Towards the beginning of the 20th century, Eduard Gubelin Sr. became convinced of his company’s need to be knowledgeable, well equipped and ready to cope with the challenges which were facing the gemstone and jewellery industry at that time. The first part of the last century had witnessed dramatic changes: readily recognisable gemstone imitations, such as glass, were not all wholesalers, jewellers and consumers alike had to contend with. The industry was faced with challenges, like the introduction of the first synthetic gemstones such as synthetic rubies and spinels, as well as cultured pearls. This threatened the stability and future of the gemstone and jewellery industry.
During this time Eduard Gubelin Sr. attended a gemmology course presented by Professor H. Michel, of Vienna, Austria. With great foresight, Mr. Gubelin subsequently sent an employee of his firm, Mr. Charles Salquin, to study gemmology under Professor Michel. Upon Mr. Salquin’s return, the firm acquired all of the latest equipment necessary to establish a fully operational gemmological workstation. As a result of these purchases, the Gubelin company acquired the same standard of laboratory facility as that of Professor Michel which, at the time, was the most advanced gemstone testing facility anywhere in the world.
In 1932 Eduard J. Gubelin, the eldest son of Eduard Gubelin Sr., entered the family business. In the years to come he and his brother Walter led the Gubelin firm with outstanding distinction, continuing the standards of excellence that had been set by their father; Dr. Eduard Gubelin became a pioneer of modern gemmology, and Walter Gubelin a pre-eminent watchmaker.
Combining his knowledge of mineralogy and the jewellery business with his love of and admiration for gemstones, Dr. Eduard Gubelin established the importance of gemmology in the gemstone and jewellery industry. Right up to his death in March 2005, Dr. Gubelin continued to be one of the world’s most renowned and influential gemmological specialists, devoting his life and career to unveiling the mysteries of gemstones. He had helped advance the science of gemmology countless times with his investigation and classification of a wide spectrum of gem materials, trips to mining localities, development of gemmological instruments, and his world-renowned, innovative work on the fascinating realm of gemstone inclusions. Dr. Gubelin’s charm, elegance and intellect – combined with an artist’s eye, a poet’s heart and a philosopher’s approach to life – had instilled in him a unique talent to convey complex topics in a manner that could readily be understood, and the ability to enthuse others with his infectious passion for gemstones. The fact that he continued to publish his findings throughout his long life resulted in a wealth of contributions to gemmological and scientific journals, trade publications and newspapers, as well as a number of books devoted to the many and various aspects of gemmology.
Over the decades, as a result of Dr. Gubelin’s work, the Gubelin Gem Lab gained in recognition and stature to become one of the world’s most renowned and universally acknowledged gemmological laboratories.
The original intention of the Gubelin Gem Lab had been to inspect and consequently guarantee the gemstones in items of jewellery manufactured and sold by the Gubelin Company. However, the reputation of the laboratory became such that the auction houses Christie and Sotheby during the 1960s began requesting reports from the Gubelin Gem Lab on important gemstones that were being presented for auction. From these beginnings, the laboratory began servicing the entire gemstone and jewellery industry. Today, Gubelin Gem Lab clients include gemstone dealers, jewellery retailers, auction houses, royalty and private collectors.