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Our Team Attending the Mid-September Hong Kong Jewelry and Gem Fair 2019

Our Team Attending the Mid-September Hong Kong Jewelry and Gem Fair 2019


Our gemological team will be attending events by De Beers Institute of Diamonds and talks by the Gemological Institute of America this September in Hong Kong til' the 24th of this month.

Three global jewellery shows are held annually in Hong Kong (in March, June and September), and the international trade often congregates here to do business, discuss and learn about new trends and challenges in the jewellery and gem industry. Our staff will undergo further collaborative development programs with De Beers in the field of lab-grown diamond analysis, as well as conduct Gemcamp's independent research on faceted coloured stones and diamonds currently in circulation.



Our main purpose would be for research and developmental programs. Networking and trend analysis are also key objectives for us this event. (*Gemcamp Laboratories is a third-party evaluator, and does not engage in any commercial buying or selling of gemstones. Neither do we recommend or discourage trade from any particular person, company or group.)

For any and all of our colleagues / visitors from the Philippines who will be in Hong Kong as well during this industry worldwide event, please stay safe and informed. The situation in Hong Kong may still involve some protests and rallies around the areas of Wan Chai and Mong Kok. We wish everyone a good show, and safe travels.

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Checking and Evaluating Your Diamond Jewellery at Gemcamp Laboratories

Checking and Evaluating Your Diamond Jewellery at Gemcamp Laboratories


"Gemcamp laboratories offer third-party diamond and colored stone evaluation and examination services for both your loose or jewelry-mounted gemstones."

Diamonds are evaluated for the 4C's (color, clarity, cut grade and carat weight), as well checked using advanced detection procedures to see whether they were naturally mined or artificially created by man (i.e. CVD / HPHT growth methods).

Our testing services (for 2019 schedules & onward dates) are only for transparent fully faceted-cut gemstones, but not for raw, rough or partially-cut gem materials. We currently now only maintain instruments and equipment for the testing of transparent faceted gemstones (and transparent cabochons) for this year and potential dates beyond. Our institute offers gemological reports for both coloured gemstones and diamonds, encompassing both gem identity and quality grade opinion.

Each stone is thoroughly examined by a resident (GIA-graduate) gemologist in front of you, for complete ethical transparency, convenience and your own peace of mind.



We make use of photoluminescence analysis via spectrometry to check for natural diamond identity versus the prevalent lab-grown diamonds on today's market. Lab-grown diamonds created by the CVD and HPHT growth methods are very difficult for even experienced jewellers to detect, as one requires special equipment and field knowledge for their proper separation. Basic jewelry testers such as those DIY pen-type machines that rely on thermal conductivity or electrical conductivity (moissanite testers) will not be able to differentiate lab-grown diamonds from natural ones. Likewise the presence of just any type of black inclusions, does not conclusively identify a stone as natural diamond. Both natural and man-made diamonds can possess black coloured inclusions. The specific type of inclusions can sometimes help in the verification process, but an experienced gemologist is needed to properly check and evaluate these traits. Guesswork by jewellers or collectors can often lead to very expensive mistakes in the trade.

Our laboratory does not buy or sell gemstones of any kind, thereby eliminating the potential for bias when conferring our independent grading opinion on your diamonds or diamond jewelry. We also do not specifically recommend or discourage sale for any ethically represented gemstone being marketed or sold by any one person, group or retailer. Our employees and staff gemologists do not accept any type of monetary incentive or commission for adjusting or increasing grade opinions, all evaluation results are accomplished completely independent of the client, potential buyer or any other grading institute, retailer or group.

With the rise in quantity of undisclosed lab-grown diamonds worldwide and in the country, we provide an additional level of checking for consumers and stores alike, to help them gain a better understanding of their precious gemstones and jewelry investments.
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The De Beers Centenary Diamond, Once Insured for Over 100 Million Dollars in 1991

The De Beers Centenary Diamond, Once Insured for Over 100 Million Dollars in 1991


Among the most historically remarkable diamonds ever to be discovered, few among them match the grade and quality of the De Beers Centenary Diamond. This 273.85 carat gemstone was one of the legendary natural diamonds to be found at the famous Premier Mine (later renamed to the Cullinan Diamond Mine). Graded at a D color, due to the sheer absence of visible color in the stone, the Centenary also possesses a remarkably high clarity level, with no inclusions visible at 10x magnification.



Cut by noted diamond personality- Gabi Tolkowsky, and his team, the Centenary diamond was even given a special room specifically purposed for the contouring of its design and shape. This facility was located underground at the De Beers Diamond Research Laboratory (Johannesburg, South Africa), and the company brought in engineers, electricians and additional experts in the field of diamond cutting, in order to help sculpt out one of the most important diamonds of that time.



Over a period of 154 days, about 50 carats of unwanted or broken diamond material was removed from the stone. After going through 13 different designs, it was eventually decided that the Centenary would take on a modified version of the heart-shape cut (with the groove absent). In 1991, during the month of February, the diamond was finally finished with a total of 247 facets. The Centenary was once insured at over 100 million US dollars during the same year of its unveiling. Today it's recorded as one of mankind's most beautiful gemstones; a fine rarity that rivals the beauty and magnificence of other famous diamonds like the Cullinan I.

