September 23, 2017

Breakthrough in tracing the source of coloured emeralds

The Emerald Paternity Test is touted as a ‘true game-changer’ for the coloured gemstone industry. It is the first of a series of technologies and services developed by Gübelin Gem Lab dedicated to bringing more transparency into the gemstone industry, united under the Provenance Proof label.

Emerald Paternity Test

This breakthrough technology uses DNA-based nanoparticles that are applied directly at the mine, onto the rough emerald crystals. Developed specifically to survive the usual procedures, which an emerald undergoes before reaching the end consumer (such as cleaning, cutting, polishing, transportation, setting), the nanoparticles can be retrieved and decoded at any stage along the supply chain. This technology offers miners (both big corporates and cooperatives of small and artisanal miners), governments, trade organisations, industry watchdogs, jewellery brands and final customers a completely new level of transparency when sourcing emeralds, instilling confidence and creating trust.

This is the first time nanotechnology – the branch of technology that deals with dimensions of less than 100 nanometres – has been used in such context. The size of these particles makes them invisible to optical microscopes, therefore not affecting the appearance, quality and properties of the stone whatsoever.

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