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After Cutting: The Second Largest Diamond in the World, Unveiled by Lawrence Graff

After Cutting: The Second Largest Diamond in the World, Unveiled by Lawrence Graff


A few years back (2015), the Lesedi La Rona diamond had just been uncovered as the world's 2nd largest gem-quality diamond. Its given name translates to 'Our Light' in the local Tswana language- the 1,109 carat stone was found in Botswanna, a source that has become famous for the production of many large diamonds throughout history.


Photography credit: Graff Jewellers

London-based jewelry icon Lawrence Graff purchased the diamond back in 2017 for about 53 million dollars. Since then, Graff has had 66 individually cut diamonds polished from the Lesedi La Rona, which initially close to the size of a tennis ball.



Last month, the largest cut stone was finally unveiled, weighing 302.37 carats. The faceted diamond was named the Graff Lesedi La Rona, maintaining the original stone's given name in part. The stone is now believed to be the largest 'square shaped emerald cut' diamond in existence. Mr. Graff commented in an article that their initial goal was to surpass the 300 carat mark for this stone, which was properly achieved by paying careful attention to the diamond as every procedure was being accomplished.



Prior to the release of this stone, many of the smaller diamonds cut from the original Lesedi La Rona had already been unveiled, possibly to give the public an impression into the diamond's slow journey towards the upper hierarchies of the jewelry world.
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The World's Most Beloved Gemstone- Diamond.

The World's Most Beloved Gemstone- Diamond.


Diamonds used to be marketed as many things, a girl's best friend, the stone that lasts forever, an ultimate symbol of enduring love. Whether or not you agree with the long-running sentiments surrounding the story of diamonds, you'll agree that among the world's many beautiful gemstones and treasures, it is by far the most famous.



This precious stone, known more for its brilliance and hardness rather than vibrant color, has been the center of our fine jewelry trade for many centuries now. Even in this day and age when mankind can atomically grow artificial diamonds, we still share in the marvel and desire for what a diamond can represent in our lives. You might be a collector, or maybe a jewelry design-creator, but the intrepid sparkle of diamonds draws you in to awe all the same.



Here in the Philippines, we evaluate and examine faceted diamonds this 2019. We check diamond jewelry as well, to help you understand more about your item's identity and quality, while also being fans of the stone ourselves. We do remain neutral when it comes to the appeal-debate between natural and lab-created diamonds. Our job is just to identify and separate the two kinds of diamonds so that you can properly know which category your stone belongs to, as they do have different price ranges in today's market.
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The Identification of Rubies, Sapphires and Emeralds

The Identification of Rubies, Sapphires and Emeralds


The “Big Three” as they’re often called, constitute the vast majority of colored gemstone sales across most international markets. Rubies are traditionally the most expensive among them, given similar quality levels, however in the U.S. sapphire is more frequently purchased by end-consumers.

Depending on your familiarity with gemstones and gemology, you might find it surprising to know that rubies and sapphires are very similar to each other on an atomic level. Both are composed of crystalline aluminum oxide, but are colored by different trace elements. Chromium is responsible for ruby’s vibrant reds, while iron and titanium cause the violetish blue hues of sapphire.



Identification of a gemstone species involves taking note of different gemological traits. When checking rubies for example, our gemologists here at Gemcamp factor in tests that determine properties like optic character, growth structures, birefringence, refractive index and many others. Each gemstone species has its own unique and definable values that allow gemologists to separate it from another similar looking species. Red spinel for example can look identically similar to ruby by just the naked eye, however its crystal structure is actually more symmetrical on an atomic level compared to ruby’s. This can be observed using a polariscope, giving our gemologists information that they can use to scientifically pinpoint a gemstone’s proper identity.

Emeralds are composed of different elements altogether, they are beryllium cyclosilicates. Here at the laboratory, we also look for clues and indicators of identity under the microscope. Mineral inclusions such as pyrite can help us separate natural emerald from man-made emerald- which can be created today using a variety of proprietary methods. Chatham and Tairus are two companies abroad who have pioneered the development of artificial gem growth. They regularly produce man-made emeralds among many other gem species.



Be careful when you’re looking to authenticate a gemstone. Know that two gems can overlap in both clarity and color. Sometimes more in-depth knowledge is required before you can properly separate man-made gemstones from their natural counterparts. Awareness of the different types of inclusions and their significance also helps.

