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Colored Stone Grading - Country of Origin

The country of origin for gemstones can be pertinent to the sale of a colored stone in several ways. Many types of gems can be found all over the world, and are produced in equal value and quality in multiple locales. In these cases, country of origin is not an issue. Very often a gem's country of origin cannot be proven, although we can usually make an educated guess based on the stone's color and other characteristics. In the gem trade, we usually depend on our suppliers to tell us the origin of a gemstone.

In our opinion, more attention should be paid to the actual merits of a gemstone than to its country of origin. A sapphire from Sri Lanka or Madagascar can be equally or more beautiful than a sapphire documented to be from Kashmir or Burma. Gemstones should be purchased based on their merits rather than a piece of paper.

That being said, the country of origin for gemstones can be a major factor in the value equation of gemstones. Some gem mines or regions are known for producing particularly fine gems. Because of the fame and reputation of these gem sources, the gem trade and the buying public will pay more for stones proven to be from these sources. Good examples of this are sapphires from Kashmir, rubies from Burma, and emeralds from Colombia.

In most cases, the proof of origin is ascertained by a study of the inclusions in the gemstone. When the correct inclusions are present, the gemologist or laboratory can accurately state that the gem is from a certain locale. In other cases, country of origin can only be accurately determined with high tech laboratory testing. In some cases, country of origin cannot be determined at all. Because of trade practice and consumer preference, a gem lab report that states country of origin often accompanies top tier gems, especially those from "classic" locations. Please note that the reputation of the issuing gem lab is a most important consideration in the purchase of top quality gems where country of origin is a factor.