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The Science of Gemology in Metro Manila

While gemology is an increasingly important field of study in many western countries, its presence here in the Philippines is still young. Many of the jewelry-buying clientele often express their frustrations to us regarding their own possessions, which occasionally have turned out to be imitation stones or synthetic counterparts of other stones. We here at the laboratory, help them to identify, grade, verify and appraise their diamonds and gemstones so that they can obtain assurance in what it is they have.

A common issue that occurs at the lab, is a blunt confusion between simulants (lookalike material), synthetics (atomically same, but man-made material) and natural (earth-mined) gemstones. This is something that our gemologists try to explain to evert client who seeks reassurance in their own understanding of gemstone classifications.

Many also seek information regarding cultured pearls. What are they? Are these pearls not natural? Does it mean that if they were grown by man, they don't possess the same value as wild-caught pearls? We've talked a bit about cultured pearls in a previous blog article, detailing how 99% of the fine pearl jewelry market is actually made up of cultured pearls from the 4 major species- South Sea, Tahitian, Akoya and Freshwater types. Cultured pearls can range from being commercial in value (such as rice pearl strands) to very expensive in cost (such as 25mm Golden South Sea strands). Just because someone says that a strand of pearls is "cultured", it does not possess a high value. Many of today's most illustrious pearl necklaces come from cultured pearl farms. This is different from 'cultured gemstones or diamonds', in the sense that cultured pearls still require the participation of host oysters or mollusks, who provide a very biologically-random factor in their production, making rarity and scarcity a prominently residing issue.

Gemology is a Science that Safeguards the Public Trust Within the Jewelry Sector, However Not Everyone is Aware of Its Growing Benefits for Gemstone Buyers.

Synthetic, a.k.a. man made diamonds are also something that many people here in Metro Manila want to ask about. What does gemology say about these stones that have essentially the same chemical composition and structure as their natural diamond counterparts. Well, these stones can be easily identified by gemological equipments, but not with the naked eye. It's always best to have your stones checked with an independent gem laboratory for the best safety assurance. Standard diamond or moissanite testers will not be able to detect these stones, which currently retail at around 40% of the value stated for their equivalently graded natural counterparts.

Some clients this year were also puzzled at the presence of multi-colored versions of traditionally known gemstones. Sapphires for instance, are not always blue. They can be orange, yellow, pink, white, green among many other colors. Tourmaline, Topaz and Garnet can also come in many diverse colors, breaking the common misconception that these gemstones can be identified more easily by the specific color they're popularized in. Gemology takes into consideration, the scientific mineralogical properties that can be observed in the stones themselves. This is how we are able to help clients find certainty in the identity of their materials.

We are also planning to hold gemological workshops here in the Quezon City laboratory office (Philippines) come June. If you are interested in knowing more, or reserving a slot in the pending schedule, please inquire with our receptionist or gemologists on our facebook page:
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