Gemstone Treatments

Several years ago I attended a appraisal conference.  One of the goals of the conference was to provide the participants with a better understanding of the manner in which emeralds are enhanced.  We were shown the steps one would go through to treat an emerald to mask cracks using an epoxy resin.  In fact, we treated a sample stone of our own.  It was an interesting educational experience.  The point I remember most was a comment made by our instructor on the last day.  He said he and many others that he knew of were constantly experimenting with different techniques.   They were all laboring to find the perfect, undetectable treatment.  He said he hadn't found it but he couldn't say for sure if anyone else had.  He implied that the goal was to find an undetectable treatment, not tell anyone and treat as many stones as you could before the industry became aware of the process.

Does that treatment exists?  I don't know, but when I look at an emerald and I see a fracture (crack)  that reaches the surface of the gemstone I assume the gemstone has  been exposed to some form of treatment.  I recommend you make the same assumption.

If  a stone is of great value, the gemstone can be evaluated by a  select few laboratories that can analyze the specimen for foreign compounds. These laboratories can certify the gemstone as untreated.  For most gemstone this would amount to an unnecessary expense. 

Other gemstones are treated as well.  I plan to discuss these treatments in some detail later. 

For now let me simply say that from the beginning of time people have attempted to enhance the beauty of gemstones.  Gemstones are faceted to increase the brilliance.  Oil, coloring agents and glues have been use to alter the color or camouflage the locations of imperfections within the gemstone. The problem with most treatments is they are temporary.  In time oil can evaporate, coloring agents can change color or fade, glues can dry up or change color.   For these reasons you should be aware of the possible techniques used to treat gemstones and their characteristics.

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5121 Center Street, Suite 103
Williamsburg, VA  23188
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