A question of origin: Romancing the stone
May 6, 2021

The origin of a gemstone, namely the geographic location at which it was extracted from the earth, has for years posed substantial scientific challenges to the gemmologists who are called on to make definitive judgements. This is especially so because, when the gems are cut and polished, they bear only a fleeting resemblance to the rough stones from which they were formed.

But whereas origin was once considered a relevant factor only for a handful of high-end coloured gemstones, such as Burmese rubies or Kashmir sapphires, where a favourable finding could add a premium to the asking price, the greater focus today on supply chain integrity and traceability means that it is more relevant than ever before.

And the stakes are also considerably higher. For whereas earlier a favorable origin finding would almost inevitably increase a stone’s marketability, today an unfavourable finding in terms of the location’s geopolitical status could have the exact opposite effect.

The challenges of gemstone origin, technologically and scientifically, but also in terms of marketing, sustainability and traceability, was the subject of the next Jewellery Industry Voices webinar, entitled “A Question of Origin: Romancing the Stone,” May 6, 2021.

The panellists were Dr Michael S. Krzemnicki, Director of the Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF in Switzerland, an organisation that for many years has conducted extensive research on gemstone origin; Monica Stephenson, founder of the jewellery blog idazzle.com and the responsible gemstone company ANZA Gems in the United States; Richa Goyal Sikri, a strategist, journalist and storyteller specialising in gems, diamonds, and vintage and contemporary jewellery, who is based in Singapore; and Dr Assheton Steward Carter, CEO of TDI Sustainability, an advisory firm to Fortune 100 companies and a specialist on sustainability, compliance, standards and mineral supply chains, who is based in the United Kingdom.

The seminar was co-moderated by Edward Johnson and Steven Benson, and CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri will welcome participants



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