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GIA Research

For decades, GIA has been on the cutting edge of gemological research, analyzing data on gems and their characteristics.
This effort becomes more challenging each year, as new gem sources emerge and new treatment processes and synthetic materials come onto the market.

A gem's geographic origin affects its market value, and consumers also want to know that their gemstones come from ethical sources. And if artificially enhanced gems and synthetics were left undetected, every gem and jewelry purchase would be a risk. GIA is dedicated to providing consumers the knowledge they need, and that's why research is at the very core of GIA's nonprofit mission.

Since the 1930s, GIA researchers have made numerous breakthrough contributions to our understanding of gems. These milestones include:

  •  building the first gemological microscope with darkfield illumination (1938)
  •  creating the D-to-Z color scale and Flawless-to-I3 clarity scale for diamonds (1953), internationally recognized standards for evaluating diamond quality
  •  detecting irradiated yellow diamonds (1956)
  •  determining the color of black cultured pearls to be natural (1961)
  •  the first study of a new gem, tanzanite (1968)
  •  the first report on faceted synthetic diamonds (1971)
  •  identifying glass-filled rubies (1984)
  •  detecting fracture-filled diamonds (1989, 1994)
  •  evaluating the durability of emerald filling substances (1991)
  •  distinguishing natural from synthetic diamonds (1995)
  •  detecting synthetic moissanite (1997)
  •  identifying the effect of fluorescence on diamond appearance (1997)
  •  detecting diamonds decolorized by high pressure/high temperature (HPHT) treatment (1999)
  •  detecting chemical vapor deposition (CVD) gem-quality synthetic diamonds (2003)
  •  creating a comprehensive system for grading diamond cut quality (2004)

The last two decades have seen a dramatic proliferation of gem enhancement and synthesis technologies. In addressing these and other challenges, GIA's expert researchers use state-of-the-art techniques to evaluate thousands of samples each year. With research facilities in Carlsbad and Bangkok, plus a database of the hundreds of thousands of gems graded by the GIA Laboratory each year, the Institute is uniquely equipped to unlock a gem's mysteries. Any time an identification challenge arises, the gem world turns to GIA Research for a rapid response.

From the Lab to the Counter: Communicating Research

GIA's ongoing research projects are useful and accessible to the public and the gem and jewelry industry. And in keeping with its mission of disseminating knowledge to protect all purchasers of gems and jewelry, GIA communicates its research findings through many channels. The results of its studies appear as comprehensive articles in GIA's quarterly professional journal, Gems & Gemology and many other prestigious publications. Research updates can also be found in The Loupe the Institute's quarterly newsmagazine, and the GIA Insider, a biweekly electronic newsletter. GIA organizes scientific forums such as the Gemological Research Conference, and its scientists deliver informative presentations around the world.

The insight acquired through research is also applied to GIA's educational programs and professional gemological instruments.


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