We got a chance to have a conversation with Ahmed Al Obaidli, the Chairman and visionary leader of the Gems & Metals Calibration Lab in Qatar. His pioneering work has not only established Qatar’s first accredited diamond testing laboratory but has also set new standards in the field of gemstone evaluation and certification. Mr. Ahmed Al Obaidli graduated from the University of Texas with a rich professional background in metallurgical and materials science Engineering. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table due to his expertise.
While talking about Gems & Metals Calibration Lab, Mr. Ahmed Al Obaidli talks about the lab’s mission, the challenges faced in the industry, the range of services offered, and the lab’s significant contributions to the sector, especially in the context of Qatar’s National Vision 2030.
During this interview, we talked with him about several aspects of the lab – its role in enhancing consumer and merchant protection, outlining its educational initiatives and response to global trends in diamond manufacturing. Throughout our conversation, we talked about the lab’s impact on both the local and international gemstone and jewelry industries.Join us as we uncover the aspirations, achievements, and future prospects of the Gems & Metals Calibration Lab through the eyes of Ahmed Al Obaidli, a key figure in transforming Qatar into a hub of excellence for diamond testing and jewelry evaluation.
We started by asking, “First, please tell us about the Gems & Metals calibration laboratory in Qatar. What is the message that the laboratory seeks to achieve?”
With that, Mr. Ahmed started, “The Gems & Metals Calibration Lab is the first of its kind in Qatar, enhancing the region’s position as a global leader in diamond and gemstone testing services, as well as related technologies and research. This initiative aims to transform Qatar into a center of excellence for diamond testing in the region. It has also positioned Qatar as a gateway to global markets, serving both local and international clients in the examination and evaluation of diamonds and precious metals.Studying the project for over three years, we recognized the market’s need for accurate jewelry valuation and diamond purity assessment. Insights from international events, such as the Doha Jewelry and Watches Exhibition, have helped us understand the consumer’s need for transparent and accurate diamond valuation.”He further added, “The inauguration of the Gems & Metals Calibration Lab represents our hope for Qatar to become the first in the Arab world to educate the public about the importance of diamond grading, protect consumers and merchants from foreign supplier fraud, and reduce fraud in this field.
The lab is equipped with the latest global technologies and staffed by a highly trained technical and artistic team, educated at the world’s leading institutes and laboratories in this field.
Aligned with Qatar’s National Vision 2030, our goal is to foster growth, development, and openness, supported by a flexible and balanced economy and an attractive commercial environment. We are committed to empowering national talent, contributing to the diversification of the jewelry and diamond trade services sector, and addressing the urgent need for regulation in the diamond trade.”
This intrigued our interest in learning more. So, we further asked, “What are the most critical challenges you faced in this field?”
“I cannot deny that I didn’t have my own set of challenges. There were few obstacles in our way, including a shortage of national cadres and local expertise in the fields of inspection, evaluation, and appraisal. Additionally, there’s a notable lack of consumer awareness about various stones resembling diamonds, of which there are approximately seven common types.
To address these challenges, we offer an extensive range of training courses designed to keep companies abreast of the latest skills and knowledge in this creative field. It’s important to emphasize that education is one of our top priorities. We are eager to collaborate with a wider network of jewelers and share valuable insights that can further enrich the industry.” replied Ahmed Al Obaidli.
We also wanted to understand what exactly does the Gems & Metals Calibration Lab do, So, we asked, “What are the most prominent services provided by the Gems & Metals Calibration Lab?”
Mr Ahmed continued, “We examine and evaluate diamonds of all grades and sizes, then issue a report detailing the quality of the stone, the percentage of purity, the degree of color, and the shape of the cut. We also issue certificates according to international standards related to the physical properties of the diamond stone.
The Gems & Metals Calibration Lab provides activities and training courses for all segments of society, from students to experts and those interested in the field of gemstone examination, jewelry design, and evaluation. This includes specialized courses on pearls, in partnership with international institutes.”
“Over the past years, the global Covid pandemic has impacted many industries, and the diamond trade sector is no different. Foreign traders have turned to manufacturing diamonds in private laboratories. These diamonds possess the same physical properties as natural diamond stones. However, they are artificially manufactured in laboratories under high temperatures, very high pressure, special chemicals, and modern technical devices. Hence, it’s important for us in this industry to continually develop our skills and knowledge to keep up with all the new developments in this field.” He added.
Lastly, we asked, “What are the laboratory’s most notable achievements? Do you have programs and courses to prepare and qualify specialized cadres in this field?”
Mr. Ahmed Al Obaidli stated, “After opening the laboratory, we were able to obtain the American ISO accreditation and the accreditation for laboratory quality from the Qatar General Organization for Standardization, making it the first laboratory in Qatar accredited for examining and evaluating diamonds. As I mentioned previously, awareness and education are central to our work. In this context, we have conducted several specialized courses on diamond examination for customs inspectors. These courses focus on identifying methods for suspecting diamonds and precious stones, and include a specific course on pearl quality. Additionally, a unique training center affiliated with the department was also established.”