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Daniel Nyfeler, managing director, Gubelin Gem Lab

Gubelin pledges legacy of credence and lifetime of craft

Discovery Reports

Supported by:Discovery Reports

Perfection is in the details. As with diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, pearls and other precious gems, perfection also requires endurance - and can be priceless beyond any measure.

Such is the craft that has been honed, faceted and polished by the Gubelin Group, whose passion for gemstones has remained lustrous for 159 years. Preserved with its expertise is the family-owned company's values and philosophy, which are reflected in its luxurious jewellery, watches and gemstones.

"Gubelin perfection goes beyond the aesthetics of jewellery," says CEO Raphael Gubelin, who represents the founding family's sixth generation together with sister and company director, Sara Gubelin. "Any piece of jewellery could appear fantastic on paper; we make it perfect by ensuring it is set properly, comfortable to wear and designed for functionality and form."

Tracing back to the group's humble beginnings as a watchmaker in 1854, Gubelin's philosophy carried on as it expanded its range. The company's fine gems and jewellery collections have found their way to Switzerland's top sites including Lucerne, Zurich, Basel, Bern, Lugano, St Moritz and Geneva.

"Coming from Switzerland puts a premium on everything we do," Gubelin says. "We differentiate ourselves by adding value to our expertise through utmost quality and innovation."

Quality and innovation are infused in the group's focused segments: Gubelin Jewellery Atelier and an independent gemmological laboratory, Gubelin Gem Lab. The jewellery atelier designs, crafts, custom creates and maintains jewellery, while Gubelin Gem Lab produces reports, analyses and historic research on an array of gemstones, diamonds and pearls.

Each business segment has built a global reputation in its own right, fuelled by the group's investments in state-of-the-art technologies. Gubelin's 3D computer-aided design software and printer, for instance, enable customers to see and feel pieces before the company makes adjustments and finalises the masterpieces.

A crown to the company's dedication is an array of international awards honouring the degree of quality that Gubelin's generations of craft have achieved. This includes the industry's most prestigious acclaim, the "Diamonds International Award", which Gubelin has won five times in recognition of its exceptional creations.

"As a private, independent company, we only have to meet our own expectations, investing where and when we feel it is aligned with our objectives," Gubelin says. "As a family company, our obligation is to uphold our legacy of credence and invest in the future of our employees and succeeding generations."

Reinforcing the group's commitment to a successful future is its bold and calculated expansion to make its sought-after jewellery collections and globally reputed gemmological laboratory services available in key locations. From serving a high-end clientele in Europe, Russia and the United States, it has now extended its reach to Asia's growing fine jewellery aficionados.

Appealing to Asia's fine taste

"Walking into a Gubelin atelier is a glimpse of the world's rarest masterpieces, most exclusive collections and best custom-made jewellery," Gubelin says. "This is the kind of first-class experience and unparalleled selection that we want to be accessible to customers in Asia."

Such promise has come to fruition with the opening of a Gubelin boutique in Kuala Lumpur's Starhill Gallery in December last year. Featuring a luxurious collection of rare gemstones and signature pieces, the launch was highlighted by the display of Gubelin's Madagaskar jewellery line in yellow, white and rose gold.

The boutique showcases the celebrated vintage Astroline necklace, which was designed with baguette and tapered coloured gemstones by Martha Widmer, one of Switzerland's most successful and multi award-winning jewellery designers. Apart from the Madagaskar collection, it also carries a wide range of precious gemstones and jewellery from its equally dazzling Rainbow and Paris lines.

Combining a quiet environment with striking interiors, lavish feel and delicate atmosphere, the boutique's location in the Starhill Gallery luxury retail mall of the Malaysian capital was carefully selected. As with all Gubelin jewellery boutiques throughout Switzerland, it reflects the discerning taste of its new set of customers.

"Malaysia is a great location for Gubelin's first store in Asia," Gubelin says. "It is a great market for luxury goods and has an international atmosphere that attracts travellers who fit our clientele's profile."

