make use of the alphanumerical codes taught to gemologists at the Gemological Institute of America, each code represents a color-influencing trait of a gemstone. 'vslbG' for example, is an acronym for 'very slightly bluish green', one of the 27 possible hues assigned to gems on our report. Tone on the other hand, is depicted as a single digit number, ranging from 2 (very light) to 8 (very dark). Similarly, saturation stands on a scale as well, with grades ranging from 1 (grayish or brownish) to 6 (vivid). These three color trait indicators, give us guidance on how to properly evaluate the worth of colored stones, in coordination with other aspects like clarity, cut and carat weight.





At the laboratory, based in Quezon City, our G.G,'s are specifically trained to accommodate concerns from both the local and international gem trade. We provide assistance with gemstone identification in two forms- verbally delivered results or printed gemological reports. There are instances where people just want to find out or gain personal assurance about the identity of their item, and do not need printed documentation. Verbal results will save them on time and laboratory fees.





If you're in the area of Metro Manila, or nearby, and need your jewelry items examined for authenticity, please drop us a message on Facebook to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced gemologists.


A new trend in the jewellery + fashion world today is the usage of "sliced" a.k.a. "ice" diamonds. These are diamonds that exhibit a natural looking appeal with hints of warm color and the presence of inclusions. Their reception is quite divided in the market. To some, they represent diamond qualities that don't belong in traditional grading scales. They are often just below the fancy colored diamond scale's saturation level requirement, or sometimes just too included to consider making a grade in the clarity scale used by the classic diamond trade.



Others however, believe that they show a charming and rustic appeal- exemplifying the earthy colors of a natural environment. Some jewellery houses and fashion labels market these diamonds as fashion-forward and "true to their origin".

Many stones are often left uncut or partially cut. A certain percentage of them might also be faceted in many older or non-classical styles such as the rose-cut or the freeform cut.



Heavily Included Diamonds are Often Fashioned Into Designer Cuts and Termed as Sliced Stones.


Debates about the investment potential of these diamonds are a hot topic in today's gem trade. Many "purists" believe that these stones just classify as I3 graded low-color stones by the current grade level standards set by gemological institutions. The opposition believes that they should be seen and evaluated using a different set of criteria, similar to how raw uncut minerals are often valued for their unique inclusions or contours.



In the end, a diamond's value is both concrete and perceived to be honest, just like most items of luxury. The world considers it concrete because a large portion of the global jewellery trade would pay a certain specific amount for availability of possession, but logic also considers it as a perceived value due to the fact that diamonds do not really serve a true utility-based purpose.

So all in all, if you are looking to purchase these 'sliced' or 'ice' diamonds, our own personal opinion would be to do so with the purpose of taste over value. Buy them if you connect with what they represent visually, rather than for any long-term investment chance. Most investment mechanisms in the diamond trade tend to follow the GIA grading scale for color and clarity, and these stones seem to exist in a world apart from the traditional views.

Everyone is familiar with diamonds. They're sparkle, brilliance and fire are among the most beautiful visual effects in the gemstone world. Most people think of the perfect diamond like a miniature chandelier, glistening with a clear yet breathtaking transparency.

Sometimes though, we do find beauty in the exact opposite of a classical ideal. The same can be seen in the recent appreciation trend for black diamonds. These dark, almost bewitching stones have added their own appeal to the talents of many fashion forward designer brands and jewellery houses. Their sharp, ebony luster seems to cut through the usual conventions of how diamonds are normally seen.



Most Black Diamonds in Today's Jewelry Markets are Safely Irradiation Enhanced to Create the Darkened Color.


Though despite their reception, a lot of people don't seem to understand what black diamonds are from a gemological stand point. Many don't even think that they're real diamonds at all. Others assume they're some kind of glass or obsidian gem that was faceted in the round brilliant cutting style.

Here we'll take a quick look at the black diamonds currently circulating around the trade.

Yes, there are many imitations, but let's define the legitimate black diamonds that reputable dealers supply to the general public today. They are indeed diamonds, but what causes them to appear as jet black as they are?

A majority of black diamonds that are available today are actually the products of treatment. They are diamonds that have undergone irradiation procedures (and possibly annealing processes), to change their color into a very dark and deep green. This resulting color is so dark in fact, that it appears nearly pitch black to the human eye.

Treatments can also create very dark brownish orange colors in the same notion, so dark in tone that people label them as black diamonds.

There are also other ways to induce a black color in diamonds. Applications of high pressure and high temperatures (HPHT treatment) can be used on lower quality diamonds for several hours to induce graphite residues. Graphite is grayish black and is also composed purely of carbon. This instance will make the diamond appear to be black, but also compromises its durability to some extent.

There are also other ways of producing a very dark color within a stone so that it appears to be black, but these two methods are by far the most common techniques used in today's trade.

Natural black diamonds are present in the trade, but they're also quite rare. These have been observed to sometimes acquire their color from the presence of graphite microcrystallites that are so small, they can form along the natural growth planes of the diamond itself.

Almost all the black diamonds used in our current jewellery industry are products of some form of treatment.

Synthetic diamonds can also be treated to appear dark or black, and these cost less than the treated naturals.

