In addition to gem cutting techniques that remove blemishes, over the years many other methods were developed to improve on the natural color and clarity of gemstones. Some of these enhancement techniques are permanent, while others are not.
Over time, many of these permanent techniques became generally accepted by the jewelry industry and can now be considered as “standard treatments” for most gemstones.
Amethyst and Citrine – Amethyst and Citrine are color varieties of Quartz. Amethyst is purple and Citrine is yellow/ In both cases the darker the color, the more valuable the gem will become. Light purple or brown Quartz can be heated and the color deepened or intensified. The light or pale purple quartz can be heat treated to a deep purple, while light brown Quartz can be heated to develop a deep yellow Citrine color. These color changes are permanent and are accepted as standard treatments.
Aquamarine – Aquamarine is the very pale blue or green variety of Beryl. Most of the gem grade Aquamarine is a pale green to very light blue and is heated to intensify the light blue color. The color change is permanent and is accepted as a standard treatment.
Diamond – Diamond occurs naturally in a number of colors that includes colorless, yellow, brown, blue, green, pink, red and black. When the color is intense, the diamond becomes very valuable. Natural deep yellow, blue, green, pink or red diamonds are called “Fancy Diamonds” and are considerably more valuable that the colorless variety that is more commonly used for jewelry.
High pressure heat and irradiation treatments can change the color of diamonds and produce yellow, blue, green, pink and orange colors. Another type of enhancement treats the inclusions within the diamond and improves the clarity by removing the inclusion with a laser. The tunnel through the diamond is then filled with resins or glass hard chemicals.
These treatments are permanent, but neither treatment is generally accepted. Heat and pressure treated diamonds must be identified as such with an inscription of the gems girdle. Diamonds n Gold Jewelry by Spotted Pony does not sell Diamonds that have been clarity enhanced or treated with high temperature or pressure enhancement methods.
Emerald – Emeralds normally contain inclusions and tiny surface cracks. For centuries oils or waxes were used to fill these tiny fractures. Resins are also utilized today for the same reason. These treatments are usually permanent and are now considered to be normal and accepted as a standard treatment – provided that the oil or resin is not colored.
Ruby – Ruby occurs in a wide variety of colors. Heat treatment is used to improve the color and the clarity of the gemstone. The heat treatment is permanent and is generally accepted as a standard treatment. Ruby that has not been heat treated is considered to be more valuable.
Another controversial treatment technique is called Vapor Diffusion. This technique deposits a thin layer of color on top of the Ruby. This treatment is not permanent and the color layer can be scratched off. The Vapor Diffusion technique is not a standard treatment and is not generally accepted by the jewelry industry.
Rubies that have been treated by Vapor Diffusion should be identified as such by the jeweler and noted on the invoice. Diamonds n Gold Jewelry by Spotted Pony does not sell Rubies that have been Vapor Diffusion treated.