Thursday, October 14, 2010

Gemstone Treatments

Gemstone treatments or enhancements refer to the way some gems are altered or treated to improve their appearance or durability. Some common treatments include:

  • Heating, which can lighten, darken or change the color of some gems, or improve a gemstone's clarity.

  • Irradiation, which can add more color to colored diamonds, some other gemstones and pearls.

  • Impregnating some gems with colorless oils, wax or resins, which makes a variety of imperfections less visible and can improve a gemstones' clarity and appearance.

  • Fracture filling, which involves injecting colorless plastic or glass in the gems to hide cracks or fractures and improve the gemstones' appearance and durability.

  • Diffusion treatment, which adds color to the surface of colorless gems while the center of the stone remains colorless.

  • Dyeing, which adds color and improves color uniformity in some gemstones and pearls.

  • Bleaching, which lightens and whitens some gems, including jade and pearls.

  • Laser-drilling, which removes dark inclusions from diamonds, improving the clarity of the stone.

    The Jewelry Guides state that sellers should tell consumers about gemstone treatments in certain circumstances. If the treatment is not permanent or if the treated stone requires special care, you should tell consumers that the stone has been treated and give them appropriate instructions to care for the gemstone. Even if a gemstone treatment is permanent and doesn't create special care requirements, the Guides require you to tell consumers about the treatment if it significantly affects the value of the gemstone.