We feel that any process performed on a gemstone, beyond cutting and polishing, which can change its appearance or value, should be disclosed to the purchaser of a piece of our jewelry. You can then factor the importance of this information into your purchase decision. In each Product Detail section of the website and in the Order Acknowledgement, we disclose the treatments performed on gemstones mounted in our 100 East and Sas E Gems branded jewelry. Since many enhancements are difficult or impractical to prove definitively, the approach we take with many routinely enhanced gemstones is to assume, unless otherwise indicated, they have been enhanced in this manner. If a particular enhancement is known, we will state that specifically.
BERYL – Popular Gemstone Varieties of Beryl and Potential Treatments
Aquamarine – heat, irradiation, fracture filling
Aquamarines are naturally a greenish-blue color. Some people enjoy this natural greenish color, however, others prefer a purer blue. Greenish aquamarine is heated to create the purer blue color. Most aquamarine in today’s market is heat treated.
Emerald – fracture filling, oiling, dyeing, coating
When mined, almost all emeralds contain minute fissures. Early gem merchants discovered that immersing emeralds containing surface-reaching fissures in clear oils or paraffin rendered the fissures nearly invisible to the naked eye. Over time, more sophisticated technologies were developed to clarity enhance emeralds. Today, surface-reaching fractures in emerald are sometimes filled with essential oils, other oils, waxes, artificial resins, and polymers to reduce the visibility of the fractures and fissures. The volume of filler material present can range from insignificant to major amounts. Special care must be taken when wearing and cleaning emerald-containing jewelry. Cleaning and re-treating emeralds with fresh oils is also possible.
Morganite – heat, irradiation, fracture filling
Morganite is a pinkish colored beryl, which is almost always heat treated to create a purer pink color.
CHALCEDONY – Popular Gemstone Varieties of Chalcedony and Potential Treatments
Black Onyx – dyeing, heating
Black onyx is actually a solid colored member of the chalcedony family that is always dyed black to give it a uniform and consistent color. This tradition of dying chalcedony to create black onyx dates back for centuries.
Cultured Pearls – irradiation, dying, bleaching, oiling, coating, impregnating. Check out our superb collection of cultured pearl jewelry.
Cultured freshwater and saltwater pearls are often bleached to achieve a uniform color. Tinting is used to cause a subtle change in the pearl’s coloration. They may also be polished in tumblers to clean and improve their luster. While most people think of pearls as white, they also come naturally in a variety of colors, such as gold, pink, lavender, gray and black. Coating, dyeing, heat treating and irradiation are commonly used to copy the natural coloration of cultured pearls. Filling, oiling and impregnating are utilized to fill voids and to diminish the appearance of cracks. Some colors of dyed cultured pearls may fade,
DIAMONDS - diamonds are separated into near colorless diamonds which are covered by the GIA D-Z scale as well as fancy colored diamonds.
Colorless and Near Colorless Diamonds – heating and pressure (HPHT Treatment), laser drilling, bleaching, coating, fracture filling. All the near colorless diamonds used in our 100 East and Sas E Gems branded jewelry are natural and untreated. An example of the colorless and near colorless diamonds we use, can be seen by clicking the link to our diamond jewelry.
Impurities (inclusions) are often trapped within the crystal structure of diamonds. One method of reducing the effect of dark inclusions involves using a narrow focused beam of laser light to burn an open channel from the surface of a diamond to reach the inclusions. This is generally followed by the use of a chemical forced into the channel to dissolve or alter the appearance of the inclusion.
Fractures, cracks, breaks and laser holes in the diamond that would normally detract from its appearance can be filled with clear glass or resin (known as fracture-filled diamonds). Fracture filling is not considered permanent, as the filling material can change color or be removed.
Heating diamonds at high pressures and high temperatures (HPHT treatment) can remove or lessen their brownish coloration, improving their color rating on the GIA D-Z scale.
Colored Diamonds (aka Fancy Colored Diamonds) – heating, heating and pressure (HPHT and LPHT), irradiation, laser drilling, bleaching, coating, fracture filling. Examples of the exquisite untreated fancy colored diamonds we used in our jewelry can also be seen by viewing our diamond jewelry.
Diamonds also come in many colors. Irradiation can be used on certain yellowish or brownish tinted diamonds to permanently enhance certain innate color properties, allowing them to display their hues more brilliantly. This process produces rich yellow, blue and green diamonds, and is considered permanent.
Heating and pressure treatment can enhance the color (blue, pink, yellow, etc.) of some colored diamonds.
Some Black diamonds naturally occur in nature. However, the majority of black diamonds are created by exposing near colorless diamonds to conditions of extreme heat and/or irradiation.
LAPIS LAZULI – dyeing, waxing/oiling, coating
Dying, waxing and oiling Lapis Lazuli are common treatments. Dyed lapis lazuli may fade over time.
OPAL – dying, waxing/oiling, assembled products
Opal is typically untreated, but it may be impregnated with oil, wax, or plastic to enhance color and stability. Click the link to check out our opal jewelry.
Opal doublets are created by cementing thin layers of opal to an ironstone or black backing. Opal triplets are created by adding a clear dome to and opal doublet, giving a cabochon appearance and adding durability to the thin layer of opal. Exposure of doublets or triplets to solvents or steam cleaning can degrade the epoxy, damaging the item.
