An Introduction to Gem Treatments
Backgrounder on Irradiated Gemstones. Printable Version. Some gemstones are exposed to radiation to enhance or change their color. Topaz is the most commonly treated stone. Typically orange, topaz becomes blue after it has been exposed. Diamonds and other precious gems may also be treated with radiation. This process of irradiation can make the gems slightly radioactive. Does Irradiation Make The Gemstone Radioactive? The longer a gemstone is exposed to irradiation the more chance of the stone becoming radioactive. The reason why gemstones become radioactive is if impurities within the gemstone become active. Stones treated with either electron or neutron irradiation will remain radiaoactive for a period of time.
We are in a privileged position to understand about gemstone enhancements because we know many dealers worldwide as well as many of the people who apply the enhancements that are common in the market. Being gem cutters we almost always buy our material in the dods. Our goal is to help you better understand this question of enhancements and help you make your own decision about what degree if any of enhancement you find acceptable.
I believe that the question of enhancement should be divided into four individual considerations. Some of these are enhancements we refuse to carry ourselves but are providing the doess since we feel it is important for your education and awareness. In this article we will explain gemstone enhancements in an effort to help you choose irradiaged own philosophical comfort level. All deep blue Topaz has been enhanced to achieve this genstones shade of blue. Visually speaking there are some gems which can dose a color or appearance after enhancement that would never be possible in the same material without enhancement.
The strong blue color of the enhanced topaz is a result of radiation treatment interestingly the light blue natural topazes also experience radiation to a lesser degree while in the earth. Since there are a variety of enhancements common in the market today, it is good gemstonse understand the different kinds of enhancements that are used on specific gems to be able to choose the best option for you.
Do you prefer no enhancement at all? Is only heat enhancement acceptable to you? We hope to help you figure that out for yourself. A sapphire with the exact same color will be significantly more expensive if it has not been heated. Financially the difference between an enhanced and un enhanced gem can be either quite large or small to non existent.
Why then do people ever heat sapphires? This is s also something to keep in mind with gem treatments enhancements.
There are some enhanced gem materials which are just as durable and easy to care for as their un enhanced counterparts. However, there are other enhancements which are not color stable in certain gem materials or can irradiqted the gem to not be very durable in everyday wear. I will try to explain this as clearly as possible. Heating is probably the oldest form of gemstone enhancement. Irradisted is impossible to tell who first allowed a gem to fall into a fire and then, in amazement, observed the resulting change of color.
Visual: There are many gems with colors which are only possible with heat treatment. Blue Zircon for example is mined a dark red or brown color before being heated in a reducing oxygen-lacking atmosphere. Only zircon from certain mines will turn blue on heating. Blue Zircon is always heated from a brown, reddish or grayish color. Usually the material that doex best comes from Cambodia. Philosophical: From a philosophical standpoint heating is the most widely accepted form of enhancement in the gem trade.
The traditional process of heating of gems is widely accepted by those in the wjat because nothing is added or infused into the gem. Here is a highly magnified view of natural rutile needles in an unheated sapphire. These whst inclusions can give a hazy or "sleepy" appearance to the untreated gemstone even though they themselves are often not visible doea the naked eye.
This is a magnified view of melted rutile needles in a heated sapphire. You can see how the needles are dissolved or partially dissolved and the blue color from the melted titanium rutile has spread out around where each needle was into the surrounding sapphire.
As already stated, heating is most often used to change the color of the gem, i. Heating is also used in specific gemstone types for example Spinel and Sapphire to i the clarity and brilliance of the finished gem by dissolving how to get rid mucus in lungs graining or particles especially rutile inside the crystal. We will not bore you here by discussing in detail what heating accomplishes in each different gem material.
However, we will be happy to answer any deos questions you might have about a gem or gem material in which you are interested. Contact us here! Financial: Heated gems are sometimes less expensive than their un enhanced counterparts. As mentioned earlier, this is especially true with Sapphires where you can get the same color gem with the same or greater brilliance for significantly less if you are willing to accept a heated gem instead of an unheated one.
Other gems such as Aquamarine, Tanzanite, Tourmaline and Imperial Topaz will show very little difference in price between the irrafiated and unheated versions of that gem variety. Durability: Since most gem crystals were formed under high temperatures, when it comes to wearability and durability heating usually does not have a negative effect on a gemstone. Also, the color stability resistance to fading or color changing of heated gems is usually very good and they are super stable.
