Is Gemstone Treatment A Science? 

For those of you who are not very familiar with gemstones, let us briefly explain the meaning of gemstone treatment. Reference is to natural gemstones, those that are gifted to us by mother nature. It would be wonderful if all natural crystals were absolutely transparent, with a gorgeous color all through the piece. Unfortunately this is not the case. A fraction of gems that are mined are of a very high quality. You then have the medium quality and the majority remains - low grade gems not very useful to the gems and jewelry industry. Gem cutters and miners have worked on medium to low quality gems, the objective being to improve their clarity and color. Various gem treatments have been experimented, a small number of those turn out to to successful. So could we refer to gem treatment as a science, or the better described as random trial and error. 

blue sapphire gemstones

Simple heat treatment for sapphires is accepted by gemstone experts. The diffusion process used to treat sapphires is also stable but, reduces reduces the value of the stone by around 30% to 40%. Fissure filled sapphires are unstable and have low durability, value drop in this case is significant ... more

ruby treatment

Rubies and sapphires are generally put through the same form of treatments. Conventionally heat treated rubies are the accepted norm. Flux treatment is at times used to treat rubies,  this does not reduce durability but reduces value by around 30%. Fissue filled rubies have low value and durability ... more

Science involves experimentation, large resources in terms of material, time and money is used to fund research and work on 'what if' analysis. Gemstone treatment in that sense is no less a science than other other form of scientific research. Gem manufacturers, work on critical parameters - like temperature, pressure and duration during the heating process. Chantaburi in Thailand has for decades pioneered the science of treating rubies of all grades. Sri Lanka has traditionally been the main center for treating sapphires but, some of that expertise has now been transferred to Chantaburi. 

peridot gemstone ring

Peridot is one of the few natural gemstones that is not heated in any way. Natural peridot has a bright green color and looks tremendous in all metal colors and all light conditions. The gemstone is left untreated and is the birthstone for the month of August. Peridot rings are popular with men and women ... more

garnet ring

The January birthstone garnet, is a gorgeous red gemstones. The mining to cutting operation for garnet does not involve any treatment. The deep red color of garnet is appreciated by men and women. There have never been any reports of any treatment being applied to red garnet. Details of the ring ... more

If you want to see a clear example of the science involved in gemstone treatment, let us tell you about the flux treatment used to treat rubies. Gems with fissures (fine cracks) cannot be heated through the conventional -the simple reason is that these gems would crack and shatter at high temperatures. Add a specific combination of chemicals, and it forms a flux. This is something that reduces the melting point of the ruby. The ruby melts and seeps into the fissures. The liquid ruby hardens and the fissures get filled - the result is a prettier ruby with better color and clarity. There is no doubt that hundreds of rubies would have been destroyed at the experimentation phase. This whole process is nothing short of a scientific wonder. 

tanzanite claddagh ring

1,000 times rarer than diamond and found in just one location on the planet - tanzanite is a dark brownish green color in  its rough form. A very controlled heating process on rough tanzanite,  gives the gem that superbly desirable blue-violet color tone. The gem is the birthstone for December ... more

emerald ring

Emerald passes through some very violent environmental and climatic changes during, the millions of years that it takes for the gemstone to form. This results in emerald have a host of fissures and inclusions internally. Scientifically picked oils are applied to emerald to improve its luster ... more

The treatment of gemstones does not end with rubies, another amazing example is tanzanite. Considered to be 1,000 times rarer than diamond, tanzanite was first noticed in 1967. All the tanzanite in the world is found in just one narrow stretch of land at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro - Tanzania. Rough tanzanite when mined, has a dull dark greenish brown color. The stunning violet-blue color that the gemstone is known for, comes after putting the stone through a heat treatment process. It is however important to remember that, the heating of rough tanzanite is not something that everyone and anyone could do. It involves intricate calculations of temperature and timing - even the cooling time as the temperature of the oven is ramped down needs to be meticulously controlled. 

Let us take one more example on gemstone treatment. Emerald the gorgeous green gem that has its own set of loyal followers. Emerald belongs to the beryl mineral family and has some very peculiar characteristics. It is virtually impossible to find a natural emerald that holds absolutely no inclusions and fissures (fine cracks). Gem lovers fondly refer to these as 'birthmarks' of the stone, they help ensure that no two pieces of emerald will ever be identical in all respects. A few centuries ago humans realized that, soaking emeralds in natural oils allows the oils to seep into the fissures in the stone. This came to be known as the oil treatment for emerald - it is practiced even today and is applied even to the most expensive emeralds. Before you conclude that there is not much of science in oiling emeralds, here is an interesting fact. When choosing the oil that would go to treat emeralds, measuring the refractive index is critical. The refractive index of the oil should ideally be equal to the refractive index of emerald. When this happens, the gem shows a significant improvement in color and luster. 

The information in this report is compiled by the experts at Kaisilver. Acclaimed as the leading online provider of high end custom made jewelry, Kaisilver crafts all types of jewelry in gold or sterling silver with no limitation on gemstone or design. Over 12,000 satisfied  clients across 15 nations rely on Kaisilver for all their gem and jewelry requirements.