Far East Gemological laboratory has been around since 1988, the aim was to provide support to the jewellery industry in gem identification, diamond grading and jewellery appraisal services. As the principle gemologist was a graduate from Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in 1980s, it was natural that the laboratory follow the GIA diamond grading system and GIA gem identification system.
The gem lab is well equipped with various gemological instrument like Mettler electronic weighing scale, Mitutoyo digital gemstone gauge, American Optic binocular microscope, GIA Gem Instrument Refractometer, and GIA Gem Instrument table top prism spectroscopy with additional advanced instrument like JASCO Fourier Transform Infrared spectrometer, UV-vis spectrometer and Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence spectrometer for testing synthetic and treated stones.
The key person in this gem lab is Tay Thye Sun, holds a Bachelor of Science (honours) in geology and Masters degree from the University of London 1978. Mr Tay is an experienced gemstone dealer who, in early 1980s, has encounter problem in identifying natural versus synthetic rubies which resulted in approaching the physics department, National University of Singapore to do advanced research. It was the used of Proton Induced X-ray Emissions (PIXE) technique that was deployed and successfully separate country of origin of rubies (corundum) from Burma and Thailand, then progress to separating natural versus from synthetic rubies from various manufacturers from around the world. The papers were published in the physics journal Applied Spectroscopy 1988 & 1989.
In jewellery appraisal, Mr Tay has appraise jewellery items from museum, temples, and family heirlooms. On top of that, he has helped clients from wrong purchase or investment. For example, a jade carving weighing 2,600 kg was claimed to be top quality jadeite exhibited in Guangzhou, China and upon testing it was ‘not right’. He took a few samples of the material from the workshop where the statue was carved and bought back to Singapore for a more in-depth analysis. As a result, he saved his customer from being conned into buying a US$10 million ‘jade’ statue that was probably worth only about US$500,000/-.
Mr Tay contribution to gemology does not stop there, research and development is in his blood and resulted with publication of 80 papers in various international scientific journals like the British Journal of Gemmology, the Australian Gemmologists, the China Gems & Gemmology journal, etc. and also invited to be on the editorial board members. In 2013, he was invited to receive the prestigious Fellowship of Diploma award during the 100th anniversary of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, the only Asian to do that. Also he is a board member of the world bodies of the International Gemmological Conference (IGC) which made up 30 countries. Mr Tay was a president of the Singapore Gemologist Society from 1993-2003.
For more information, visit Gemlab.com.sg