Independent gem lab

As it was with the original company, Gubelin Gem Lab was born out of passion. Coming a long way from being a complementary segment to Gubelin's jewellery production, it has risen as one of the world's most trusted gemmological testing centres - and Gubelin's most distinguished competitive advantage.

Laying the foundations to what would become the world's most trusted gemmological laboratory is Raphael's great-grand uncle and Gubelin Gem Lab founder

Dr Eduard J. Gubelin. With a body of work contributing far beyond the success of Gubelin's business,

Dr Gubelin helped advance the science of gemmology with his lifetime's worth of gem investigation.

As part of his research, Dr Gubelin designed and developed several gemmological instruments such as the colouriscope, gemmolux, fluoroscope and magnoscope. He has been reputed as a pioneer of modern gemmology and origin determination - fields of expertise where Gubelin Gem Lab is best known.

"My great-grand uncle transformed his fascination of gems into a combination of art, science and skill in gemmology," Gubelin says. "It is in the same vein that we are continuing to blend more than a century of human expertise with cutting-edge technology."

One of the most universally acknowledged gemmological laboratories, Gubelin Gem Lab is esteemed for its excellence and its independence. While it has become an invaluable asset of the Gubelin Group, it does not engage in the commercial aspect of its gemstone and jewellery business. It focuses on the analysis and interpretation of the scientific characteristics of gemstones, and is committed to protecting clients by providing only accurate and relevant information.

This is why equally renowned auction houses such as Christie's and Sotheby's have relied on Gubelin Gem Lab since the 1960s when it comes to the thorough examination and analysis of jewellery collections. From auctioneers, the laboratory's clients have since expanded to gemstone dealers, jewellery retailers, royalty houses and private collectors.

Gubelin Gem Lab is specialised in the analysis of high-end goods. These include the biggest and rarest diamonds, coloured gemstones and natural pearls.

"We may be small but we are positioned in the very high end," says Gubelin Gem Lab managing director Dr Daniel Nyfeler. "We are entrusted with the most expensive stones and most complex analyses."

One of Gubelin Gem Lab's most recent high-profile reports was that of the Archduke Joseph Diamond, which sold for nearly US$21.5 million at an auction hosted by Christie's in November last year. The 76.02ct diamond, which has been analysed to have perfect colour and clarity, has set a new world auction record price per carat for its kind.

From its experts to its equipment, the laboratory boasts the best resources in the industry. Specialists range from earth scientists with post-graduate degrees in geology and mineralogy to a mix of chemists, physicists and specialised operators of sophisticated analytical equipment such as laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometers.

Gubelin Gem Lab has created one of the world's largest gemstone databases, profiling about 25,000 stones with chemical, spectroscopic, microscopic and several hundred raw data points for each kind. Together with various universities, it is also developing a complementary software designed to eliminate human error in analysing stones and push the envelope of modern gemmology.

"We invest heavily in both people and technology, which give the utmost confidence level to our clients for their most important stones," Nyfeler says. "It is about merging the artisanal element of gemmology with a highly academic approach to provide customers unparalleled accuracy - and in turn, peace of mind."

Bringing the same peace of mind across the globe, Gubelin Gem Lab opened a permanent laboratory in Hong Kong in 2011, after 15 years of regularly coming to Asia for off-premise testing (OPT). While more complex services still require assistance from its Swiss headquarters, Gubelin Gem Lab Hong Kong is set to expand its functions in the future.

Gubelin Gem Lab will also continue OPT services in New York and Bangkok, where it sets up a mobile laboratory with transportable equipment that examines coloured stones. The reports are issued in Lucerne and then couriered back to the client as quickly as possible.

"It is important to be present in Asia and maintain a strong presence worldwide, but we are not growing just to flash a market. We will go where customers want us, welcoming strategic partnerships and collaborations that fit our sustainable growth path," Gubelin says. "Again, as a family company, we want to pave the way for the next generations and serve customers for more centuries to come."