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Industry News: Lab Warns Of ‘Kashmir’ Sapphire Fraud; DPA Media Tour Promotes Natural Diamonds March 29, 2017 (0 comments)


Kashmir-Like Sapphires From Madagascar Are Being Passed Off As Kashmir-Origin

Basel, Switzerland—The Swiss Gemmological Institute (SSEF) this week issued a trade alert for jewelers, gemologists, and appraisers to beware of high quality sapphires (left) from a new find in Madagascar, that can be mistaken for the prized Kashmir variety. Already some have been misrepresented as Kashmir stones, says the alert.

A new deposit at Bemainty, near the small town of Ambatondrazaka in Madagascar, has produced an impressive amount of both blue and fancy color sapphires, as well as padparadschas of partly exceptional size and quality. Having observed many stones from the area, SSEF’s trade alert focuses on sapphires that have a 'Kashmir-like' visual appearance, characterized by a subtle and fine milkiness resulting in the velvety blue color typical of top-quality Kashmir sapphires. SSEF warns many of these new sapphires are accompanied by gemological reports describing them as being of Kashmir origin. SSEF believes some of these Madagascar sapphires are being purposely introduced into the gem market with fraudulent claims of historic Kashmir provenance. 

“With this alert, we want to inform the trade about this new gem source of 'Kashmir-like' sapphires in Madagascar and raise awareness of the challenge they pose to the trade, which may have considerable financial and reputational impact if they are not properly disclosed,” says Dr. Michael S. Krzemnicki of SSEF.

The new Madagascar sapphires can largely be distinguished from Kashmir sapphires by careful microscopic observation (as well as by advanced methods such as trace element detection and Raman microspectrometry.) Under a microscope or loupe, the new Madagascar sapphires often show an exceptional clarity (apart from a general milkiness), very much in contrast to sapphires from Kashmir that often contain tiny but frequent inclusions of different kinds, especially in larger stones. The new material from Madagascar often shows dense and narrow growth zones, compared to more blocky three-dimensional growth zones in Kashmir sapphires (Figure 2), but to date has never shown the iconic pargasite and tourmaline inclusions that are highly characteristic of Kashmir sapphires.

Click here for the full transcript of the trade alert, plus complete gemological details and photos about the new stones’ visual characteristics.


DPA Head, Famed Jewelry Designer Discuss Synthetics In 21-Market Media Tour

New York, NY—In advance of April’s diamond birthstone month, Jean-Marc Lieberherr, CEO of the Diamond Producers Association, teamed up with renowned jewelry designer and gemologist Kara Ross of Diamonds Unleashed for a satellite media tour to discuss the rarity and uniqueness of diamonds, and address the indisputable differences between mined and synthetic diamonds. Lieberherr and Ross were interviewed by 21 radio and television stations across the United States in mid-March, including WPXN in New York, KPXN in California, WXIN in Indiana, WBRE in Pennsylvania, KPXC in Colorado, KPXB in Texas, among many others. Airings are expected to continue.

Click here to watch the duo on FOX 59 (Lafayette, IN)’s morning news.

“There is a lot of miscommunication around synthetics and it is important for us to communicate that these products are manufactured in factories, while [mined] diamonds are natural, rare, and over three billion years old,” said Lieberherr. “Only a diamond is a diamond, and that is why they truly evoke emotion and hold immense value.”   

He addressed how diamonds are miracles of nature, precious in their rarity, and are the ultimate symbol of authentic relationships and emotional commitment. The DPA continues to advocate for diamonds through interviews like these, in addition to the “Real is Rare. Real is A Diamond,” campaign; the diamond industry’s first category marketing initiative in a decade. View another clip from the media tour here.

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