Endless talk of all things sparkly.

Colored Stones Grading Lab at GIA Carlsbad, CA


The delay in posts has been due to my recent trip out to southern California for my Colored Stones Grading lab class.  It was a short and quick three days, all of which went by incredibly fast!  I learned a lot and was lucky enough to be at the Carlsbad campus as they were preparing for the big Symposium event that they have. Featured there were pieces designed by Wallace Chan that were once-in-a-lifetime beautiful, as well as a 100.67 carat Fancy Yellow diamond. The weather couldn’t have been better and my hotel room had the perfect mini-balcony that I never practically camped out on.  


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During our lab class we learned how to grade colored stones based on tone, hue and saturation. We also took a look at clarity, and graded stones based on if they were a type I, II or III. Lastly, we learned how to grade polish, symmetry, and overall finish. Brilliance is an important factor when grading a colored stone–you want as much reflective colored light to return to your eye as possible. The opposite is called extinction and windowing–extinction is where you see black (too dark) and windowing is where you can see right through (literally like a window).

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Below are carved tourmaline butterfly pendants from Jeff Swanger of the Oceanview Mine in southern California. His butterfly pendants were on display at GIA for the Symposium! I have a few of Jeff’s pieces for sale in my Etsy store–mainly watermelon tourmaline stud earrings.

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Below are pieces of jewelry designed by Wallace Chan. Most are made from titanium, gold, diamonds and select gemstones. Each piece is breath-taking!

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