Being the only international gemological laboratory in the UK, The World Gemological Institute has the unique opportunity to experience new discoveries with every rare beauty they see under their microscopes and loupes. Working with online and offline auction houses, members of the trade, jewellery owners, jewellery buyers and connoisseurs, WGI’s founder and CEO Noam Lenzini shares information about the lab and the services its gemmologists provide.
The laboratory provides services such as heritage evaluations, certification of diamonds, coloured gemstones, jewellery, pearls and watches. For example, clients may bring items of jewellery to the lab after the item has been passed on to them, for a professional evaluation. This can give insights into their heritage and provide the information needed to insure the item.
F: What kind of things do you evaluate in the laboratory, and what’s the most exciting thing you’ve seen?
N: We see fascinating items that have stayed in safes for long periods of time. A private client came to the lab with a Cartier piece from 1920 with its original box. We have seen some exuberant security collections obtained after the First World War. We take in items from all eras and these prove to be the rarest and most exciting to work on. Interestingly, we meet people who have no idea how great the value of their item is.
Old jewels have secrets and mysteries that can send us on a Sherlock Holmes type journey trying to solve them. When we see a laboratory-grown diamond we know right away that the item is not antique or vintage. The difference between the two is that vintage is fifty years or older and antique is one hundred years or older.
Watches can be exciting too as we see luxury brands and limited-edition time pieces. With lots of fakes on the market, we must find out the origin for each part of the watch. There have been instances of watches made with both genuine and counterfeit parts. One example that comes to mind when we discuss expensive watches, is the alteration of these watches by adding diamonds. Interestingly, the value of the watch is often lowered when diamonds are added, despite them being expensive.
Online and offline auction houses use the lab as a third party organisation in order to certify their items and provide a value. Doing so, customers can feel at ease knowing the value and understanding the authenticity of the items they are bidding on.
As you can imagine we do get to see some incredible rarities in the laboratory, no two days are the same. One of the most exciting items we have evaluated was a flawless, 10 carat fancy intense pink diamond. This is the type of stone you would only get to see once in a lifetime.
F: What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen people do regarding diamonds?
N: People buy diamonds from the street without checking the stone with a lab first. And they are getting screwed by purchasing fakes for the price of the real thing. Larger companies also forget to check sometimes and end up losing money. If you do not know what you are looking for it is easier to get duped. Sometimes the stones are not cleaned properly and look dull and less valuable, other times a professionally cleaned stone can appear more valuable than it is. When it comes to diamonds and gemstones, it is crucial to have a certificate before investing.
F: If you could give a TedTalk what would you talk about?
N: I would talk about treatments in diamonds. It is hard to keep up to date with treatments as new techniques are constantly evolving. In my opinion everyone should suspect that what they are holding in their hands is not a diamond. There is a saying that “If it’s too perfect, it’s probably not a diamond.” When I see something perfect, I start to be suspicious. When you can easily spot inclusions or signs of natural growth, it should put you at ease, but you must still check that it is 100% natural.
F: Do you sell luxury items at WGI? And, what is WGI’s greatest asset for its clients?
N: No, we do not sell any items. We only certificate items. Security and certification are important for insurance. Insurance companies prefer a neutral third-party organisation like WGI to provide price evaluations. It is a lot of responsibility to provide price evaluations, that is probably why not every laboratory provides it.
The most important thing we provide is the real grade and value of items before items are bought or sold.
F: What is something you would like for people to know about the laboratory?
N: Anyone can safely send their items to us if they cannot come to the WGI in person. They can use any major courier which makes sure their goods are insured. Insurance is the most important factor when we receive items.
Guessing can be a costly mistake when it comes to buying diamonds, gemstones and jewels. Invest in your peace of mind whenever you can to see clearly how much your items are worth by certifying them.
The cherry on the cake is that your insurance company covers you if you have got your price evaluations and certifications from a reputable independent laboratory.
Written by www.frankassparklers.com
Bespoke diamonds and jewellery Paris-London-Milan
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