Rethinking Diamond Origin: How Chemical Composition Can Help Identify a Diamond’s Past

Top GIA Fellow Claims Science Cannot Determine Diamond Origin

Dr. James Shigley, a research fellow at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), stated that it is highly unlikely to identify a diamond’s origin based on its physical characteristics. He explained that diamonds lack distinctive visual features that would determine their provenance, and the samples of stones often do not provide enough information. The only possible indication of a diamond’s origin is trace elements, which are difficult to analyze due to their low concentration and do not typically reveal where the stone came from.

According to Dr. Shigley, the chemical composition of diamonds reflects geological processes in the mantle and is not related to their current location on the earth’s surface. Studies conducted to determine a diamond’s origin have been limited in size and range of locations, making it challenging to confirm the source of a stone now or in the future. However, he mentioned that identifying the origin of a diamond by matching its polished form to the rough stone of known provenance is possible. The GIA offers Diamond Origin Reports for this purpose, with a success rate of around 90%. He described this process as similar to a chain of custody, emphasizing that this method is more effective than studying a polished diamond alone.

During his LinkedIn Live session with GEMTalks, Dr. Shigley also discussed the possibility of determining the origin of colored gemstones and lab-grown diamonds. He answered questions from the audience and provided insights into the complex world of gemology. To learn more about this topic and access the full recording of his session sponsored by GIA, visit [link]. The GIA was established in 1931 with aims to protect consumers and support global gem and jewelry trade through research, education, and laboratory services. Stay informed by signing up for their industry news and analysis updates.

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