True Colors

Gemological Institute of America’s Gem Laboratory 580 Fifth Ave., New York 5345 Armada Drive, Carlsbad, Calif. The GIA Gem Laboratory is focusing on three major areas of improvement: upgrading equipment, enhancing reports, and identifying pearls. Shane McClure, director of identification services at the Carlsbad facility, says the lab is currently upgrading its Raman spectrometers. Raman spectroscopy focuses laser light onto a gemstone and detects the spectrum that results when the light is scattered. The process does not harm the gem. McClure says when the upgrade is complete the lab will have five-laser Raman capability: “Five different lasers allow us to be very thorough in gathering data as the results can vary depending on what laser wavelength is used,” he says. The lab’s newest tool is its LA-ICP-MS (laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer). U

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