ENRICHMENT OF NATURAL JEWELS

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How does it affect the cost and authenticity of the stone? Conclusion to the story.

Diffusive processing

During diffusive processing (insertion of chemical substances) only beautifully covers the surface of the mineral. You must be informed about a potential fake. Sometimes “powder baths” are used instead of sapphires. Chemical reagents are inserted into the upper layer of the rock under an extreme temperature. Diffusion occurs, and eventually in several days or weeks the substance’s atoms seep into the rock’s structure, painting a thin layer on its surface, with the rock polished afterwards. The mineral’s color is improved, creating asterism (an optical effect in processed crystals, created through the observations of starlike figures inside the lit minerals). Corundas are the most frequently subjected to this procedure.

Filling

This method of filling is used to smooth out the cracks and gaps in a gemstone’s surface. Glass, plastic, and other materials are used in this process. This method is sometimes used to improve the rubies’ quality. Under careful inspection from a magnifying glass however, imperfections resurface. This method is deceit and a scam. 

The most common question jewelers get asked is whether the gem stays “natural” after processing, or turns into an “imitation”.

The enrichment process (like a cultivated pearl) has been subject to debate due to a lack of professional consensus as to whether a rock can be considered natural after such a transformation. Won’t it turn into a false gemstone after the procedure? Today’s outlook on such processes has become more lax. Firstly, not all types of enrichment can be carried out (considered cultivated pearls). Likewise, the rock’s structure after enriching has remained unchanged.

The only exception lies in the ethics of the jewel business, as many buyers consider rocks a substance with its own unique soul, characteristics and symbolism. People are often ready to spend large sums just to guarantee their rock’s absolute neutrality. It would therefore be only fair to give the full information on all the effects the rock is allegedly subject to.

The number of enriched rocks on the market grows, in part thanks to the constant improvement of enrichment technologies. One of the greatest pursuits in modern gemology is the diagnostic and revelation of enrichment information. This is necessary to maintain the trust of market consumers and defense against uncouth competition.

Official law demands the necessary unpacking of information about enrichment in the following scenarios:

  • If the enrichment is unstable.
  • If during the enrichment the rock has acquired potentially hazardous to humans properties.
  • If the rock requires specialized care as a result of the enrichment.
  • If during the enrichment the rock’s market price significantly changes.
  • If this type of enrichment is not a traditional widely used method.

Let’s uncover a few secrets. If during the test the enrichment is not derived, there is a possibility that the rock nonetheless underwent some type of “sparing” artificial effect. The terminology “traces of enrichment were not observed” is then used.

This implies that none of the methods used have found any traces of thermal processing, and at the same time proves that no other processing has occurred.

Regarding certain rocks, such as tanzanite, andradite, aquamarine, citrin and zircon, traces of thermal processing aren’t always as easily determined, as such a process uses relatively high temperatures. The market turnover for such “improved” rocks is a steadfast practice, wherein participants allow for the possibility of enrichment. In such cases, large foreign laboratories give these rocks special QR codes. These codes indicate that each given rock could have been exposed to the heat, but in the present field of diagnostic methods this is impossible to properly affirm or disprove.

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