Gemstone Certifications

AGL Emerald Brief. Photo by Embassy Emeralds.Gemstones certifications are an important tool in the gemstone industry for both buyers and sellers. Because a few unscrupulous dealers have introduced unethical synthetics and imitations into the market, people looking to buy gemstones must use due caution to ensure that the stones are what the dealer says they are. Sellers do too, but often they already know the legitimacy of their sources and instead may use certifications as a way to instill more confidence in their merchandise to generate sales.

Because of the cost of certifying a stone, certifications are not always practical. Therefore, gems without certifications should not be dismissed. Major laboratories charge hundreds of dollars for certifications and may charge even more for larger and/or finer gems. These costs are passed directly on to the consumer and dictates that most dealers will choose not to certify all stones in order to keep prices at an affordable level. Recently the American Gemological Laboratory began issuing lower cost certifications with different levels of certification that are becoming more and more recognized in the marketplace.

Recognition in the marketplace is important for many certifications, especially if you plan to resell a gem. Buyers interested in gems that have certifications must trust in the legitimacy of the certificate and the issuing authority or it is virtually useless. Untrained jewelers and self-interested parties often issue ‘certifications’ for their merchandise, but truth-be-told, these carry no weight amongst reputable buyers and sellers. A reputable and independent gemologist or laboratory must be used. Embassy Emeralds recommends the following laboratories and the independent gemologists trained by them in no particular order:

AGL – American Gemological Laboratories
AGS – American Gem Society
AGTA – American Gem Trade Association
AIGS – Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences
EGL – European Gemological Laboratories
GIA – Gemological Institute of America
IGI – International Gemological Institute

There are many, many more, but these are a few of the more recognized names in gemstone laboratories. We welcome any comments suggesting other labs and gemologists.

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