Almost all sapphires, rubies and emeralds are treated in some way to bring out their
natural beauty and protect their natural characteristics. Sapphires and rubies are
thermally treated, and emeralds undergo a special oiling process. These are standard,
established treatments which are accepted as routine in the jewelry industry.
Almost all gemstones for sale to consumers have been enhanced in some way. Those
rare few that have not are at the very top end of the price range.
Types of Enhancements
- Sapphires are
commonly heated to high temperatures to improve the color and clarity of the stone.
This is essentially an extension of a natural process which took place over millions
of years to form the stone. This treatment is a permanent enhancement.
- Oils or paraffin
are typically added to emeralds to enhance the clarity of the stone. The process
masks some of the inclusions, and allows the beautiful emerald color to shine through.
Resins and hardeners are used with this process to make the enhancement more permanent
than oiling alone.
- Rubies are commonly
heat treated to enhance their red color and make it more intense. Heating only enhances
a ruby if the stone is chemically suitable. If the particular stone does not already
contain the right chemistry, heating it further will do nothing to enhance its qualities.
Any enhancement brought about by heat treatment is permanent.
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