Being at the source, they unearth the rough gemstones and initiate the journey of the gemstone along the supply chain.
The Emerald Paternity Test
The Gübelin Gem Lab is proud to introduce to the gemstone industry the Emerald Paternity Test, a technology to prove the provenance of emeralds back to the exact mine.
Why is traceability important?
The Emerald Paternity Test enables all stakeholders to work towards the realisation of their goals of transparency.
So far, companies in the jewellery industry embracing ambitious transparency goals faced limitations when it came to the exact origin of the gemstones they used in their products. They had to rely on a mixture of trust and self-declaration by mining companies, lacking an independent proof of provenance.
With the availability of the Emerald Paternity Test, such a proof is now available for all stakeholders within the gemstone industry. The Emerald Paternity Test is the first of a series of technologies and services dedicated to bringing more transparency into the gemstone industry, united under the Provenance Proof label.
The right of using the technology is subject to a Code of Conduct, defining the use and application of the technology.
What is the technology?
Recent advances in nanotechnology and the customisation of DNA has enabled invisible tagging of various materials.
We have customised DNA-based, nano-sized particles to suit the specific needs of the gemstone industry. The particles have a diametre of about 100 nanometres or 0.0001 millimetres. Our nanoparticles are invisible even to the best optical microscope and induces no optical effect whatsoever.
Information on the mining location, the miner and the mining time is encrypted and stored in the DNA, and encapsulated in a sphere of amorphous silica to resist the influence of cutting, polishing and repeated treatment. By means of a carrier liquid, these particles are applied on the rough emerald crystals, penetrating even the tiniest fissures, and tightly adhering to their walls. The nanoparticles can be retrieved, the information contained in the DNA read out and decoded at any later stage during the lifetime of the emerald, disclosing the paternity of the emerald.
How does it work?
The process starts in the mine. The rough crystals are tagged with the nanoparticles before any cleaning or sorting is undertaken.
The nanoparticles penetrate all fissures and adhere closely to their surfaces. The applied ethanol-based liquid evaporates completely within a few minutes. The tagging process is already complete after this step.
During later cutting and polishing and re-oiling processes, a sufficiently big number of DNA tags remain in the fissures for a later paternity test.
During the sale of the final piece in a retail shop, the Provenance Proof label and potential paternity test inspire trust and bring to the customer additional confidence in the jewel.
Whenever required, the stone can be submitted to an authorised lab to conduct the paternity test. And the client gets transparency about the exact place where the emerald was unearthed.
The Emerald Paternity Test is available to the entire industry.
Industry and trade associations, NGOs and other organisations can use this technology to facilitate and check the implementation of policies and standards in the industry.
Governmental bodies can use the technology to promote and monitor their domestic production, control exports and distinguish their gems from other origins.
Jewellery houses, jewellery manufacturers and retailers can prove to their customers their commitment to the values of transparency and sustainability, which they embrace, setting them apart from their competitors.
The end consumer gets an insight into the social, environmental, ethical and health standards which are pursued at the birthplace of the gemstone used in the final jewellery piece.
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