Education Center

Gemstone Enhancements

Karats Policy on Colored Gemstone Enhancement

Our diamonds are not enhanced in any method or form, beyond the traditional methods of normal cutting and polishing.

Colored gems however are almost always enhanced is some fashion, including those at Karat. Most of these enhancement techniques have been used for generations. Colored gemstones that have not been enhanced are extraordinarily rare and command unbelievable prices.

Gemstone Enhancement Overview

Gemstone Traditional Enhancements Care
Amethyst Heated to alter color. Basic Care.
Aquamarine Heated to alter color and clarity. Basic Care.
Black Onyx Dyed. Basic Care.
Blue Topaz Heated and/or irradiated to alter color. Basic Care.
Citrine Heated to alter color. Basic Care.
Emerald Infused to alter clarity and/or color. Do not use ultrasonic cleaning. Avoid sudden temperature changes, chemicals, perfume, cosmetics, and hairspray.
Opal Coated to alter surface consistency and durability. Do not use ultrasonic cleaning. Avoid sudden temperature changes, chemicals, perfume, cosmetics, and hairspray.
Pearl (natural and cultured) Bleached, dyed, polished and coated. Do not use ultrasonic cleaning. Chemicals, perfume, cosmetics, and hairspray. For more information.
Peridot None. Basic Gemstone Care.
Pink Tourmaline Irradiated to alter color. Do not use ultrasonic cleaning and sudden temperature changes.
Ruby Heated to alter color and clarity. Infused to alter color and clarity. Avoid harsh chemicals
Sapphire Heated to alter color and clarity. Infused to alter color and clarity. Avoid harsh chemicals
Tanzanite Heated to alter color. Infused to alter color and clarity. Do not use ultrasonic cleaning and sudden temperature changes.

Colored Gemstone Enhancement Processes

The most popular enhancements are described below. For more information on colored gemstone enhancements, please follow the link to the American Gem Trade Association’s Gemstone Information Manual.

Common Enhancements for the softer Gemstones’ such as Pearls, Emeralds and Opals are these below:

  • Bleaching  Applying bleaching chemicals or other elements to lighten or enhance color to provide consistency.
  • Dyeing Adding one or more coloring agents so that they penetrate a gemstone to enhance, even out or change a gems color.
  • Coating sing a wax, resin or oil applied to the exterior of a porous colored gemstone to preserve the natural exterior,

For harder and more durable gemstones such as Topaz, Aquamarine and Tanzanite these are common techniques:

  • Irradiation Certain gemstone colors are only available through the use of radiation. This is often followed by a heating process. The enhanced color of irradiated gemstones is permanent.
  • Heat Treatment  Applying heat to enhance the color and/or clarity of gemstones has been a practice around the globe for generations. It is standard practice in the polishing and finishing process for many colored gemstones. The enhanced color and/or clarity of heat-treated gemstones are permanent.
  • Infusion This process began many years ago by merchants that discovered that immersing emeralds in oil or waxes made them look clearer to the unaided eye. This practice continues today with many colored gemstones.

    Analogous to waxing a hardwood floor or waxing a fine automobile, the filling of a gems surface with an oil, wax, glass, resin or other materials is common practice.

Caring for your Gemstones

  • Cleaning We recommend that you clean your gemstones by following the directions on specific jewelry cleaners for each type of gems. Make sure that the jewelry cleaner is specific to your gemstone. Use a soft cloth to remove any remaining residue.
  • Storing Many gemstones are harder than gold, silver, or platinum and can scratch the surfaces of each other or your other fine jewelry if they are not kept separate.

    We strongly recommend that you store your gemstone jewelry in a lined case or a soft cloth, so the gems do not touch each other or parts of other jewelry.
  • Wear Certain gemstones such as ruby and sapphire are second only to diamond on the hardness scale, however they are not indestructible. Abrasive surfaces, harsh chemicals, and sharp blows can crack or chip even the hardest gemstone.

    Your fine jewelry should be the last thing you put on when getting dressed for the day and the first thing you take off at the end of the night. Proper care for your gemstones will insure that they will be enjoyed for generations.

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