Welcome to AGTA GTC's Laboratory Update for July 26, 2005

In this message

  1. AGTA GTC at the JA Show
  2. Unusual Trapiché Emeralds
  3. Emerald Services Offered by the AGTA GTC
  4. Meet Our Staff: Riccardo Befi

Current turnaround time at the AGTA GTC
5–7 Business Days

AGTA GTC at the JA Show
During the upcoming JA New York Summer Show (July 31st to August 3rd), members of the AGTA GTC will be present at the AGTA booth (#1182). The AGTA GTC staff will visit clients at their booths to discuss their needs and expectations. From Monday, August 1st to Wednesday, August 3rd, the AGTA GTC will have extended office hours (8:30 AM4:00 PM) for intake and pick-up of gemstones in our laboratory, so you can submit and receive your gemstones within 24 hours. The AGTA GTC is located at 18 East 48th Street, Suite 502, New York, NY 10017, Telephone: 212-752-1717.

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Unusual Trapiché Emeralds

Among emeralds, those known as trapiché are extremely rare and highly sought after by collectors. Trapiché emeralds are known only from Colombia and their prices range from medium to high. The term trapiché is derived from a Spanish word for a spoked wheel used to grind sugarcane. This is in reference to the spoked pattern of the emeralds.
    During the JCK Show in Las Vegas, we encountered an unusual pair of trapiché emeralds (see photo below). The central green areas showed a hexagonal shape with green color banding parallel to the faces of the hexagonal prism. These are divided by dark bands of small impurities that are concentrated at the edges of the crystal while it grows, creating a fixed six-rayed star structure. While we did not analyze them, the dark bands are typically composed of carbonaceous shale, albite feldspar and occasionally pyrite. 
    The measured refractive index of these specimens indicated emerald, as did the absorption spectra. Like virtually all emeralds, each piece showed evidence of clarity enhancement.
    Inclusions consisted of three-phase negative crystals, indicating Colombian origin. Around the hexagonal emerald area, another layer of small black particles was observed, surrounded by a near-colorless area, which was most likely beryl. A refractive index could not be taken due to the cut, and a Raman spectrometer was not available in the AGTA GTC Mobile Laboratory. The near colorless area was cut in a flower-petal shape.

Trapiché emeralds
This unusual pair of polished trapiché emeralds (19.69 and 19.40 carats respectively) was tested at the recent AGTA GTC Mobile Laboratory at The JCK Show – Las Vegas 2005. Photo: Riccardo Befi.

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Emerald Services Offered by the AGTA GTC

The AGTA GTC offers a number of services with regard to emeralds, as follows: 

Emerald Identification Report
This report includes the identification of a gemstone as an emerald and its nature: natural / synthetic, as well as its enhancement status:

  • No indications of clarity enhancement
  • Minor / moderate / significant clarity enhancement

     Note that this does not include the identification of the clarity enhancing substance.
     For an additional fee (AGTA members: US$100; Non-members: US$125) you can request identification of the substance.

  • Minor / moderate / significant clarity enhancement by oil / resin

Emerald Origin Report
In addition to the information included in the Emerald Identification Report, the probable origin of the gemstone is indicated:

  • No indications of clarity enhancement 
    or...
  • Minor / moderate / significant clarity enhancement
  • Origin: Colombia, Zambia, Brazil, etc

     Note that this does not include the identification of the clarity enhancing substance.
     For an additional fee (AGTA members: US$100; Non-members: US$125) you can request identification of the substance.

  • Minor / moderate / significant clarity enhancement by oil / resin

Fees for these services are listed on the AGTA GTC Fee Scale

Treatment Slips
These are designed for clients who wish to have a clean gemstone without any enhancement, or wish to replace one enhancing substance with another, before having an identification or origin report issued. These Treatment Slips do not identify the nature of the gemstone, only the enhancement. This means that the gemstone submitted is not tested for its identity.
     There are two types of treatment slips:

  • T1: This treatment slip only states the extent of enhancement, without stating the nature of the substance. Fee: US$50 for AGTA members / US$75 for non-AGTA members
  • T2: This treatment slip states the extent of enhancement as well as the nature of the filler. 
    Fee: US$100 for AGTA members / US$125 for non-AGTA members.

     Fees apply every time a gemstone comes back for recheck.

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Meet Our Staff: 
Riccardo Befi – Senior Gemologist

Riccardo Befi, a native of Cervinara (AV), Italy, became interested in gemstones in 1987, when a friend from Jaipur, India stopped by his house to show him some gemstones. The view of sparkling rubies, sapphires, tourmalines, peridots and other gemstones opened a new path that brought him to New York.
     After leaving the GIA he moved to Carven French, a prestigious jewelry firm, in the gemology and quality control department, followed by several years directing the Diamond Grading and Colored Gemstone department at IGI.
     Finally, when the opportunity to work in a lab specializing in colored gemstones appeared in 2003, he grabbed it. "The amazing team, the possibility of using the most sophisticated gemological instruments, the challenges we face every day, these things make my work at AGTA GTC so rewarding. For me, it's like being in heaven," Befi said.

Riccardo Befi

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The AGTA Gemological Testing Center provides the industry and the public with a complete range of lab services, including gemstone identification, origin determination and pearl identification. Located in New York City, the laboratory is equipped with the latest, technologically advanced, investigative equipment.The AGTA GTC is committed to providing excellent service, superior value and outstanding quality. A complete list of services and detailed pricing information is available on our website, www.agta-gtc.org. Please contact us with any questions.


American Gem Trade Assocation Gemological Testing Center
18 East 48th St., Suite 502
New York, NY 10017, USA
Tel: 212-752-1717; Fax: 212-750-0930
E-Mail: info@agta-gtc.org; Web: www.agta-gtc.org
© 1999–2005 American Gem Trade Assocation Gemological Testing Center. All rights reserved. Users may download this information for their own private, non-commercial use. Any other reproduction of this document (text or graphics) without the express written consent of the AGTA GTC is strictly prohibited.
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