Gem Identification: Geology vs. Geography

Asapphire from Kashmir is worth more than one from Sri Lanka simply because of its locality. Exotic origins are part of the romance of gems. Throughout most of history there were only a few known gemstone deposits, making country of origin easy to identify. But as the number of gem localities continues to grow, determining country of origin is increasingly difficult. Chris Smith, the Gemological Institute of America’s director of East Coast gem identification, says it’s now much more likely to find sapphires and rubies from different geographical localities with the same geological and mineralogical features. Gemologists Dr. Daniel Nyfeler, of the Gübelin Gem Lab, and Dr. Henry Hänni, of the Swiss Gemological Institute, maintain that while identification is difficult, it’s still possible to identify country of origin. In a three-part series of articles written for Jewellery

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