Our laboratory also makes use of advanced instruments for tasks that go beyond microscopy or standard gemological tests. We use spectrometry based instruments for the detection and separation of natural diamonds against lab-grown (man-made) diamonds, which are also composed of pure carbon, with identical properties like hardness, luster and brilliance.
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Preparing Your Diamond Jewelry Before a Scheduled Appointment

Preparing Your Diamond Jewelry Before a Scheduled Appointment


Preparing your diamond jewelry for the laboratory's evaluation is encouraged before your appointment session. You can clean and wipe any build-up of grime or dirt that has been lodged into your jewelry mounting or accumulated over the years. Some mountings can be more difficult to clean than others, and some can also limit the viewing areas of their specific diamonds. Our gemologists will also use gem cloth blankets to clean the open areas of your stone before testing.



Most durable gemstones (diamond, ruby, sapphire) are quite acceptable of standard jewelry cleaners, however mild soapy water is still always the safest bet compared to any harsh chemical agents. Some people suggest using a soft-bristled toothbrush (with mild soap) to get into the tight spaces in the setting. Have care though when cleaning jewelry items with many small melee-mounted stones. Sometimes prongs can become loose. You wouldn't want any accent stones accidentally falling into the drainage.

Be aware of your gemstone's identity and any possible enhancements or treatments it may have gone through, as sometimes treatment procedures can lower durability, or create the potential for damage during some types of cleaners (i.e. steam or ultrasonic cleaners on heavily fracture-filled gemstones).



Since we make use of probe-type spectrometric instrumentation, we can check diamonds that are already mounted into jewelry. The detection of natural VS imitation VS lab-grown diamonds is done by our laboratory on both loose and jewelry-mounted diamonds on a routine basis. Grading is quite similar as well, but can have slight variances. Some apparent visual elements can appear slightly different for mounted stones, as the metal can influence reflected color hues or provide an aspect of visual contrast to the very subtle hue of a diamond. Likewise at times, some very complicated mountings can also hide certain areas of the stone from view.

Diamonds are meticulously evaluated here at the laboratory, so loose stones are weighed by a carat scale that is vibration and wind / air resistant. Mounted stones are estimated for carat weight using any existing measurable dimensions that our gemologist obtains. Be sure to know what you need from our service before setting the appointment, so we can better help you or let you know of our limitations. At the current time we only operate by appointment, so session dates and times have to be scheduled around 2-3 days prior. Our gemological staff shares in the widespread knowledge, care & appreciation for gemstone jewelry here in the Philippines.
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Not All Diamond Testers are Created Equally, Be Aware of Limitations.

Not All Diamond Testers are Created Equally, Be Aware of Limitations.


Be very careful when using basic diamond testers or DIY jewelry testers, whether at home or even at a jewelry shop. It's important to know the limitations of each instrument and what it can and cannot do. Pen-hold diamond testers measure thermal conductivity, they were invented a very long time ago in order to separate diamonds (which had a high thermal conductivity) from very common imitations of that time- cubic zirconia and glass. These testers were not made to distinguish between natural and lab-grown diamond. 




Later on, moissanite testers were developed, using technology that allowed you to measure the electric conductivity of a gemstone. This instrument was created specifically to separate moissanite from diamond, although it should be used with caution, by an experienced gemologist, as some moissanites are often tested as diamonds and vice versa, due to inconsistencies in the tester's calibration, which can change over time (as we've heard from several clients already). Moissanite testers also cannot separate lab-grown diamonds from natural counterparts.

Here at Gemcamp Laboratories, we test for natural diamond identity using an entire setup of lab-grade equipment, including a spectrometry-based instrument imported to the Philippines straight from the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, California. We also employ GIA graduate gemologists and equip them with more additional gemological tools, such as the 'GIA Professional DLscope' (gemological microscope) among many others.

Be aware that basic diamond testers or moissanite testers were not made to separate lab-grown diamonds from natural stones. Our advanced laboratory setup can easily separate HPHT and CVD synthetics from natural diamonds, even if they are mounted or set into jewelry already. We can also check for lab-grown rubies, emeralds and sapphires using a suite of instruments from GIA and System Eickhorst (Germany). Our gemologist always tests your item in front of you, so you can watch, ask questions and generally learn a bit more about your item as we test it onsite.


The human eye cannot spot the difference between the kind of lab-grown diamonds coming out into the market today. These are often created by using the CVD process (Chemical Vapor Deposition), which allows more and more manufacturers to create higher qualities of pure diamond, and sell them to the public at cheaper prices compared to natural stones. Laboratories like ours are fully equipped with the high end instrumentation needed to properly and accurately help you with these separations.
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