Gemstones have been used to create beautiful jewelry for many years. Gemstones are rated on a scale of 1 to 10 according to their hardness. This scale is called the Mohs scale. The hardest known gemstone is diamond, rated 10 on the Mohs scale, talc is rated 1. Turquoise is rated from 5.0 to 6.0 on this scale. I will go into this and other aspects of gemstones and their evaluation in my next article. I only mention it here because many of the treatments used on gemstones are designed to make the gemstone harder. Harder gems are beneficial as they are more durable and scratch resistant.
The treatment of gemstones has become commonplace in the Edelstein market today. This isn’t a problem until someone misrepresents a gem they’re selling. Here are eight terms with brief definitions that you should be familiar with when shopping for gemstones.
1. Of course
This means that the gemstone is exactly as it was when found in nature, except for the cutting and polishing. Natural gemstones have not been treated in any way and are often the most desirable gemstones on the market. Certain treatments offer some benefits.
Refined gemstones are treated with various electrical currents that harden the stone and enhance the color. Refined gems do not change color over time and are more scratch resistant. For example, natural turquoise can turn a dark, unwanted green over time. This can be avoided with an improvement.
With this type of treatment, the stone is impregnated with epoxy resin or acrylic to harden it and enhance the color. This process also ensures that the color remains stable over time and makes the stone more durable and scratch resistant. This process can sometimes be detected by a chemical odor and is more obtrusive than electrical amplification.
This is a treatment in which the gemstone is hardened by pressure.
5. Fracture Sealed
This is a common treatment used on turquoise. In this type of treatment, a sealant is used to harden the matrix that occurs naturally in turquoise.
These are gemstones that are created in a laboratory and have the exact chemical composition and physical properties of gemstones found naturally in the earth.
7. Laboratory grown
Gemstones are man-made substances that have the same physical properties and chemical composition as naturally occurring gemstones.
Any compound or mineral intended to appear like naturally occurring gemstones.