Articles / Scientific Methods Enhance Gems' Appearance

This is due to several reasons. First, today's gemologists employ improved methods of cutting colored gemstones to maximize their natural beauty. Second, new techniques have been developed that actually improve the color of the natural stones.

Although most enhancements are common and acceptable in the fine jewelry industry, it is important that you understand what treatments have been used in order to ensure the longevity and beauty of your stones. This is because some colored-treated gemstones can be damaged by improper cleaning methods.

Heat treatments, irradiation or a combination of the two are fairly common practices for enriching the color of aquamarines, tourmalines, amethysts, citrines and blue topaz. In gemstones prone to tiny surface cracks, such as fancy colored tourmalines, the fissures may be filled with resins.

Sapphires and rubies are often heated to improve their color and clarity. Some rubies also contain fissures that are filled with a glass-like substance during the heating process. Emeralds, which are softer than the other two, are frequently immersed in clear resins, waxes or oils to enhance their color.

While all of these enhancements are permanent, they can be undone if gemstones are exposed to abrasives or strong chemicals. Therefore, it's best to avoid using chemical cleaning methods on your jewelry and to consult us for important tips on the best ways to clean and store your precious gemstones. Please accept our invitation to bring your gemstone jewelry into our store for an annual inspection and a professional cleaning.

David WeissDavid Weiss

Graduate Gemologist, GIA
Certified Appraiser