You may have heard of the phenomenon known as color-change, which is an evident visual effect seen in some species and varieties of gemstones. Today, we'll introduce you to some of the natural world's spectral mood stones, that seemingly transform in the ambience of different environments.

Color-change is most popularly noted to be a defining trait of the gemstone known as alexandrite. This stone is a variety of the chrysoberyl species, and remains to be the most expensive variant per equal quality characteristics. Alexandrite in its finest forms, can change from ruby-red to emerald-green depending on whether you view it under incandescent light (candle-light) or normal daylight. Top qualities can command tens of thousands of dollars, although synthetic variants (man-made versions) also do exist.

Next up, we have a variety of diamond that not many people are familiar with. These color-changing rarities have been termed as "chameleon diamonds" and change their color due to a combination of light and heat. Many are a subtle green, but can change into a vibrant yellow or brownish yellow when subjected to the said conditions. These diamonds are quite rare, and not very much is documented about their nature. Still, it's an interesting quirk to have, especially for the world's most famous gemstone.

Thirdly, we have color-change sapphire. Sapphire as you might already know, does not only come in the vivid blue colors that we usually associate them with. They belong to the mineral species known as corundum (along with their cousin- the ruby). While blue sapphire is colored by a charge transfer between trace atoms of iron and titanium, the presence of other elements can also induce a wider variety of colors in the mineral species. The presence of certain elements like chromium and vanadium have been associated with the color-change phenomenon seen in natural sapphires. Synthetic or man-made corundum is usually doped with different amounts of vanadium to create artificially grown color-change sapphires that can shift from a reddish purple at best, to a violetish blue in opposite lightings.

Be aware that aside from synthetic counterparts, glass can also be manufactured with trace elements that allow for color-change. This makes it possible to create imitations of these phenomenal stones, so have your gemologist take a look at your gems, to give an better opinion on the validity of their identities.
July 2018 - Sydney, Australia. Rio Tinto, one of the most famous names in the history if diamond mining, has just announced the unveiling of the largest fancy-vivid pink diamond in the world. The yearly auction event that the company holds, entitled the Argyle Tender, will host this pastel marvel during its upcoming 2018 show. The event will be comprised of 63 rare and exquisite diamonds, which together weight over 51 carats.

To those who are unfamiliar with the Argyle Pink Tender, it reigns as the most well-known auction for the sales of pink, purple, violet and red diamonds in the world. The main attraction this year, appropriately named the Argyle Alpha, weighs in at 3.14 carats as a finished rectangular step-cut gemstone (emerald cut). Along with this stone, five super-rare red diamonds will also be making an appearance at the event.

In the main article photo, the Argyle Alpha is accompanied by the Argyle Muse, which is a 2.28 carat oval-shaped purplish red diamond. This stone is also a record-holder for its color type, and was originally cut from a gigantic fancy-colored rough specimen which initially weighed 7.39 carats. These two diamonds promise to excite the bidding community, rivaling the excitement caused by last year's worldwide record-breakers- the Pink Star (72.1 million USD) and the Pink Promise (31.8 million USD) presented through Sotheby's and Christie's auction houses.

The Argyle Alpha will journey around the world, visiting a select group of high-profile buyers- during the next several months. Rio Tinto's suite of fancy colored diamonds will leave Sydney soon, moving on to places like Hong Kong and London, garnering bids till later on in the year.
The growing concern over separating man-made or synthetic diamonds from natural ones is well grounded on the fact that this gem species is one of the hardest ever to segregate visually, even for gemologists. In fact, for stones that are grown using the HPHT (High Pressure, High Temperature) method, exposure to the trade and processes involved with manufacturing synthetic diamonds allowed laboratory gemologists to take note of certain characteristics observable in grown stones. These include specific types of metallic looking flux residues, and peculiar looking growth marks that showed the difference in a stone's crystal-development history.

The HPHT method has been the staple of the jewelry industry for many years, and still accounts for the production of many of the world's synthetic diamonds today. Despite this, more and more technologically advanced companies have been working on (and developing proprietary advancements) the other method of diamond growing called Chemical Vapor Deposition or CVD for short. This type of synthetic diamond is much less likely to show visible traces of its synthesis today. The diamonds themselves are grown from flat sheets, by depositing material layer by layer from a carbonaceous cloud of gas (like methane).

Synthetic CVD diamonds have finally reached the point where their colors and clarities produced can be directly comparable to those of high quality natural diamonds. While synthetic diamonds sold on with open disclosure and honest documentation are very beautiful products, the problem lies in the sale of synthetic stones under the guise or label of 'natural diamonds'. These are two different categories of salable gems with two different price points in the trade, and therefore should not be mistaken for one another.

