About Us

Balzan Gem Laboratory was founded by Cortney Balzan who has been involved with the gem, jewelry and appraising world for over 25 years. Cortney became the first Master Gemologist Appraiser in Northern and Central California in 1983. He was also the first in the world to accomplish the combined titles of MGA, GG, FGA, and DGA. For over 25 years, he consulted one of the largest retailers in the United States doing quality control on all gemstones jewelry received from vendors and doing repairs, stone replacements, and sizing of rings for their stores. Balzan Gem Laboratory provided services to 30 stores and eventually worked with over 100 stores.

Cortney has traveled throughout the world learning from experts in Asia, Mexico, Europe, and South America about pearls, color gemstones, diamonds, manufacturing, mining, and other various aspects of this industry. His passions for gemology lead him to dedicate over 20 years of giving back to the industry by teaching others what he learned from the masters and his experiences. He obtained a Post-Secondary Teaching Credential from the State of California, started the American Gemological Learning Center, and established the Allied Teaching Center with the Gemological Association and Gem Testing Laboratory of Great Britain, the oldest gemological association in the world. He taught at both centers and the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco.

As the owner of Balzan Gem Laboratory, Cortney has coordinated modern jewelry consultations, fabrications, restorations and gem replacements for one of the largest retailers in the United States. He continues to work with governmental agencies locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Cortney still considers himself as a designated student, teacher and master in the gem and jewelry world. He strongly feels that to be one of the best in his field, one needs to be proficient in gem, jewelry and valuation sciences as they all tie in together.