Gem show laboratories test jewels for authenticity - Tucson News Now

Gem show laboratories test jewels for authenticity

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Authenticity comes at a high price at some of Tucson's premier shows this week, and some buyers will spend extra cash to ensure their prized gem is as good as their seller says it is.

The Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase is in full-swing and many wholesale buyers gathered at the American Gem Trade Association show at the Tucson Convention Center on Tuesday, looking to buy.

AGTA Chief Executive Officer Douglas Hucker said all of his exhibitors follow a strict code of ethics that rivals Federal Trade Commission requirements. It includes a high standard of professionalism and consumer protection, but Hucker said many buyers still want that extra peace of mind.

"You're buying a thing of beauty," Hucker said. "You're buying something that appeals to you but some of these materials are significantly priced. Like if you're buying a fine automobile or whatever, you want to be assured you want to see the Carmax. That's often what a piece of paper from the laboratories can do for you."

Such laboratories are stationed at the Tucson Convention Center to provide the reassurance that gem buyers crave.

American Gemological Laboratories test transparent gems for authenticity, origin and whether they've been enhanced or treated.

"This is why we come here," said AGL's president, Chris Smith. "We provide this so that people have the added confidence, when they're selling or when they're buying."

But checking authenticity comes at a price. Smith said gem identification and enhancement reports begin at $140. Country of origin test costs depend on gem weight and could range from $200 to $650, according to Smith.

AGL offers its testing service for anyone interested in getting their transparent gems tested, even if they were purchased outside of the AGTA show. They specialize in testing transparent gems and will be stationed at the convention center until Feb. 10.

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