Developments in Gemstone Analysis Techniques

and Instrumentatin During the 2000s

Christopher M. Breeding1, Andy H. Shen1, Sally Eaton-Magaña1,

George R. Rossman2,

James E. Shigley1, and Al Gilbertson1

1Gemological Institute of America
Carlsbad CA
2California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA


The first decade of the 2000s continued the trend of using more powerful analytical instruments to solve gem identification problems. Advances in gem treatment and synthesis technology, and the discovery of new gem sources, led to urgent needs in gem identification. These, in turn, led to the adaptation of newer scientific instruments to gemology. The past decade witnessed the widespread use of chemical microanalysis techniques such as LA-ICP-MS and LIBS, luminescence spectroscopy (particularly photoluminescence), real-time fluorescence and X-ray imaging, and portable spectrometers, as well as the introduction of nanoscale analysis. Innovations in laser mapping and computer modeling of diamond rough and faceted stone appearance changed the way gemstones are cut and the manner in which they are graded by gem laboratories.

Gems & Gemology 46, 241-257.