Gemcamp laboratories maintains both gemological instrumentation and advanced spectrometers that can detect both HPHT and CVD synthetic diamonds and separate them from natural counterparts. We combine the use of scientific equipment with the knowledge of our gemological staff, and experience gained throughout their years in the diamond trade. For visits to our laboratory, you can set up an appointment with us through our facebook page, in order to properly assess whether your diamond is actually synthetic (man-made) or natural.
For the delightfully selective at heart, a jewelry piece represents more than just luxury. It pronounces itself as a form of personal art, expressing volumes about an individual's taste and style. Most would agree that this could even be likened to high fashion, tailoring beauty to suite the originalities of every client.

(Imagery Rights: Van Cleef & Arpels' Studio)

The major design houses around the world, purposefully select the gemstones they use for their jewelry. Established designers are always on the lookout for the very best gems in terms of quality, color and cutting grade. This creates the barrier between fine jewelry and commercial pieces. The latter represents jewelry that is merely 'there as is', or bought and sold in mass quantities.

Selecting a sapphire for example, allows one to determine how he or she would like to position the piece of jewelry with regards to current market levels. An unheated cornflower blue sapphire from Sri Lanka would be an exquisite choice for the centerpiece of a high-end sculptural ring. On the other hand, a suite of beryllium diffused orange sapphires may go well with a more affordable but classic channel-set men's ring.

Choosing the gemstones for your jewelry is a time-consuming, but rewarding activity that allows you to expand your breadth of appreciation for the craft. You get to play a part in the creation of something that may be passed down from generation to generation throughout the course of your family's history.

It's an act that does not have to be limited to the design houses alone, or to retailers. Individuals can look for their own stones, and select those separately to bring to a jewelry manufacturer somewhere else. This mixing of sources is sometimes also the best way to get the optimum returns for your budget (although other times it can also cost you more.)

(Above: A Designer Watch set with Diamonds & Emeralds by Graff Diamonds)

Whether it's for someone else or your personal enjoyment, remember that nowadays people have an easier time finding loose gemstones to buy. The availability of high-end online merchants plus the access to several trade shows will give you a good reason to spend that extra time and effort in choosing that brilliant gemstone to set as the centerpiece of your jewelry.
As a proper third-party evaluation needs to be the most objective it can be, most international laboratories do not participate in the buying or selling of items they examine.

Gemcamp is no exception, our laboratory and its resident staff are prohibited from making purchases from anything brought in to the lab. We will also never offer you any gems for sale, which jewelry stores sometimes do in order to provide clients with alternative sale options after checking their items.

This is very important to remove the issue of bias. Selling jewelry may decrease the confidence of objectivity, where an owned-piece might for example, be described as sub-par compared to an item for sale.

The option for an organization to also buy off a piece of jewelry also posts the conflicting idea of: would they evaluate it honestly, if they are the ones going to buy it themselves? For these and many more reasons, laboratories like Gemcamp do not engage in any exchange of jewelry or gems. This practice in prohibition, as far as we know, is shared by other several other well-known labs around the world.

Gemcamp also does not own or operate pawnshops, loaning facilities which are becoming increasingly popular here in the Philippines. We are strictly a gemological laboratory that evaluates on a pure third-party standard.

For complete transparency in the disclosure of your items' evaluative information, we hold ourselves to the highest degree of strictness regarding this matter.
During the recent months, many of the laboratory's visitors expressed an intent of proposal with regards to the stones they brought in to have checked. Engagement rings are perhaps one of the most widely popular reasons people familiarize themselves with diamonds and the jewelry industry.

The currently long-standing market acceptance of diamond as the stone for engagement rings, has its roots in the landmark campaign of the De Beers Trading Company. They gave the public a vision of everlasting love, through associating marriage with diamond's unique natural properties. "A diamond is forever"- the popular slogan echoed throughout the decades by everyone who has ever felt passionate about the renowned sparkling gem, although we must ask ourselves the question: what more can we learn about the brilliance behind diamonds (and their lookalikes)?

Today we'd like to shed a bit of light on the stones most commonly used for engagement rings. A lot of people seem to show some confusion when it comes to stone-selection, and we wanted to share some information to help them understand the differences between popular choices.

First of all, what is known to be 'diamond', is divided into two significant categories today- natural diamond and synthetic (or man-made) diamond. Both of these are essentially composed of pure carbon (with some trace elements like nitrogen, which causes color). They also have an atomic structure that follows the isometric or cubic crystal system. Basically to cut things short, the main difference is that synthetic diamond is grown in a factory setting, and not mined from the ground.

