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Gübelin Using Nanotech for Emerald Traceability

Mar 28, 2017 8:32 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Gübelin Gem Lab has unveiled a radical solution for tracing the origin of emeralds, using nanotechnology to mark stones with an invisible imprint that is accessible at any stage of the supply chain.

Branded the “emerald paternity test,” the technology is a “true game-changer for the colored-gemstone industry,” the Switzerland-based laboratory said in a statement Monday.

DNA-based nanoparticles are applied to rough emeralds at the mine and are designed to survive the stages through which the gemstone passes, including cleaning, cutting, polishing, transportation and setting. They can be decoded at any point in their journey from mine to jewelry.

This is the first time nanotechnology – the branch of technology dealing with dimensions smaller than 100 nanometers – has been used for this purpose, the lab claimed.

The tiny particles are small enough not to impact the stone’s appearance, even with an optical microscope, meaning they will not affect a stone’s grading properties.

“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,” said Daniel Nyfeler, the organization’s managing director. “It enables a new level of transparency for the gemstone trade.”

The House of Gübelin, which operates the lab, introduced the tracing technology for an emerald extracted at the Belmont mine in Brazil. The company added the nanoparticles to the emerald directly at the mine, and the stone is now on a platinum ring.
Tags: Belmont mine, brazil, Daniel Nyfeler, DNA, emerald paternity test, Gübelin Gem Lab, House of Gübelin, nanoparticles, nanotechnology, Rapaport News, Switzerland
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