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Gem Treatments

Our Gem Treatments Policy

It is Apsara company policy for full disclosure of any treatments applied to the gems we sell. It should be noted that a majority rubies & sapphires that come onto the market have been treated, usually by high temperature thermal enhancement. As emeralds are routinely oiled, we presume all emeralds have been treated this way unless there is evidence to the contrary. In view of this our Treatments Policy is outlined below. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding our Treatments Policy.

  • Unless we have evidence to the contrary, we assume all rubies and sapphires have undergone high temperature thermal enhancement or heat treatment.
  • If the ruby or sapphire has been artificially diffusion treated with additives such as titanium (Ti) or beryllium (Be), we will describe the stone as 'Bulk (Lattice) Diffusion Treated Corundum', along with a description of the additive used and any special care required for the stone.
  • If there is evidence the ruby or sapphire has not undergone any high temperature thermal enhancement, we shall describe the stone as 'Untreated'. Such evidence could include a lab reports from an independent gem-testing laboratory.

 

About Gem Treatments

The treatment of gemstones is a complex science, which has evolved over hundreds of years. Due to the specialized nature of gem treatments it would be impossible to explain the subject fully on this website. There are books written by experts, which cover the subject in great detail. We do however, feel that people have the right to know what they are buying and so we have given a brief non-technical explanation of some of the more commonly encountered treatments.

It is safe to say that most gems, which are sold today, have been treated in one way or another with un-treated gems being the exception rather than the rule. Some of these treatments are considered acceptable whereas others, such as the glass filling of fractures, have caused controversy. Due to the rarity of un-treated gems, they can command a much higher price by comparison to their treated counterpart.

Many gems are heated to very high temperatures to enhance colour and/or clarity. This includes rubies, sapphires, tanzanite, aquamarine, topaz, zircon, amethyst, demantoids plus many others. Some other gems are routinely oiled to improve clarity like emeralds. Diamonds are sometimes heated under pressure to improve clarity or irradiated to produce colours. Without such treatments, with the exception of diamonds, we would only have a tiny fraction of the gems that are available today and at prices unaffordable to most people.

Some treatments are permanent others are not. Permanent treatments such as the thermal enhancement of rubies & sapphires require no special care. However if the treatment is non-permanent such as oiling, then care should be taken. Oiled emeralds may require re-oiling from time to time to keep your gem looking it's best. It is not advisable to wear an emerald ring whilst gardening or washing the pots and pans! Surface diffused gems will also require special care as the diffused layer of colour may only be fractions of a millimetre thick and could be removed by scratching the stone or re-polishing.

 

Gem Treatment FAQ's

Q. What is an untreated gem?
A. An untreated gem is a gemstone, which has not been enhanced in any way at all, apart from cutting and polishing. The colour & clarity in such a gem is completely natural.

Q. What is a treated gem?
A. A treated gem is a gemstone, which has had it's appearance enhanced by any of a variety of methods including heat, dying, oiling, irradiation, filling, stabilization etc.

Q. Do treatments have any affect on the value or price of gems?
A. This depends a lot on the type of gem. In the case of rubies and sapphires it could have a huge affect on the stone's value. Fine quality untreated rubies and sapphires are extremely rare and highly sought after. This means top prices are paid for these stones. It should be noted however, that a dull, low quality untreated ruby or sapphire would not necessarily have a premium over a comparable treated stone.

Q. Are treatments permanent?
A. Some treatments are permanent and some are not. Heat treatment is a permanent. Dying, oiling, irradiation, and filling are not permanent treatments.

Q. Why are gems treated?
A. There are records of gem treatments dating back hundreds of years. These treatments are performed to improve the colour or clarity of a gem. Filling treatments are sometimes performed on gems which have surface reaching fissures or cracks. It should be noted that without gem treatments there would be only a tiny fraction of the gems available today and they would be completely unaffordable to most.

Q. Are all types of gems treated?
A. Although some gems are treated as a matter of routine, there are many gems which are never treated and do not respond to treatments at all.

Q. Are rubies & sapphires treated?
A. Nearly all the rubies and sapphires on the market today have been heat treated. Heat treatments can vary and some of these treatments are accepted as normal trade practice, others are considered controversial. There are however, a small amount of rubies & sapphires available, which have not been treated but these are the exception rather than the rule.

Q. What does the heating do to a ruby or sapphire?
A. Most heat treatment of rubies & sapphires entails heating the stones up to temperatures of around 1800 degrees Celsius. At these temperatures inclusions in the stones can melt and re-distribute themselves in the crystal structure. This can improve both colour and clarity of the stone.

Q. What types of heat treatments are there?
A.Heat treatments vary tremendously. There are basic treatments where the stones are just heated. There are more complex and somewhat controversial treatments which use chemical additives such as beryllium, to change the stone's colour or lead-glass additives which are used to fill cracks in low quality gems.

Q. How can you tell if a gem has been treated?
A. A gems would need to be examined by an experienced expert to detect treatments. In the case of rubies and sapphires some treatments can be detected with a microscope by examining the inclusions in the gem. However, some treatments can only be detected properly by gem laboratories using sophisticated equipment.

Q. Should gem treatments be disclosed by the vendor?
A. Yes. All gem treatments should be properly disclosed. Everyone buying a gem has the right to know exactly what has happened to the gem they are buying.

Q. Do you sell treated gems on this website?
A. Yes we do. We sell heated rubies and sapphires but we don't sell stones heated with beryllium. We also do not sell lead-glass filled rubies and sapphires. We do not sell irradiated, dyed or composite stones.

Q. Do you sell untreated gems on this website?
A. Yes we do. You will find them by in our products section.

Q. Do your untreated gems come with an independent lab report?
A. For a nominal charge we can arrange a lab report for you with an independent and respected gem testing lab.

Q. Do you disclose treatments?
A. Yes we do. We believe it is the client's right to know what has happened to the gem they are purchasing. Our 'Treatments Policy' can be found by selecting from the menu.

Q. Do you sell synthetic or man-made gems?
A. No, all our gems are natural and were bought to us by mother nature.


 

 

 

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