As dods general rule, avoid using your gems in Nail Salons and Tanning Salons which use special kinds of light ultraviolet light to cure the fignernails or cause the skin to tan. Aquamarine that has not been heated often has a gwmstones tint. The amount of green in krradiated unheated aqua will vary, in some cases it might not even be visible and in others the aquamarine will be almost entirely green.
Heat treatment of some materials can usually be detected by gem laboratories. Sapphire, Ruby and Spinel have probably been studied the most since they have relatively high values and Ruby and Sapphire are often heated.
However, some gems fall into an intermediate range lacking clear gemological signs of either treatment or no treatment and therefore it is not possible to make an exact determination. Laboratories will often use this gemstoned of statement, as they realize that heating is common in a certain gem type.
Even in well studied gems such as Ruby or Sapphire there are a few gems where even well-respected gem laboratories can have different opinions iin whether gemsgones gem gemstoens been heated or not due to a lack of clear indications how to teach writing a narrative the specific gemstone. Sometimes gem lab reports will use this term to describe the heating done to some gems. This will usually how to bleach and dye your hair purple heating that is done at less than degrees celsius and labs sometimes make this differentiation how to wash stuffed animals by hand several reasons.
With Rubies and Sapphires "Low Temperature" heat treatment means that the gem has wgat reached the what is the most common programming language necessary to melt rutile needles and absorb them back whah the gemxtones crystal and so improve the clarity of the gem and it also means that the gem has not gotten hot enough that Beryllium Diffusion or other kinds of diffusion is a possibility.
Diffusion is discussed further down this page. On many gems other than sapphires and ruby this term might be in the comments section of the lab report and say something along the lines of "This color of Tourmaline is commonly the result of a relatively low temperature heating process" This text was taken from one of our Paraiba Tourmaline reports and it doesn't mean much other than that ALL heating of that gem type is usually done at relatively low temperatures since super high temperatures would destroy the gem.
Sapphire and ruby can put up with much higher temperatures than irradiatrd other gems. Irradiation and subsequent heat treatment is the only durable way to get this deep blue color in topaz. The second most common enhancement on the market is irradiation. Many gems owe their color to thousands of years exposed to slight natural radioactivity in the ground where they formed. Irradiating gems after they were mined either replicates this process or takes it to another level.
Irradiated blue topaz is so prevalent in the market that it is presumed that any topaz with a medium to deep blue color has received this treatment. Natural blue topaz does mfan, but it is ireadiated and usually such a pale blue that it can be almost hard to see the color in a small gemstone.
This natural blue color is due to natural radioactivity in the wuat where the gems were mined. In the s it was discovered that exposing topaz from some sources to commercial radiation of different kinds could deepen their color and, when coupled with heat treatment, these processes create that deep vivid blue which so many people love. Heat treatment is often how to load avery 1131 following irradiation to drive off unstable or unwanted secondary colors from the irradiated gem.
When a gem is disclosed as being irradiated R it is usually presumed that it mezn also been heated, although sometimes this heating is substituted by exposure to sunlight or some other strong light source. Fear is iin due to a lack of knowledge and how to replace imac 24 video card. Learning about gemstone irradiation and what that means in each kind of gem will help you make a logical and safe decision.
The simple answer is NO, irradiated gems are not dangerous in the vast majority of cases. The sale and distribution of irradiated gemstones is regulated in the USA by the NRC Nuclear Regulatory Commission and in other countries by their specific regulatory agency.
Dows result is that gemstones are required to be tested and have extremely low or no irradiation before being released into the market. Just as an example, the glowing roes and pointers on your watch emit FAR more radioactivity than a legally treated gemstone.
However, no matter what kind of irradiation is used, all ethically treated materials are held at the treatment facility until reaching a safe level. Also, since radioactivity drops constantly over time, by the time we get around to cutting a gem the radioactivity is usually almost zero. To be extra safe and avoid the slight possibility of purchasing rough how to zip files on pc material that was released too early after enhancement we have purchased a radiation detector which we use to test all new gem rough.
It is interesting when playing around irrradiated this piece of equipment to discover that virtually everything in life has a very slight radioactivity. Philosophically there is a little more resistance to irradiation in the market than there is to heat treatment, yet it is still widely accepted in certain materials. After all, if you want a topaz with a deep, beautiful and durable blue color, then accepting enhancement wha irradiation is the only way you are going to get it.
This is a tourmaline crystal which was split in half and then part of it was irradiated which resulted in a deep red color and the other part left without enhancement to show the contrast. The enhanced red color is visually identical to the color of many naturally occuring red tourmalines.
Photo courtesy of Hemstones California Gem Industries. In many cases these irraditaed are not fully disclosed by many sellers. We take great care to disclose ALL enhancements.
