• Full disclosure

    Full disclosure

    Emeralds from a Zambian mine are set to be embedded with nanotech, meaning the precious stones can be tracked from their place of origin.

    Gemfields, a company owned by JSE-listed Pallinghurst Resources, has partnered with Swiss-based Gübelin Gem Lab to cover gemstones from its Kagem mine in the Copperbelt province, according to a report in Mining Review.

    While the coloured gemstone industry does not have a system that allows gemstones to be traced from mine to market, this technology enables Gemfield emeralds to be tracked – including where the raw materials come from, and how they are processed and manufactured.

    Gübelin Gem Lab submerges the rough gemstones in a liquid containing synthetic nanotech particles, which are coded with details specific to the miner, including the mine location and date the stones were mined. The nanoparticles embed themselves in the stone’s natural fissures (known as inclusions) without affecting the quality of the gemstones. The nanoparticles can only be removed by Gübelin Gem Lab.

    This technology offers miners (both majors and artisanal), governments, trade organisations, industry watchdogs, jewellery brands and consumers a new level of transparency when sourcing emeralds.

    15 May 2018
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images