Gemstone Enhancements

Learn about common gemstone enhancements in the jewelry and rock industry.

Common and Accepted Gemstone Enhancements

Gemstone enhancement treatments have been used for the many centuries, such as heat treatment of ruby to enhance its color. In today's jewelry and stone industry, many types of gemstones are normally treated to enhance their appearance, durability, or color before they are offered on the market at all internationally. This makes beautiful gemstones available For instance, the blue-purple tanzanite that is so well loved, would be prohibitively rare and expensive without enhancements, because what causes the lovely coloring is heating green brown zoisite to 600 degrees Celsius.


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Permanent gemstone enhancments are universally accepted. In some cases, less permanent enhancements are also accepted, as in the case of cut emeralds that are often treated with colorless oils or polymers. Because most cut and polished gemstones and beads are treated before they leave their origin or shop where they are cut, beads and stones such as cabochons and faceted stones are assumed to be enhanced in some way. 

Some common gemstone enhancements are below:

Agate Dye or Heat Often
Amazonite Colorless Wax, Oil, Hardened Resin Often
Amethyst Heat Sometimes
Aquamarine Heat Sometimes
Aura Quartz Heat and Pressure combined with Gold or other precious metals or minerals; including Aqua Aura, Angel Aura, Titanium Aura, etc. Always
Citrine Heat Often
Diamonds Irradiated (Enhanced Diamonds Only), Laser, Always for "Enhanced Diamonds", Never Otherwise
Emerald Colorless Oil or Polymer Often
Jade (Lavender) Dye Usually
Morganite Heat Often
Opal Doublet Assembled Always, for doublets
Pearl (Cultured) Bleach, Dye, Chemically Enhanced Usually
Quartz (All colors) Heat, Dye Often
Ruby Heat, Dye Usually, Often
Sapphire Heat Usually
Tanzanite Heat Almost Always
Topaz (Colored) Heat, Cobalt, or Diffusion Usually
Tourmaline Heat Common for blue green colors, Rare for other colors
Zircon (Blue & White) Heat Usually

Many stones are also known by trade names. I have an article on stone names to help damp down some of the confusion. 

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