The base of the Gzhelian is at the first appearance of the FusulinidageneraDaixina, Jigulites and Rugosofusulina, or at the first appearance of the conodontStreptognathodus zethus. The top of the stage (the base of the Permian system) is at the first appearance of the conodont Streptognathodus isolatus within the Streptognathus "wabaunsensis" chronocline. Six meters higher in the reference profile, the Fusulinida species Sphaeroschwagerina vulgaris aktjubensis appears.
At the moment (2008), a golden spike for the Gzhelian stage is yet lacking. A candidate is a section along the Ussolka river (a tributary of the Belaya river) at the edge of the hamlet of Krasnoussolsky, about 120 kilometres south-east of Ufa and 60 kilometres north-east of Sterlitamak (in Bashkortostan).
^Davydov, V.I.; Glenister, B.F.; Spinosa, C.; Ritter, S.M.; Chernykh, V.V.; Wardlaw, B.R. & Snyder, W.S.; 1998: Proposal of Aidaralash as Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for base of the Permian System, Episodes 21(1): pp 11-18, 
^Chernykh, V.V.; Chuvashov, B.I.; Davydov, V.I.; Schmitz, M. & Snyder, W.S.; 2006: Usolka section (southern Urals, Russia): a potential candidate for GSSP to define the base of the Gzhelian Stage in the global chronostratigraphic scale Geologija 49(2): pp 205–217,