Black diamonds that have had their colors caused by irradiation and annealing are not as high priced as colorless diamonds in general. Most people might say that a black diamond usually fetches about an eighth to a tenth of the price rate on an equivalently sized, middle-grade colorless diamond.

Nevertheless, these stones are a modern favorite of jewellery designers looking to play with the aspects of contrast and brilliance in their pieces. Black diamonds add an exemplary edge to the contemporary styles brought forward by newer fashions and trends.

Not everyone prefers to have gemstones that are faceted, carved or cabbed by manufacturers. Some collectors still prefer nature's own beautiful forms for their treasures. A lot of these collectors specifically seek out beautiful minerals that are still housed in a part of their natural earthy or rocky environment.

We call these 'en-matrix' or 'in-matrix' specimens, because they still have a portion of host rock housing them. Many beautiful pieces of in-matrix minerals can be found at famous museums all over the world. Other uncut minerals are also beautifully left as is, in order for the public to see how crystals can grow in nature.



Uncut Gemstones Can Command Very High Prices, Especially Pristine Specimens Still in Their Rough Rock Matrix.


The Devonshire emerald in the 'Vault' area of London's Natural History Museum is a good example of this. It shows us how emerald grows with the crystal habit of a hexagonal column, and makes it easy for people to observe due to its large size.


Mineral specimens can range from quite affordable to incredibly costly in terms of price. They can also be as small as your fingernail, to as large as a basketball player. It really depends on the individual collector on which types he or she would fancy to keep.

The size groups used in the market are normally as follows:

Thumbnail - These are the ones that can be as small as your fingernail, ranging from less than 1 cm to about 3 cm in height or width.

Miniature - A little bigger than your thumbnail specimens, rising from 3cm to a maximum of around 6cm in size.

Cabinet - Also called medium size by some people, this size range spans from 6cm to about 10cm.

Large Cabinet - This is a more general range stating a size over 10cm in height or width, however significantly large pieces are sometimes called "Museum Piece or Museum Size".

When shopping around for a beautiful mineral specimen, look for the piece that catches your eye within the first two seconds of a glance. They say that beautiful pieces have nothing to hide, and that they captivate public gaze quite automatically and naturally.


Pieces with large, or well-formed crystals usually cost more. Likewise those that form according to famous habits may also command high prices. Such examples would be double barrel-shaped blue sapphires, hexagonal columns of emerald and perfectly terminated diamond octahedra crystals.

Transparent clarity and saturated color also increase the value of most mineral specimens. Many connoisseurs will bid at auction for a fine en-matrix piece with beautiful vivid crystals that look like they've been unearthed with the utmost care and precision.

If you'd like to see the visual criteria for choosing excellent mineral specimens, why not visit a museum and ask if they house a geological or mineralogical collection. Usually the pieces here are carefully chosen by experienced buyers or curators for the museum's best interest.

A lot of you have heard about emeralds as the most popularly known green gemstone. Indeed they are, but in the recent decades there has been talk of another green stone slowly rising in both reception and price.


The green variety of grossularite; a mineral species that belongs to the garnet family, has been a recent favorite of jewelry design houses and high-end collectors alike. Its vivid grassy greens differ significantly from the cooler bluish tinge of most emeralds, however this lush viridian stone has some small perks over its green beryl rival as well.

Tsavorite Garnet Makes an Excellent Alternative to Emerald, Due to its Vividly Saturated Colors and Transparent Clarities.

Tsavorite, as the general industry has termed it, is a greenish garnet that possesses superior durability and clarity levels compared to those of emerald. The Gemological Institute of America classifies this variety as a Type II clarity stone, which means that it tends to have less inclusions than some other gemstones that belong to the lower level of Type III (such as emerald). This fact allows more Tsavorite garnets to possess both better transparency and less risk of breakage from internal issues compared to the vast majority of emeralds on the market.

Tsavorite garnet is notably one of the most expensive garnets in the jewellery industry today. Its current prices can rival those of middle to high-end emeralds, depending on the combination of qualities that a stone possesses.

The name Tsavorite came from the locality where this gem variety was first discovered, Kenya's famous Tsavo region (and the well-known Tsavo National Park). It was also named this way to promote better merchandising and set a difference between this garnet and the famously known Demantoid garnets that were very much in demand at the time.

The trace element that causes the green color in Tsavorite garnet is called vanadium. This element is also responsible for causing some emeralds to be green (such as certain stones from Zambia and Brazil), although many fine emeralds have their colors caused by the trace element chromium.

Although many Tsavorite garnets' possess a slight yellow component as part of their color composition, the finest specimens showcase a more pure green hue.


The commercial stock will usually appear to look more yellowish, similar to the colors often seen in calibrated peridot gemstones.

At rare points in the color spectrum, it may be possible for the hues of Tsavorite to intersect with the ranges of either emerald or peridot (or even some tourmaline stones), however the vivid greens associated with the Tsavorite variety are usually quite characteristic. It's a stone often noted to be less yellow and more saturated than peridot, while also straying far from the bluish hints that are commonly seen in emeralds.

Photography - Gemological Institute of America