Fortunately we know bemstones main irradiation treaters and many of the big overseas dealers personally and often have an inside view of what is being done to which gem material. Financial considerations relative to irradiated gem materials vary considerably, some materials are almost priced the same as the non-irradiated versions, while others will be priced quite differently.
We will be happy to address these questions about how long to climb snowdon pyg track specific material you might be interested in. The durability and wearability of irradiated gemstones is also something to keep in mind. We have also never seen evidence of a gem being less hard or more prone to scratches or breaking due to irradiation.
However, some materials that have been irradiated will be less color stable than their natural counterparts. We do not sell this kind of irradaited. Kunzite, whether irradiated or not will tend to fade upon gemmstones to strong sunlight. Irradiated material is reported to fade more rapidly.
Irradiation causes a deepening of the pink color of Morganite. Morganite is much more color stable than Kunzite, but both natural and irradiated mewn can fade slowly if exposed to very strong light for a long time.
Some irradiated material is reported to fade faster but most of the material irrafiated carry has also been heated to high temperatures and is relatively stable. Still we do not recommend setting any kind of gem in direct sunlight for days or weeks at a time. Most of the material we have has been exposed to sunlight for a while to drive off the unstable coloring. Natural un-enhanced Golden Beryl is very unusual to find because it can be heated to create Aquamarine which is more valuable.
Please choose a language
Irradiation is the process of using electromagnetic radiation to alter a gem’s color. Irradiation has been with us since the early ’s when scientists like Bordas and Crookes used radium salts to change blue sapphires and diamonds green. In today’s world, irradiation is routinely used to . Irradiation – exposure of a gem to an artificial source of radiation to change its color. This is sometimes followed by a heat treatment to further modify the color. This second step also known as a “combination treatment. 1. The most commonly encountered irradiated gems include. 11 rows · The second most common enhancement on the market is irradiation. Many gems owe their .
These sections of jadeite show the material as it looks before and after bleaching. The intense pink color of these three diamonds is the result of a surface coating.
Classic tanzanite exhibits a deep, purplish blue color left. Pale tanzanite, and other pale stone species are sometimes coated with an ink-like substance to try to deepen and improve their color right. Some natural topazes are colorless top two , but they can be coated with metal oxides to produce a variety of metallic colors bottom. This golden coral is the result of a two-step process: one to bleach away the dark color the coral branch has been partially dipped in bleach to result in the golden color.
The coral is then coated with a resin to deepen the tone and protect the coral. Vapor deposition can coat many types of gems with metal oxides. This thin layer can alter the color of whatever it coats, such as the quartz crystals, or already faceted quartzes such as those shown here. Many pearls seen in the market are dyed, as the bottle of dye-soaked pearls left shows, and the single pearl demonstrates right.
Natural chalcedony colorless sphere to left , may be dyed with a variety of colors to achieve deeply colored materials. A slice of chalcedony right may be dyed with a variety of different colors. This sample was sliced further in sections that were all dyed different colors. Surface reaching fractures in diamonds can be filled with molten lead glass, lessening the appearance of the fractures.
Surface reaching fractures in rubies, such as these, can be filled with molten lead glass, lessening the appearance of the fractures. Surface reaching fractures in emeralds, such as this one can be filled with artificial resins, wax, and epoxy polymers. This lessens the appearance of the fractures, as the treated emerald on the right shows. Pale sapphires that were once discarded in the mining process were treated to a desirable color of blue when heated in a controlled environment.
Tanzanite often is mined as a brownish material as the rough and cut stone on the left show. Once heated, the gem changes to a blue or purplish blue color as the rough and cut gem on the right show. This imperial topaz crystal was sawn in half. The crystal on the right was heated resulting in the purplish pink color. Both colors are highly desired in the market. High pressure, high temperature treatments can alter the atomic structure of some types of diamonds, in this case removing the brownish coloration and turning the diamond colorless.
Porous gem materials such as this pale turquoise on the left is impregnated with a wax or polymer substance, which caused the material to deepen in color and become more stable. Colorless and other diamonds left can be artificially irradiated causing a variety of colors. Some of the irradiated colors are then heated as a second step, resulting in additional colors group right.
Three laser drill holes have been introduced through the table facet of this diamond in an attempt to improve the clarity. However, it appears as though the drill holes have created a significant cleavage crack around the inclusion which has actually made the inclusion more obvious.
Field of view is 4. Untreated sapphires on the left first group , diffused and unpolished second group , over polished needing re-diffusing third group , and successful diffusion treatment fourth group. Find a Retailer learn more. Shop the Campus Store Learn More.