Top GIA Fellow States Science Unable to Identify Diamond Origins

Dr. James Shigley, a distinguished research fellow at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), stated that it is unlikely to identify a diamond’s origin based on its physical characteristics. This is because diamonds lack distinctive visual features to determine their provenance, and their trace elements are difficult to analyze due to low concentration levels. Despite efforts to study diamond chemistry, it is challenging to pinpoint where the stone originated on Earth.

According to Dr. Shigley, studies have been limited in size and range of locations, making it difficult to determine the possibility of origin identification in the future. He mentioned that the GIA is successful in confirming the origin of diamonds through Diamond Origin Reports by matching polished stones to their rough of known provenance. This process is more akin to a chain of custody and has a success rate of around 90%.

During a recent episode of Rapaport’s GEMTalks series sponsored by the GIA, Dr. Shigley also discussed origin determination for colored gemstones and lab-grown diamonds, along with addressing questions from the audience. He emphasized that while identifying the origin of colored gemstones is more feasible, using physical characteristics to determine a diamond’s origin solely from studying a polished stone is currently impossible.

The GEMTalks LinkedIn Live session hosted by GIA showcases insights from industry experts, such as Dr. Shigley, who have extensive knowledge in gemology. By providing valuable information on gem and jewelry trade practices, the GIA aims to protect consumers and support the global industry through research, education, and laboratory services. For the latest news and analysis on the diamond and jewelry industry, sign up to stay informed.

By Samantha Johnson

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