Gem Art Grading Reports

Charles M. Ellias, G.G., ISA, CAPP, of North American Lapidary Laboratory, is staking his claim to a place in the history of quality grading reports: He’s the first person to design and issue a gem report for gem carvings and other works of gem art.

Sherris Cottier Shank of Gemscapes Gem Carvings was the first to order colored-stone grading reports for all of her carved gems. Ellias prepares the laminated reports, which provide a third-party opinion on the quality attributes of each of Shank’s gem carvings. All gem carvings are color graded and photographed, and reports for transparent gemstones include a diagram identifying inclusions.

In addition to establishing quality, the reports serve as a certificate of authenticity. Each is issued with Shank’s Gemscapes logo, and each gem carving is assigned a serial number.

Shank decided to provide the colored-stone grading reports as an aid to retailers, a tool for them to communicate information about her carvings to their clients. While the reports simplify the appraisal process, value representations are left to the discretion of the jeweler.

The reports provide a measure of confidence to retail customers regarding their carved-gem purchase, Shank notes. They also provide complete and accurate information should the consumer need to file a claim with an insurer.

Shank says the reports establish provenance for each gem carving and nourish the public’s growing appreciation of gem art. She also notes that future generations will find the reports a valuable tool in authenticating the carved gems they inherit from their parents and grandparents.

For more information on the gem art grading reports, contact Charles Ellias, North American Lapidary Laboratory, Birmingham, Mich., (810) 397-7109, e-mail: or Sherris Cottier Shank, Southfield, Mich., (888) 580-9971, e-mail: