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Diamonds Natural Synthetic Imitations… Strategies for Certainty or Doubt regarding the nature of what we handle

Antonello Donini

The gemological landscape concerning the world of diamonds, due to the increasing prevalence of synthetic diamonds in the market, has caused confusion, issues, uncertainties, and doubts about the nature of colorless stones circulating in the sector. Many operators are still unaware or lack the necessary foundation to address the issues related to the “recognition” of increasingly complex materials in circulation.

The presentation will cover what aspects and observations can be made on colorless stones with simple instrumental equipment. Synthetic diamonds appear to be entirely identical to natural ones. The purpose is to provide useful indications to distinguish those that can be confidently identified as natural from those that may be suspicious. However, absolute certainty about their nature can only be achieved by relying on a laboratory equipped with specialized instrumentation and proven experience in identification.


Antonello Donini

Since 1981, she has been part of the staff of the Public Service for the Control of Gemstones and Pearls of the Milan Chamber of Commerce, initially as a scholarship holder where she began her training in Gemmology. In 1986, she was hired in the same Laboratory, which later became the Special Company CISGEM of the Milan Chamber of Commerce, as a gemmological analyst, and subsequently, over time, as the head of the Diamond Analysis and Precious Metals Analysis sectors. She conducts teaching activities in training courses and informative seminars for the jewelry sector. Graduated from GIA for the classification of faceted diamond quality, treatments, and synthesis in 2007, she became the Laboratory Manager, assuming responsibility and direction of the laboratory’s analysis activities. In 2015, the Chamber of Commerce transferred the CISGEM Laboratory to the Italian Gemmological Foundation, a non-profit organization recognized by the Lombardy Region, and began active collaboration with the University of Milan, which oversees the laboratory’s activities. She has acquired and developed expertise in the analysis of all gemological materials with excellent knowledge and interpretation of specialized analytical techniques applied in gemmology: EDXRF chemical analysis, FTIR infrared spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet-Visible-Near Infrared UV-Vis-NIR spectrophotometry; Raman Spectrometry, Photoluminescence. She is the Italian delegate at the International Gemmological Conference (IGC), an international conference that brings together the world’s leading gemmology experts. She coordinates the working group in the UNI Commission for Precious Metals and Gemmology for the drafting/revision of sector standards.