Colored gemstones have so much personality! They can have bright, stunning intensities of color that grab you from across the room or have a soft, sensual color that lures you in. Colored gemstones can take center stage in an engagement ring or be the perfect accent to your ring stack. Last week in my blog www.angelacisneros.com/post/whats-your-color, we learned that the most important thing to consider when choosing a colored gemstone is if you like the color. This week, I want to educate you on gemstone treatments what you should know before purchasing a colored gemstone.
Since ancient times, colored gemstones have been routinely treated to enhance the color or improve clarity. We have more scientific processes now, but the concept is still the same. For instance, surface reaching fractures in Emeralds have been filled with essential oils and waxes since Cleopatra first fell in love with them. Emeralds naturally have many surface reaching fractures due to the way they are formed underground. Some gemstone treatments are stable and need minimal care while others require special care which is important for you to know when purchasing a lovely gemstone to grace your special person or yourself.
Heat Treatment: Heat treatment is one of the most common and accepted gemstone treatments. The idea behind it is that it is continuing what mother nature would have done if it stayed in the Earth. It is the most durable and permanent of all the treatments. The gemstone is exposed to high heat which deepens or changes the color. Some of the most common stones that are heat treated are Ruby, Sapphire, Amethyst, Citrine, and Aquamarine. Interestingly, Aquamarine is most often blue-green in color, and heat treatment takes the green component out so that it is a cool blue! Also, when you encounter a Ruby or Sapphire with incredible color that has not been heat treated, oh boy, you are seeing something very special!
Fracture or Cavity Filling: As noted above, Emeralds are filled with oils and resins to improve their clarity, but they do need special care. Hot water from dishes, heat from a jeweler’s torch for repair, and chemicals can all damage the filler altering the look of your Emerald, and in some cases, it is permanent. In an earlier blog www.angelacisneros.com/post/diamond-clarity-treatments-are-they-for-me, I talk about how diamonds can also be fracture filled with glass to improve their clarity. Ruby can also be fracture filled with glass and has made headlines because unscrupulous dealers have tried to pass it off as having no treatment. As with Emeralds, this treatment needs the same special care, but it also significantly reduces the cost of a gemstone in comparison with one that has not been clarity enhanced.
Surface Coating: Surface coating is one of the oldest treatments. A coloring agent is applied to the back/bottom surface of the gemstone or to the surface of the whole gemstone which changes the color of the gemstone. You may see a gemstone advertised called Mystic Topaz which darkens the stone and has a rainbowy flash. That is clear Topaz with a surface coating that is ultra-reflective. Some other gemstones that can have surface coating are Diamonds, Coral, Quartz, and Tanzanite. Surface coating requires special care because that coating can very easily be scratched making your gemstone look really bad. This is also a treatment that significantly lowers the price of a gemstone.
Dyeing: Dyeing is a process where dye is introduced to porous or fracture filled gemstones to change the color. When you see a Pearl that is chocolaty brown or rosy pink, that Pearl has been dyed! Those colors don’t happen in nature, but they do happen in fashion! Coral, Nephrite Jade, Chalcedony, and Turquoise are other materials that are commonly dyed. Acetone or alcohol can dissolve the dye, and long exposure to sunlight can fade the color too.
This is not an exhaustive list of gemstone treatments but some of the most common. According to the FTC, gemstone treatments must be disclosed in the description and at the time of purchase. It’s important for you to know what your buying, how to take care of your gemstone, and also to know why it seems like the Ruby or Diamond you are purchasing is an incredible deal.
I would love to help you with your special purchase or custom design! Angela Cisneros Jewelry Concierge brings back the joy and confidence of jewelry shopping, so that you can celebrate with ease! My by-appointment approach means:
One-on-one appointments (personal attention and no crowds!)
Discretion and privacy (surprises remain surprises!)
Expert help from a Graduate Gemologist with 23 years of experience (yep, that’s me!)
Book your FREE appointment with me today! www.angelacisneros.com/book-appointment
*Photo Credit: The Gemological Institute of America