60 STATE OF THE MAJORS 2018 G iven today’s savvy and information-hungry consum- ers, it’s no surprise that laboratory reports—once mostly the domain of diamonds—are becoming increasingly common for colored gemstones, especially high-end goods. Shoppers are looking for third parties to confirm what a seller is telling them and validate the factors influencing a gemstone’s price. As the importance of lab reports for colored gemstones has grown, so too has the level of information included. Many labs now offer origin determination and color designations beyond the standard color grades, employing terms like “pigeon’s blood” and “royal blue.” Like with everything else in the trade, there are myriad opinions about colored gemstone reports, including whether or not to include origin and color nomenclature at all. Regardless, it seems that colored stone reports are not only here to stay but will continue to grow in importance. So the trade has to come together to figure out what role reports should play, and how to get labs on the same page with information that is clearly, accurately and consis- tently communicated to dealers, retailers and consumers. Some experts wonder if that’s even possible. “Today, laboratory reports perform an essential role in the mar- ketplace, and I see their use growing rather than diminishing,” says Kenneth Scarratt, CEO of the Bahrain Institute for Pearls and Gem- stones (Danat). “But there will come a breakpoint whereby reports shall be required to be in line with a yet-to-be-determined interna- tional standard, rather than today’s ‘preferred branding’ options.” THE LAB GAP Origin determination started with the Gübe- lin Gem Lab in Switzerland in the early 1950s, when Eduard Gübelin became the first person to start disclosing it on reports. In the decades since, more labs have started adding origin to colored gemstone reports and expanding them in others ways, including with the addition of color nomenclature. The Gemological Institute of America, for example, offers two different colored stone report formats: one that provides just stone identification and an expanded version that includes origin determination, but only for natural THE STATE OF THE MAJORS THE DIAMOND INDUSTRY JEWELRY DESIGN THE COLORED STONE MARKET NOW? ALLTOG The evolution of the lab report in today’s colored gemstone market has led to debate over origin determination, color calls and how labs work together (or don’t) BY BRECKEN BRANSTRATOR A shot from inside The Bahrain Institute for Pearls and Gemstones (Danat), opened late 2017