QUARTZ – Popular Gemstone Varieties of Quartz and Potential Treatments
Amethyst – heating, irradiation, dyeing
Darker hues of amethyst are rarely enhanced. Some overly dark varieties respond to heat treatment to lighten the stones. Heating can also remove unwanted brownish inclusions in some amethysts. Amethyst may fade with prolonged exposure to strong light and heat. Click the link to see 100 East Fine Jewelry amethyst jewelry pieces.
Citrine – heating, irradiation, dyeing
Some forms of amethyst can be heated to create citrine.
Ametrine – heating, irradiation, dyeing
Other transparent varieties of Quartz – heating, irradiation, quench crackling, dyeing, coating
Tiger’s Eye Quartz – heating, dyeing, bleaching
Dyeing has been used on tiger’s eye quartz since ancient times. Dyed tiger’s eye quartz may fade over time.
RUBY – heating, dyeing, coating, diffusion, fracture/cavity filling. If you are interested, check out our elegant heat treated ruby jewelry.
Once mined, ruby is commonly heated to high temperatures to improve the color and remove imperfections and impurities. Diffusion is another level of enhancement of rubies, which occurs by introducing color causing elements during a very high temperature heating process in order to change or intensify the color of the gemstone. Re-cutting or re-polishing diffusion-treated gemstones can sometimes affect the stone’s color.
Some natural rubies with surface reaching fissures may be treated with oils or dyes, resulting in stronger colors, but lacking durability. Special care is required. Another treatment of ruby material with surface reaching fissures is filling with lead glass to improve its appearance. This composite material is far less costly than natural ruby.
SAPPHIRE - heating, dyeing, coating, diffusion, fracture/cavity filling, irradiation. Click the link to check out our heat treated sapphire jewelry!
Most known for a pure blue color, there are actually many colors and hues of sapphire from which to choose; pinks; oranges, greens, purples, yellow, etc., all are available in a variety of tones and saturation.
Methods have evolved over the centuries to enhance the purest hues of sapphire. This is often achieved by controlled heating of the gemstone to improve clarity and/or color. Diffusion is another level of enhancement of sapphires, which occurs by introducing color causing elements during a very high temperature heating process in order to change or intensify the color of the gemstone. Re-cutting or re-polishing diffusion-treated gemstones can affect the stone’s color.
Irradiation is sometimes used with colorless to near colorless sapphire to create yellow and orange colors. This treatment is not stable, as the color may fade over time.
While less prevalent than with ruby, natural sapphire material with surface reaching fissures can be filled with lead glass to improve its appearance. This composite material is far less costly than natural sapphire.
TANZANITE – heating, coating (rare). Check out our stunning heat treated tanzanite jewelry.
Virtually every tanzanite is heated to permanently change its color from its natural orange-brown color to the spectacular violet-blue color for which this gemstone variety is known.
TOPAZ – heating and/or irradiation, coating, diffusion. Click the link to check out our magnificent treated blue topaz jewelry.
Natural topaz commonly is colorless and also ranges in color from yellow and amber gold (today’s iconic topaz colors) to pinkish and reddish orange and all the brown and orange colors in between, along with some rare pinks and reds. Heating yellowish pink topaz sometimes has the effect of removing the yellowish color component, thereby intensifying the pink color.
Nature rarely produces topaz in the blue variety, although some examples have been found. A two-step enhancement method is used to change colorless topaz to blue. Colorless topaz is irradiated to brown and then heated into a variety of rich blue colors.
Irradiation can also be used to create a yellow to yellowish brown. However, this treatment can fade over time.
Some colorless topaz is coated with metal oxides to create the appearance of a variety of different colors. In the past, such treatments were often described as a form of “diffusion” of a chemical into the surface of the gemstone, but this was a misnomer since in most cases the added color was confined to the surface of the gemstone. These gemstones must be handled with care, as the coating can be scratched, abraded and worn off.
TOURMALINE – heating, irradiation, oiling/resin infusion. Click the link to check out our colorful tourmaline jewelry. Tourmalines are found in an abundant array of colors. Dark blue, green and blue-green tourmalines are occasionally heated to lighten their color. Red tourmalines (also known as Rubellites) and pink varieties are sometimes heated or irradiated to improve their colors. Heat and irradiation color enhancement of tourmalines are permanent. Occasionally, tourmalines may have surface-reaching fissures that are filled with resins. This treatment is not considered permanent, particularly if exposed to harsh abrasives or chemical solvents.
ZIRCON – heat. Click the link to see the fire in our zircon jewelry.
Zircon comes in an array of colors; a range of red to orange, yellow to brown and blue to green. Some reddish brown zircons are heated in controlled environments to produce more commercially viable colors, including an intense blue, red, orange or yellow stones. Avoid prolonged exposure of heat treated zircon to strong light.
The following gemstones are seldom, if ever, altered or treated by man:
APATITE - as seen in some of our moonstone and apatite jewelry.
GARNET - as seen in our stylish garnet jewelry.
MOONSTONE ORTHOCLASE FELDSPAR - as seen in our cat's eye moonstone jewelry.
PERIDOT - as seen in our peridot jewelry.
SPINEL - as seen in our spinel jewelry.
SUNSTONE LABRADORITE FELDSPAR - as seen in our Oregon sunstone jewelry.