(The main article image thumbnail is actually a precise replica of the Centenary diamond cut by John Hatleberg and photographed by Tony Pettinato)
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A Look at Three Curiously Original Diamond Cuts

A Look at Three Curiously Original Diamond Cuts


Diamond cuts are plentiful in today's diverse jewelry trade, however here are three unique cutting styles and shapes that some collectors may not have seen yet. These original ideas are already on many market sectors in different countries, but so far we have not yet seen any pass through our doors here in the Philippines.







(Photography: Diamonds by Lauren, Design: Henri Daussi)

Henri Daussi Loots invented the curious 'stallion head' or 'horse shaped' diamond cut, which for a time went viral due to its peculiar yet novel appearance. More common than most people would expect, some laboratories in Europe actually see a lot of these being submitted for grading. It's sometimes called the 'Horse Brilliant', although others simply consider it as a free-form shape with a brilliant faceting style. Perhaps there is a cutter out there who has experimented with creating a full-bodied horse cut, however this may entail thinner details that could possible be difficult because of durability issues.


(Cut Design: George Saltzman)

Decades ago, George Saltzman first created his 'Christmas Tree' cut, which made use of the popular seasonal image to sometimes appropriate irregularly shaped or broken rough diamonds into a style that was more relatable and original. This cut had a niche market and was considered as an interesting conversation starter for jewelry afficionados who collected one for themselves, although today it isn't widely seen in the U.S. anymore, as most cutters who later adapted similar designs focused more on cheaper colored gemstones such as london blue topaz.



(Photography: Schreiner Fine Jewellery)

In the mid 1990's, another specialty cut was co-created by a buddhist and (Antwerp-based) Oliver Korn. It was dubbed the buddha cut, and showcased the silhouette of a seated buddha figure, with the culet / center situated at the middle chest area of the figure. This cut became widely popular with asian markets due to appropriation of both religion and culture into this specific design. 33 crown facets and 21 pavilion facets made up the initial patented cut. There was also a requirement that the head area of the buddha cut remain inclusion-free, which was passed on to the gem cutters who worked with the design.
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Checking for Undisclosed Lab-Grown Diamonds in Metro Manila Society

Checking for Undisclosed Lab-Grown Diamonds in Metro Manila Society


Whether you're for or against the recent hype on lab-grown diamonds, the product's presence is undoubtedly increasing in many parts of the world. From our own experience, 2017's roster of visitors to the laboratory consisted mostly of people needing to separate moissanite from diamond. A handful of HPHT and some CVD grown diamonds were also seen, but most of the year's requests centered on differentiating diamonds from their imitations.



From 2018 to 2019, more local and foreign visitors to our laboratory seem to be worried about the rising number of undisclosed lab-grown diamonds in the country. The number of HPHT and CVD lab grown diamonds we've seen here at the laboratory (brought for checking by third-parties) has risen quite a lot during the past two years. Photoluminescence analysis and spectrometry-based testing instruments help our gemologists detect and separate naturals from man-made counterparts, however not everyone is properly informed on what lab-grown diamonds are, and the means needed to detect them.

Note that standard 'DIY' diamond or jewelry testers (those that are thermal and electric conductivity based) cannot separate lab-grown diamonds from natural ones. This is because lab-grown diamonds are made up essentially of carbon atoms crystallised in the isometric / cubic crystal system, just like natural diamonds. They are essentially also diamonds by chemistry, the only difference is their artificial origination due to the efforts of human beings.



Lab-grown diamonds do have substantial value, way above the current prices of imitations like cubic zirconia or moissanite, but their values are typically well below those of natural diamonds at the current time. This is just what we've observed ourselves during visits to international trade fairs, and constitute our opinion only on the matter. From what we've seen, wholesale cost rates of lab-grown (CVD, HPHT) diamonds are about 40% to 60% lower than equivalently graded natural counterparts. Lab-grown diamonds, despite their name, should also not be confused with gemological labs (which only hold the purpose of evaluating third-party gemstones).

Lab-grown diamonds are beautiful products in their own right, as long as they are sold ethically with proper disclosure. They should never be sold as 'natural diamonds', because buyers would most definitely feel deceived regarding their origin.

Take note that many sellers on the market use the term 'real' in their marketing pitch for these diamond products. Buyers must be careful with this descriptor as it might have subjective interpretations by different people. If someone defines a 'real' diamond as simply crystallised carbon (cubic) or basically by essential chemical standards, he might advertise lab-grown diamonds under that notion of understanding. On the other hand, if an opposing person defines a 'real' diamond as needing to have come from natural geological processes, then he may not agree that a lab-grown diamond be called 'real'. It's a tricky situation, since terminologies like this are not universally understood by people exactly in the same way.



We ourselves here at the laboratory try to refrain from ambiguity, and use the two descriptive terms "natural" and "lab-grown" instead (as much as possible) when referring to diamonds. These words are much more clearly defined, so that people do not get confused about the origins of their diamond.

If the term 'real' is used, a statement of accompaniment- such as 'real diamond by chemical definition, but created artificially by man', should at least be present for better ethical transparency.

If you are purchasing a diamond or diamond jewelry and the vendor describes them only with the words real or genuine, it's always still advisable to further ask them if the diamond(s) are natural or lab-grown. This should be done respectfully of course, just to be certain that all parties understand the product on equal definitions without subjective interpretations.

Gemcamp Laboratories does not create, produce, buy, or sell lab-grown diamonds or natural diamonds. We also do not recommend or discourage sale from any specific seller, vendor or business.
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