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Certainties and Uncertainties in Gemological Material Analyses

Emanuela Castaman

Since ancient times, gemstones have been cut, treated, and so on, to transform a mineral into what we now call a gem. However, even then, some individuals, either by “forgetfulness” or with intent, omitted and still omit part of the treatments used. This created the need to find methods of analysis to define the treatments and uniformly decide on nomenclature to correctly name each treatment. The scientific foundations of ancient methods, appropriately updated, are still used today for gemstone analysis. Modern analytical techniques require that an analysis be accurate, repeatable, and reproducible, but we all know that each gemstone is “unique.” Since each gemstone is “unique,” every piece of data must be analyzed, and subsequently, it must be related to other obtained data. The search for origin doesn’t always lead to a decision to specify a particular origin. Not all treatments can be identified immediately. Sometimes, new treatments or new origins can pose challenges for gemological laboratories. For this reason, it is always necessary to keep up with the times and the changes that come with them.


Emanuela Castaman

In 2006, Emanuela Castaman graduated in the Bachelor’s degree program in Gold Science and Technology at the University of Milano-Bicocca. Since 2006, she has been working at CISGEM as an analyst, and in 2021, she became responsible for the analytical sectors and training at the Center. In addition to her analytical work, she also serves as an instructor in courses and informative seminars for the jewelry industry. Over the years, she has acquired and developed expertise and excellent knowledge and interpretation of specialized analytical techniques such as EDXRF chemical analysis, FTIR spectrophotometry, and UV-Vis-NIR.