Highly Classified

July 1999

Gemstones & Pearls:News

Highly Classified

Arthur Groom & Co. is devising a classification system for its distinctively enhanced emeralds

A well-known New York City emerald dealer is creating an enhancement classification system for the emeralds he sells. The system will identify the degree of enhancement, which will help to indicate an emerald's value.

"Customers have the right to know what's in their emeralds and whether their emeralds are lightly, moderately or heavily enhanced," says Arthur Groom, president of Arthur Groom & Co. "The classification system will help everyone approach emeralds more realistically."

Based on his experience as a dealer, Groom says about 25% of emeralds on the market are heavily enhanced, about 60% are moderately enhanced, about 10% are lightly enhanced and the rest are not enhanced.

"If the trade embraces full disclosure and classification, I would expect heavily enhanced stones to drop in price, moderately enhanced emeralds to reflect market demand and lightly enhanced emeralds, or those exceptional gems without enhancement, to increase significantly in price."

Classification Basics
Groom can accurately classify the emeralds his company treats because his Groom-Gematrat process first drains an emerald of existing fillers. "At that point it's ready for the enhancement process – later to be classified and fully documented," he says. The Groom-Gematrat filler includes a tracer to make it identifiable by labs or appraisers. Because not all emeralds – even heavily included ones – accept the enhancement readily, Groom emeralds will be classified at 10X magnification by degree of enhancement. (Internal fissures that don't reach the surface can't be enhanced with the Groom-Gematrat process.) He will create a master set of emeralds for a classification system that defines nine categories:

  • Three categories for heavily enhanced emeralds.
  • Three categories for moderately enhanced emeralds.
  • Two categories for lightly enhanced emeralds.
  • One category for emeralds that are not enhanced.

The categories will roughly match those used by the American Gemological Laboratory, New York City. [Editor's Note: the Gemological Institute of America plans to announce a degree-of-enhancement classification service in the near future as well.]

You See What You Get
Anyone buying an emerald over 1 carat from Arthur Groom & Co. receives the following package of documentation:

  • An explanation of how to identify the Groom-Gematrat filler, which fluoresces under long-wave illumination. Individual emeralds can be identified by their unique patterns. Digital images can be taken to further document the gem.
  • A classification of the emerald.
  • An AGL certificate for emeralds over $1,000 per carat enhanced with the Groom-Gematrat process. AGL will include a Groom-Gematrat designation on its certificate because the filler is readily identifiable. Groom says other laboratories are considering whether to offer a separate designation of his process. He's studying whether to laser-inscribe his emeralds with a Groom-Gematrat logo also.
  • A lifetime warranty for defects in the filler, which is guaranteed never to change color or come out of an emerald (unless removed by Groom & Co.).
  • An image showing what the emerald looked like before enhancement (if requested).

– by Robert Weldon, G.G.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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