GEMFIELDS, which owns 75 per cent of the Kagem emerald mine in Lufwanyama, has become a test partner for a pioneering new Swiss nanotechnology that enables traceability of emeralds back to the exact place of mining.
The Gübelin Gem Lab, one of the world’s leaders in the analysis of precious gemstones is proud to announce the Emerald Paternity Test. This new technology uses customised DNA-based nano particles enabling traceability of emeralds back to the exact place of mining.
The Emerald Paternity Test is 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.
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 nano particles 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.
The Gübelin Gem Lab invited Gemfields, a leading producer of responsibly sourced coloured gemstones, to join the project as a test partner. Gemfields is the majority owner of Kagem, the world’s largest emerald mine and thanks to Gemfields’ already robust supply chain and established standards of responsible sourcing, they were chosen to help provide the testing conditions for the technology in the field.
Daniel Nyfeler, Managing Director, Gübelin Gem Lab, stated: “This technology offers all stakeholders along the entire supply chain, from the miner to the final customers, proof of the exact source of emeralds, instilling confidence and creating trust. It enables a new level of transparency for the gemstone trade. Partnering with Gemfields for the feasibility study was an obvious choice, as it is not only an industry leader, but a forward thinking company, and hence a perfect partner to test a ground-breaking idea such as this paternity test for emeralds.”
Ian Harebottle, CEO, Gemfields, added: “Embracing innovation, technology and increased transparency is at the heart of our approach. We were therefore thrilled to assist Gübelin in the testing of this new technology and we are very excited about the outcome as it offers a multitude of benefits to the industry and the consumer.”
Raphael Gübelin, President of the Swiss family-run business, of which the laboratory is a fully independent subsidiary, explains:
“As part of our over 160 year tradition it has always been our target to provide the consumer with the most relevant information possible. This new technology will bring transparency to the industry in a complete new way.”
By Terrence and Andrew P/ Lusaka