• A Sapphire's Secret • Synthetic Yellow Sapphire

    A Sapphire's Secret

    At the Lotus Gemology laboratory in Bangkok, we often get parcels of relatively uniform stones. But sometimes it is in this routine testing that we uncover surprises.

  • About Lotus Gemology

    When you see a fine ruby, it does something to you. It’s not about the value.
    If it were simply the value, I’d go out and buy a kilo of gold. Richard Hughes to journalist Rod Nordland
    “On the treacherous trail to the rare ruby red”  |  1982  |  Asia

    Burmese star ruby. Photo: Wimon Manorotkul, Lotus Gemology.

    Lotus Gemology begins with a simple idea – beauty is the principal source of attraction for precious stones. Thus it should also be the major focus of gemology. In other words, the GEM is the most important part of gemology.

    It is our belief that gemology is not simply about counting atoms; to apply science absent a discussion of how it relates to aesthetics and desire does a disservice not just to clients, but to the jewels themselves. We do not believe that attraction can be reduced to a simple set of measurements, anymore than the beauty of a rainbow or sunset can be expressed by mathematical formula.

    Rest assured, we are not Luddites. We not only appreciate science, but use it daily. At the same time, we recognize that many parts of the human experience extend into realms far beyond science. Thus the gemology at Lotus includes not just science, but weaves into the mix history, culture, art and travel. We do this in the belief that these factors play equal roles in how humans perceive desirability and value. 

    Like a small French restaurant, we believe that crafting a fine meal takes time and individual care; thus our seating is limited. The translation of the intangibles of rarity and aesthetic beauty is our strength.

    Precious stones are among the most compelling examples of Mother Nature’s artistic genius.

    Lotus Gemology operates from a base of over 80 years of collective experience in the study, purchase, sale and appreciation of precious stones. Our lives have been enriched beyond measure by our involvement with these gifts of nature and we believe if we characterize them with the appropriate reverence and care, we can open this magical world to others. This is our goal.

  • Beryllium Diffusion in Orange Sapphire • The Skin Game

    The Skin Game • Beryllium Diffusion in Sapphire

    The early history of beryllium diffusion in sapphire, starting with the 2001 appearance of large numbers of padparadscha sapphires in the Thai gem market.

  • Black Star Sapphire Surprise

    Black Star Sapphire Surprise

    A large black star sapphire was brought in for testing. Two large pits on the base were carefully filled with brown dopping varnish. After removal of the varnish with alcohol, it was found that a large portion of the base had been filled with a lead glass.

  • Burmese Sapphire Giants • Lotus Gemology

    Burmese Sapphire Giants

    A brief history of Burmese (Myanmar) sapphires, along with details of some of the major pieces of yore.

  • Buying at the Source • Dick's Law and Other Sundry Maxims of the East • Lotus Gemology

    Buying at the Source

    An essay on buying gems at the source in Asia, with a discussion of how con men play on the greed of those who believe gems will be cheaper at the mines.

  • Cobalt-Doped Glass-Filled Sapphires • An Update • Lotus Gemology

    Cobalt-Doped Glass-Filled Sapphires  |  An Update  |  Lotus Gemology

    The history of glass-infilling in blue sapphire, along with a description of the latest treatment generation developed in Chanthaburi, Thailand.

  • Colored Stone Grading • A Heretic's Guide

    Colored Stone Grading • A Heretic's Guide

    Developing a comprehensive colored stone grading system has been the dream of gemologists since the late 1970's, but despite a number of valient attempts, we are no closer to the goal today than we were four decades ago. This article examines the various problems of colored stone grading, explaining why the challenges are at least an order of magnitude greater than the grading of diamonds.

  • Corundum (1990) • Lotus Gemology

    Corundum cover, by Richard W. Hughes of Lotus Gemology


    Richard W. Hughes  |  1990

    Rubies and sapphires are widely considered to be among the most sought after and precious of gems. Together they account for over fifty percent of the world trade in colored gemstones. This book is the first from Richard Hughes on the subject, and the first major work to be devoted entirely to the corundum family of gemstones. It covers all aspects of rubies and sapphires, beginning with their history, chemical and physical properties. Other chapters look at treatments, synthetic corundums, methods of fashioning, famous rubies and sapphires, formation of corundum deposits and world sources, providing a valuable reference source for jewelers, gemologists, students, and the general reader.

    Out-of-print. Click here to search for a copy

  • Describing Color in Gems • A Fool's Guide • Lotus Gemology

    Describing Color in Gems • A Fool's Guide • Lotus Gemology

    Color types such as "pigeon's blood," "Paraíba" and "cobalt blue" have become wildly popular in the gem trade. But there is a vast difference between coining such terms and applying them in a way that is both consistent and logical. Richard Hughes casts a critical eye on the subject.

  • Diamond: An Early History of the King of Gems • Book Review

    Book Review: Diamonds – An Early History

    Diamond: An Early History of the King of Gems by Jack Ogden, 2018. Yale University Press, New Haven and London,, 388 pages, illus., ISBN 978-0-300-21566-3. $40 hardcover.

  • Discover the Gemstones: Ruby & Sapphire Exhibition • Exhibition • Hong Kong

    Experience the hidden world of ruby & sapphire in this exhibition with Lotus Gemology and Van Cleef & Arpels' L'École School of Jewelry Arts

  • Downtown • Gem Hunting in Tanzania • Lotus Gemology

    Downtown: Gem hunting in Central & Southern Tanzania  |  Lotus Gemology

    Since the late 1960's, East Africa has been home to some of planet earth's greatest gem discoveries. And yet, little has been written about certain of these finds. In the autumn of 2007, the authors set out to fill in the gaps, specifically regarding Tanzania's Mahenge, Songea and Tunduru regions.

  • Fiber-Optic Light in Gemology • Living in the Dark Ages

    Fiber-Optic Light in Gemology • Living in the Dark Ages

    The role of fiber-optic lighting in gemological microscopy.

  • FTIR in Gem Testing • A Pink Sapphire Lesson

    FTIR in Gem Testing • A Pink Sapphire Lesson

    A discussion of DRIFTS vs the Beam Condenser FTIR attachment in the testing of pink sapphire. The DRIFTS accessory is generally much better at unmasking heat treatment in ruby and sapphire.

  • Gem Inclusion Pairs • Hyperion Siamese Twins

    Gem Inclusion Pairs • Hyperion Siamese Twins

    Why should Hugh Hefner be the only one to enjoy twins? This special Hyperion Inclusion Gallery features images from the Lotus Gemology Hyperion Inclusion Database, but are shown as pairs, all the better to compare one form of beauty with another.

  • Gem Testing with the Spectroscope • Lotus Gemology

    Focus on the Spectroscope

    Many gemologists have difficulty mastering the direct-vision spectroscope. This article eases the pain.

  • Gem Treatment Disclosure • Trust • Lotus Gemology

    Trust  •  The Ethics of Gem Treatment Disclosure

    The ethics of gem enhancement disclosure.

  • Gems & Gemology Lectures • Lotus Gemology Bangkok

    Gems & Gemology Lectures

    Lotus Gemology's gemologists have lectured extensively about a wide variety of gemological topics including ruby, sapphire, jade, and more.

  • Heat Seeker • UV Fluorescence as a Gemological Tool • Lotus Gemology

    Heat Seeker  |  UV Fluorescence as a Gemological Tool

    One of the greatest gemological challenges is determining if a ruby or sapphire has been heat treated. UV fluorescence can assist in that identification, as well as detecting fillers in emerald.

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