• Set in stone

    Set in stone

    Zambia’s Kagem emerald mine will be the first to test newly developed Swiss nanotechnology that can trace stones back to their exact place of mining, according to a Mining Review Africa report.

    Gemfields, the majority owner of Kagem (which is the world’s largest emerald mine) was offered the opportunity to participate in the feasibility study by the technology’s developer, the Gübelin Gem Lab.

    The Emerald Paternity Test uses customised DNA-based nanoparticles that are applied directly onto rough emerald crystals, offering all stakeholders along the entire supply chain – from the miner to final customers – exact proof of the source.

    Other features of the technology include being designed to handle standard processes (cleaning, cutting, polishing, transportation, setting and so on), while the minute size of the nanoparticles means it’s invisible even to optical microscopes, thereby ensuring the appearance, quality and properties of the gems remain completely unaffected.

    4 April 2017
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images