Coloured gemstones are highly popular, especially in jewellery, but these gems are often not as pretty when extracted from the ground. Many gems go through an enhancement process to increase their desirability and help improve their looks. There are many ways you can enhance gemstones, and some of the most popular methods are listed below.
Heat Treatment Of Gemstones
One of the most commons gemstone enhancement techniques that are used on various gems is heat treatment. Nobody is sure when the heat treatment of gemstones first started, but we know it has been around for hundreds of years. When a gem is exposed to high temperatures, it can alter the colour of the gemstone and enhance its aesthetic appeal. Some heat treatments can go as high as 1600 degrees centigrade, and some common gems treated this way include sapphires, rubies, emeralds, aquamarine, and amethyst.
Using Oiling To Treat Gemstones
Another technique to alter the way gemstones look is oiling, common in gems such as emeralds. They will use oil to penetrate the fissures in the gemstone and make them less noticeable, improving their appearance. They will use an oil such as cedar oil with a similar refractive index to the gem, so they interact with the light naturally. However, you will need to be careful when maintaining and cleaning oiled gemstones as you do not want to remove the oil from the gem, reducing its aesthetic appeal.
Using Diffusion To Alter A Gemstones Appearance
Diffusion is like heat treating gemstones, as they are brought up to high temperatures, but you also add additional elements when using this method. It is common to add beryllium to the gems before reaching the maximum heat, transforming a colourless gem into something beautiful. If the diffusion is not done well, you can find it only alters the surface colour of the gemstone, which can be removed if it is ever recut or polished again, meaning it needs to be treated again.
Filling A Gemstone To Enhance It
A controversial method of enhancing gemstones is filling, which conceals the imperfects of a gem and hides its flaws. It can be seen used with rubies, and they will heat them and add glass to them that fills the cracks and fissures in the gemstones. They can hide the flaws to the untrained eye, but a quality jeweller can tell if this process has been used on rubies, so you need to be careful when purchasing ruby jewellery from unknown sources.