64 STATE OF THE MAJORS 2018 Ogden’s article echoes this, stating that while labs have started disclosing more information about how they reach their conclusions on origin, there is still little to help the user gauge how much confidence the laboratory has in the report. Communication about their level of con- fidence in an origin or color call on reports would go a long way to help alleviate confusion, they say. Views on this stance vary. AGLhas different levels of confidence in re- gards to its origin determinations, Smith says. When it comes to the specific color of a gemstone, the standard color descriptions found on AGL reports follow a policy of straight verbal/written descriptions. When additional color information is requested, the lab service is modified to a grading report, which includes additional details relating to color and its classification. AGL addresses treatments under the “Enhancements” section. The lab separates enhancements into two categories: standard and additional, referring to those enhance- ments that are routinely found in certain gem varieties and those that are less common. Hughes, meanwhile, says Lotus Gemology is “extremely proactive” about treatment disclosure, color coding its lab reports by treatment or the lack thereof. But when it comes to disclosing degrees of confidence, Hughes says that while he has advocated for this approach in the past, he now re- alizes it wouldn’t make any difference because many dealers wouldn’t use a lab that supplies such a scale. “What would happen if one lab put 80 per- cent and another 70 percent on the same stone? This would be incredibly confusing,” he says. Not to mention that, “Anything less than 100 percent would be regarded as a negative, which sellers would not want.” The GIA’s McClure echoed Hughes’ sentiments. “With the current understanding of sci- ence, there are a lot of cases where we really can’t prove where a stone came from.We can say the preponderance of evidence shows that it should be from there, but that’s not proof.” He adds, “Does the trade really want us to say we think it’s 70 percent Burma? What they would say then is, ‘Well is it from Burma or not?’ It can’t be 70 percent from Burma and 30 percent from somewhere else. “It wouldn’t work. They wouldn’t like it if they had it.” Ogden does acknowledge in the Gem-A article that quantification of overall confi- dence “is problematic,” noting that labs could not consistently calculate the overall likeli- hood of a gem’s origin, among other issues. But he does add that just because numer- ical quantification might not be realistic, “it doesn’t mean that all quantification is unrealistic,” pointing to options like including statistical results as a way to compare the results of a chemical analysis with a database of reference materials in a way that wouldn’t disclose labs’ intellectual property. In his article, Ogden also comes back to the same obstacles ad- dressed by McClure and Hughes: the trade, meaning those commis- sioning the reports, “ideally want black-and-white answers.” And, as many labs remind the trade, there are nu- merous different factors that go into the origin deter- mination: completeness and reliability of the reference stone collection, the amount and quality of the collected analytical data, the consistency of the data processing and minimizing the human factor. Even when a lab is working in a “highly standardized and reproducible way,” origin determination will al- ways be imperfect, Nyfeler says, as it is a work-around using forensic methods due to a supply chain that is not fully transparent. And Boehm points out that even though conflicting origin reports have put pressure on the labs to disclose more about their research methodology, the advanced gemology required to make origin determinations today is so complex and proprietary that it would be “impossible to explain every instance.” He says there are steps the major labs are taking, though, like regularly publishing updates on their research and working together to create more harmo- nization on the parameters and nomenclature, which is another conversation in and of itself. THE STATE OF THE MAJORS THE DIAMOND INDUSTRY JEWELRY DESIGN THE COLORED STONE MARKET “Consistency that goes beyond one company is even more demanding, and will never be 100 percent. While the desire of the industry to have consistent results is understandable, it is also unrealistic to expect different labs to [achieve full] global consistency.” — Daniel Nyfeler, Managing Director of Gübelin Gem Lab E. Billie Hughes of Lotus Gemology is seen working on a photomicrograph. Continued on page 66