This makes it very hard to differentiate the two, even for experienced gemologists, which is why laboratories like ours have a wide selection of spectrometry-based instruments and specialized gemological equipment to separate one from the other.

Natural diamonds, and synthetic diamonds may both be diamonds, speaking atomically, however their prices as we've come to observe- are not the same. In 2017, our research team inquired with several synthetic diamond wholesalers and retailers at the Hong Kong Gems and Jewelry Fair. Prices for synthetic diamond were still hefty, but only about 60% the price of a natural diamond counterpart with the same grade. Nevertheless, they were also very beautiful in their own right.

Next up, we have to talk about simulant diamonds. Now simulant diamonds are not the same as natural or synthetic diamonds. Simulant means 'imitation', and a simulant diamond in actuality is not a diamond, but something else entirely. It can be man-made, or mined from nature- but regardless of its source, it is not atomically the same as diamond.

The most popular man-made simulants used today are cubic zirconia and moissanite. Both of these can be easily separated by gemologists from diamonds. Some other people also prefer to use natural colorless stones as simulants- like colorless or white sapphire.

Do be very careful when buying a diamond engagement ring today. Because of technology, some people around the world do try to fool buyers into purchasing something that's not what they advertise. Natural diamonds and synthetic diamonds are of a particular concern, due to their difficulty of separation.

These days, many people also opt to have colored stones set into engagement rings. Princess Diana (and now Kate Middleton's) engagement ring had a large cornflower blue sapphire as its centerpiece, surrounded by smaller accent natural diamonds.

We've also seen some engagement rings that use phenomenal stones with interesting visual effects- such as color-changing sapphires, or cat's eye chrysoberyl. Even pearls are now used by some people as symbols of marriage, due to their natural feminine beauty and association with purity and grandeur.

Regardless of the stone you choose for your ring, make sure that it connects with you and your fiance's feelings toward one another. The greatest value in a marriage is not the worth of the stone, but the commitment and trust within the relationship.
Gemcamp laboratory recognizes the growing threat of undisclosed synthetic diamonds in Southeast Asia. Values between natural VS lab-grown or man-made diamonds are distinctly different, and therefore a clear separation is key to proper purchasing or selling.

The issue lies with the advancement of technologies used to create these synthetic diamonds, which essentially are also made up of carbon atoms crystallized in diamond's characteristic mineral structure.

Older synthetics, may faintly show tell-tale signs of their manufacturing process (hourglass zoning, remnant evidence of cuboctahedral growth, specific metallic inclusions, certain surface markings etc.), as we have previously seen in some specimens brought to the laboratory. These can be used by gemologists as aids for the detection of man-made stones, yes, however the diamonds being produced by companies today are getting much better shrouding themselves from gemologists.

People can now produce nearly strain-free specimens of D-colored, clear diamonds through developments in newer chemical vapor deposition processes and proprietary research.

There are now synthetic stones that can look indistinguishable from natural stones to the naked eye, and to the microscope. The only differences lie in minute, but measurable reactions to the electromagnetic spectrum- such as phosphoresence and selective absorption, often within invisible wavelength ranges. This has worried a lot of our visitors, who look to their jewelry not just as luxuries, but as investments for the future.

(Note that standard "pen-hold" or thermal-conductivity based testers, as well as electrical-conductivity type testers [i.e. moissanite pen testers] will not be able to separate synthetic diamonds from earth-mined ones. This is because their essential chemistry and crystal structure properties are the same with that of a natural diamond's. The complicated job of detecting one from the other is beyond the capability of these testers.

We here at the laboratory neither sell nor buy gemstones or gem-set jewelry, and so our only mission is to purposefully provide the Philippine public with the ability to discover the identities of what it is they are buying or already own.

At Gemcamp, we make use of spectrometric instrumentation, advanced detection software, and other gemological equipment imported from GIA in California, System Eickhorst in Germany, and many other reputable brands from around the world- leaders in the field of synthetic diamond detection.

We now add GIA's latest instrument released, to our lab's expanding roster of technical lab equipment. Our G.G.'s will make use of its additional capabilities, to further help the Filipino jewelry buyer gain certainty about his or her item's authenticity as a natural gemstone.

As described by the Gemological Institute of America, "The device uses sophisticated spectroscopy technology to distinguish natural diamonds—either loose or mounted—from synthetics and simulants."

This instrument will aid our existing line-up of machines to allow our GIA graduate gemologists the full capacity to detect and separate synthetic man-made diamonds from natural stones.

Again also, we would like to reiterate that there is nothing wrong or unethical about synthetic diamonds on their own. They are beautiful and valuable products that cater to a fast growing international market. Many reputable jewelers in several countries also make use of man-made diamonds in their original designs.

