Jeremy Rothon September 13, 2016 No Comments

The Value of Consistent Grading Standards

The value of a gemstone lies in its quality. As you know, there are many factors that can impact the value of a gemstone.
Why does it matter?

Gemstones can only be sold for what they are worth to the customers who buy them. Customers look for quality and longevity – a gemstone is more than a pretty trinket or a token of admiration. It’s an investment that can (and should) pay off in years to come. Theoretically, market pressures notwithstanding,  jewellery should not decrease in value over time.  However, this is only true if the original value of the jewel is what the seller claimed it to be.

Standardised Certification

This is where certification comes in. Reliable certification confirms that true value of a gemstone, and gives both the dealer and the buyer peace of mind when making a sale or purchase.

With stones that have an ancient history, the value has long been established. Stones like diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds have a rich and storied past. They also have a defined and measurable value. Qualified gemmologists can determine the objective value of these stones and certify them  accordingly.

On the other hand, more recently-popular stones like tanzanite don’t come with their own built-in grading system. It is up to gemmologists to define the factors, and create an objective and universal grading scale for these stones, as well.

Unfortunately, disreputable traders saw the opportunity this certification vacuum created. Many fly-by-night operators have leapt in and created their own grading systems – usually generalising terminology to try and  mislead customers. Others came up with complicated ways of grading stones instead of keeping it simple.

One Standard To Bind Them All

The ICSL coloured stone grading system was developed by my friend and gemmology mentor, the late Ian Campbell. It has been around since 1982, and certainly stood the test of time. The grading system measures parameters in percentages. This makes it easy to understand, computer-friendly, and easy to translate into other languages.

The ICSL system allows us to grade each parameter in 5% increments. Most grading systems for tanzanite specifically use terminology that is so generalised – covering 4 colour grades – that it is difficult to achieve consistency in grading, or even to deliver a clear result at all.

Our international clients – in countries as far afield as China, France, and Germany – use The Gem Lab because of our reputation for unwavering grading consistency, exceptional service, and our extremely reliable turn-around time.

The Gem Lab has become the preferred coloured stone certifier. A full or mini coloured stone grading report will include a final grade (also developed by Ian Campbell), which relates directly to trading prices. The beauty of this system is that it allows you to buy and sell at internationally accepted prices.

Get your tanzanite and other coloured gemstones graded before you have a customer sitting opposite you, expecting to have a stone certified before they buy. This is happening more and more, so it makes sense to be prepared.

For reliable, consistent gemstone grading and certification, and turnaround times that will please you and your customers, call me on 021 761 1746 or email

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