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Gem Laboratory Reports for Emeralds

When looking at emeralds that cost a few thousand dollars or more (sometimes much, much more), there are always reports available for review. If there are no lab reports, the buyer can request one before purchase of the emerald and the dealer often covers the cost (for emeralds under $1,000 the buyer will most likely pay an additional fee).

Lab reports also list contact information for verification of the reports they generate. This certifies the authenticity of these particular gems for the benefit of both the vendors and the consumers.

For grading consistency, most labs follow similar practices to ensure accuracy and avoid conflicts of interest. How all this is executed does vary from lab to lab, including certain details of what is written in the reports.

When an emerald is rare and beautiful enough to go to auction, they will often have multiple lab reports. This does not indicate one lab is better than another, but functions as a second, separate gemological opinion to ensure authenticity.

Common Problems

Limited Color Definition – The reports from most of these labs only give the “Hue” of a gemstone. Meanwhile color is made of three parts: hue, tone, and saturation. Hue is the basic color, meanwhile the other dimensions of tone and saturation are ignored. This is not because they do not understand the importance of the other color dimensions.

  • Based on my own training at one of these labs (GIA specifically) they avoid giving as many details as possible to reduce their overall accountability and liability with any listed information. While the hue-only practice benefits the labs, it does not benefit customer confidence. I also take issue with how most labs do not include color-accurate photos of these gems, with some better about this than others.

Small, Spectacular Teams – Labs that are smaller only have a few gemologists instead of a network to double-check the grading for consistency. This also makes the turn-around time on the lab reports very long, and can create long and large wait-lists. It is also a problem for dealers being without stones for too long, since clients might request to see these in person while they are away and hurts the dealer’s image. The gemologists on these teams are usually spectacular and living gem encyclopedias, but this can create issues in grading consistency.

Here is a list of some of the most reputable gemological labs. For more details on parts of these answers, please scroll down below.

Labs G GIA SSEF GRS GAAJ AIGS GIT C. D LG
International Reputation Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes
Accredited Lab Gemologists Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes* Yes* Yes*
Multiple Teams Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No
Lab-Grade Equipment Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Thorough Color Criteria No No Yes No No No No Yes Yes
Trade Names Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Geographic Origin Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gemological Education Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No No
Lab Report with Origin, 2ct USD $700 USD $150 USD $920 USD $150 No USD USD $100 USD $50 USD $175 USD $110
*These particular labs are led by gemologists who are amongst the most knowledgable and accredited gemologists in the world.

Gemological Lab Credibility Factors

Established: 1923

Reputation: International

Staff: Experienced staff of trained gemologists

Equipment: Latest gemological equipment

Color-Grading Criteria: Limited to “Hue” - Trade names listed

Geographic Origin: Provides information about where the gem formed

Gemological Labs: Lucerne, Switzerland/ New York City, New York/ Hong Kong, China

Gemological Education: Offers courses in Hong Kong and Lucerne

Price for 2ct Full Gem Reports: USD $700

Established: 1931

Reputation: International

Staff: Experienced staff of trained gemologists

Equipment: Latest gemological equipment

Color-Grading Criteria: Limited to “Hue” - Trade names listed

Geographic Origin: Provides information about where the gem formed

Gemological Labs: Carlsbad, California / New York City, New York/ Hong Kong, China/ Antwerp, Belgium/ Ramat Gan, Israel/ Gaborone, Botswana/ Johannesburg, South Africa/ Surat, India/ Mumbai, India/ Bangkok, Thailand/ Tokyo, Japan

Gemological Education: Carlsbad, California/ New York City, New York/ London, United Kingdom/ Surat, India/ Mumbai, India/ Bangkok, Thailand/ Hong Kong, China/ Taipei, Taiwan

Price for 2ct Full Gem Reports: USD $150

Established: 1974

Reputation: International

Staff: Experienced staff of trained gemologists

Equipment: Latest gemological equipment

Color-Grading Criteria: Lists “Hue” and “Saturation” - No trade names

Geographic Origin: Provides information about where the gem formed

Gemological Labs: Basel, Switzerland

Gemological Education: Offers training in Basel, Switzerland

Price for 2ct Full Gem Reports: USD $920

Established: 1996

Reputation: International

Staff: Experienced staff of trained gemologists - But all reports are vetted by Dr. A Peretti.

Equipment: Latest gemological equipment

Color-Grading Criteria: Limited to “Hue” - Trade names listed

Geographic Origin: Provides information about where the gem formed

Gemological Labs: New York City, New York/ Paris, France/ Meggen, Switzerland/ Hong Kong, China/ Colombo, Sri Lanka/ Bangkok, Thailand

Gemological Education: None

Price for 2ct Full Gem Reports: USD $150

Established: 1965 ~ Tentative - This lab has technically been around since 1965, but their accredited research only goes back 40 years.

Reputation: Regional

Staff: Experienced staff of trained gemologists

Equipment: Latest gemological equipment

Color-Grading Criteria: Limited to “Hue” - Trade names listed

Geographic Origin: Provides information about where the gem formed

Gemological Labs: Tokyo, Japan/ Ramat Gan, Israel

Gemological Education: None

Price for 2ct Full Gem Reports: Not available in USD

Established: 1978

Reputation: Regional

Staff: Experienced staff of trained gemologists

Equipment: Latest gemological equipment

Color-Grading Criteria: Limited to “Hue” - Trade names listed

Geographic Origin: Provides information about where the gem formed

Gemological Labs: Bangkok, Thailand

Gemological Education: Offers courses in Bangkok, Thailand

Price for 2ct Full Gem Reports: USD $100

Established: 2004

Reputation: Regional

Staff: Experienced staff of trained gemologists, but limited staff

Equipment: Latest gemological equipment

Color-Grading Criteria: Limited to “Hue” - Trade names listed

Geographic Origin: Provides information about where the gem formed

Gemological Labs: Bangkok, Thailand

Gemological Education: Offers courses in Bangkok, Thailand

Price for 2ct Full Gem Reports: USD $50

Established: 2008

Reputation: International

Staff: Experienced staff of trained gemologists, but all lab reports go through Mr. Dunaigre

Equipment: Latest gemological equipment

Color-Grading Criteria: Lists “Hue”, “Saturation”, and trade terms

Geographic Origin: Provides information about where the gem formed, as well as Mr. Dunaigre’s personal, highly educated opinion

Gemological Labs: Switzerland

Gemological Education: None

Price for 2ct Full Gem Reports: USD $175

Established: 2014

Reputation: Regional - Evaluations Limited, only review Sapphires, Rubies, and Spinel

Staff: Experienced staff of trained gemologists, but there are only two people

Equipment: Latest gemological equipment

Color-Grading Criteria: Evaluates gems based on “Hue”, “Tone”, and “Saturation”, which also helps to standardize appearances of gems using trade terms.

Geographic Origin: Provides information about where the gem formed

Gemological Labs: Bangkok, Thailand

Gemological Education: None

Price for 2ct Full Gem Reports: USD $110

About Laboratory Locations

Many of these labs appear in the same locations like New York, Switzerland, and Bangkok, Thailand. This is because more gems go through these locations than anywhere else in the world, especially Thailand’s historic markets. Sri Lanka might lay claim to the titles of “Island of Gems” and have a “City of Gems”, but Bangkok is regarded as the “Gemstone Capital of the World”. It is important to note that Thailand has problems with gems being illegally smuggled into the country and sold.

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