Problems only arise when synthetic diamonds are sold as natural diamonds, or without proper disclosure. As of our most recent research trip to the Hong Kong Jewelry fair, our gemologists have surveyed that man-made diamonds are being sold for about 40-60% the prices of equivalently graded natural counterparts. This is just data we've gathered on our own however, and we do not claim that it represents all valuation tables used worldwide. This is merely from our own observations and notes.

We urge the jewelry-buying population of the Philippines to have care and awareness for the items they seek to purchase. Because many types of synthetic diamonds are nearly undetectable by most visual facets as of late 2018, they are a favorite product-class of interest for potential fraudulent sellers.
Portugese supermodel Sara Sampaio is now the 'Green Lady' of Graff Diamonds. Sampaio, formerly a Victoria's Secret Angel, with an extensive work portfolio that collaborates with big names in fashion- such as GQ, Elle, Vogue and Glamour, has recently been cast as the new campaign face of the world famous diamond house.

In a dazzling ad campaign by the company, Sampaio showcases her natural flair and style in front of renowned photographer Patrick Demarchelier.

A Pair of 50 ct. emerald cut diamonds grace her ears, while she also flaunts a 35 ct. D-Flawless graded diamond ring. Each of the pieces, representative of the classic- yet magnificently large gemstones often portrayed by Graff.

(Editorial Article, Photo credits to Graff Diamonds and Patrick Demarchelier)

In the past, Lawrence Graff has garnered a widespread following for being one of the world's most active bidders on the topic of giant diamonds. Last year, he purchased the 709-Carat 'Peace Diamond' For $6.5 million US dollars and acquired the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona diamond, from Canadian mining company Lucara Diamond Corp. (valued at 53 million dollars).

Gemcamp labs do not endorse or recommend any retailer, jeweller or brand. Our news and editorial articles are only for trade updates in both retail and wholesale societies.
A shift towards Asia is brewing in the jewelry trade. Where in the past, fine 18 karat gold and diamond jewelry would traditionally be linked only to western countries like Italy, now the focus is on countries like Hong Kong, China and Thailand.

The tri-annual jewelry shows in Hong Kong boast the largest number of attendees from all over the world, with the third-part June expo beginning just a few days from now. The Hong Kong convention center and Asiaworld expo has hosted thousands of jewelry sellers and raw gemstone dealers every year, unveiling the newest trends and movements in the realms of design, gemology and luxury.

Thailand is currently deepening its growth as a processing or treatment hub for rubies and sapphire, with over 90% of stones passing through their facilities for heat treatment and other procedures. Although a premium value exists for beautiful untreated gemstones, it's quite normal today for even very expensive rubies to undergo some form of light heating. Certain other gems that are also routinely heated are aquamarine and tanzanite.

China's foray into the world of jewelry is no surprise, with a rise in their newly-rich population due to the fact that the country's economy has been evolving for many decades now. The buyers from China are growing more strategic and discerning in the type of jewelry they want, becoming more aware of issues like synthetic / man-made diamonds, gemstone treatments and faked certificates.

Asia's movement into the heart of the jewelry industry is met with mixed reactions from the international community, but the ease of travel to countries like Hong Kong, which was formerly under British influence, has made it easier for different nationalities to congregate and do business in the field.

(Editorial Article for Jewelry Trends in 2018, All Image rights belong to HKTDC)
Have you all watched the latest sequel to the Ocean's trilogy? Sandra Bullock's all-star team of female thieves concoct an ingenious plan to steal a 150 million dollar necklace from the renowned design house; Cartier.

The plan, involving Anne Hathaway's character Daphne Kruger, involved switching the original 6 pound diamond necklace with a fake, 3D printed or digitally machined from zirconium crystal- which many may link to the popular diamond imitation; cubic zirconia.

Now what most people don't know, but have probably speculated, is that even the real necklace depicted in the movie was actually a fake. Cartier took about 56 days to create the stunning piece of faux jewelry using several giant pieces of cubic zirconia and white gold.

The illustrious "Jeanne Toussaint" necklace was named after the brand's creative director (1930's), and was directly inspired by a former piece of jewelry created for the Maharaja of Nawanagar by Jacques Cartier, which shows that the movie's maestros wanted to incorporate a deeply historical and true-to-life feel for the masterpiece's aesthetics.

The movie budget would have skyrocketed by over 30 million dollars (more) had actual diamonds been used in-place of zirconia. Although despite the main piece being fake, several authentic diamond pieces actually make cameos throughout the film, especially during the scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Cartier had a lot of participation in the development of the movie, loaning several of their fine works on-site to create more realistic exhibition display scenes.