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Treatment and Care
 

Home Products Buyer's Guide

Any traditional process other than cutting and polishing that improves the appearance (color/ clarity/phenomena), durability or availability of a gemstone is considered enhancement. Most popular gemstones are undergone some kind of treatments, and all permanent techniques are universally accepted. For instance, most ruby or sapphire you'll find has been heated to enhance the gemstone to amazing colors of blue and red.

While these treatments are taken as commonplace within the industry, the general public's awareness has been much lower. Further information of treatment codes can be found by clicking here or or alternatively access the guidelines provided by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

The following table provides information on the treatments and care used for specific types, their purpose and frequency:

Gemstone Tag Code Treatment/ Frequency Stability Care Tips
Alexandrite N None -- Normal
Amazonite I, W or E Usually - colorless wax, oil, harden resin Good - fair Avoid heat, chemical, ultrasonic
Amber E or H, D Usually - heated, dyed Very good - good Avoid, chemicals, ultrasonic
Amethyst E or H Sometimes - heated Excellent Unheated stone may fade in long sunlight's exposure
Ametrine N None -- Normal
Aquamarine E or H Usually - heated Excellent Normal
Chalcedony
   Agate D or H Usually - dyed Excellent Avoid strong heat, acids
   Black Onyx D Always - dyed Excellent - good Avoid strong heat, acids
   Carnelian E or H, D Usually - heated, dyed Good - fair Avoid strong heat, acids
   Jasper D Sometimes - dyed Excellent - good Avoid strong heat, acids
   Chrysoprase N None -- Avoid strong heat, acids
Chrysoberyl
   Cat's Eye R Sometimes - Irradiated Excellent  
   Alexandrite (Yellow, Brown,  Green) N None -- Normal
Coral
   Black N None -- Avoid, chemicals, cosmetics, ultrasonic
   White E or B Commonly - bleached Good Avoid, chemicals, cosmetics, ultrasonic
   Pink E or W Commonly - colorless waxed Good Avoid, chemicals, cosmetics, ultrasonic
   Gold B Sometimes - bleached Very good Avoid, chemicals, cosmetics, ultrasonic
  Red D Sometimes - dyed Variable Avoid, chemicals, cosmetics, ultrasonic, fade in light or heat
Emerald E or O, D

Usually - resin/oil infusion,

Occasionally - Dyed

Very good - fair Avoid thermal shock, steaming
Garnet
   Almandite N None -- Avoid thermal shock
   Demantoid N None -- Avoid thermal shock
   Pyrope N None -- Avoid thermal shock
   Rhodolite N None -- Avoid thermal shock
   Tsavorite N None -- Avoid thermal shock
Hematite N None -- Normal
Iolite N None -- Normal
Jade
   Jadeite E or W, B

Usually - waxed,

Commonly - bleached

Fair

Poor

Avoid ultrasonic,  chemicals, heat
   Green, white & purple B, S, D

Commonly - bleached,

Sometimes - dyed, polymer impregnation

Very good

Variable

Avoid ultrasonic,  chemicals, heat
Lapis Lazuli E or W, D Commonly - dyed, colorless wax or oil Fair Avoid ultrasonic,  chemicals, heat
Malachite W, I

Sometimes - colorless wax,

Rarely - plastic impregnation

Fair

 

Good

Avoid ultrasonic,  chemicals, heat
Moonstone N None -- Normal
Opal
   white & black O, I Rarely - oil & was impregnated,  resins infusion Good - fair Avoid ultrasonic,  solvents, heat
   Boulder O Sometimes - oil impregnated Fair Avoid ultrasonic,  solvents, heat
   Fire Opal O, I

Usually - resins infullion, oil impregnated

Good - fair Avoid ultrasonic,  solvents, heat
Pearl
   Natural E or B, D

Usually - bleached,

Rarely - dyed

Excellent Avoid cosmetics, chemicals
   Cultured E or B, D Usually - bleached, dyed Very good Avoid cosmetics, chemicals
Peridot E or O, F Rarely - oil waxed, filling Good Avoid thermal shock, chemicals, ultrasonic
Quartz
   Aventurine E or H sometimes - heated Excellent Unheated stone may fade in long sunlight's exposure
   Citrine E or H sometimes - heated Excellent Unheated stone may fade in long sunlight's exposure
   Rock Crystal E or H sometimes - heated Excellent Unheated stone may fade in long sunlight's exposure
   Rose Quartz R sometimes - irradiated Very good May fade in long sunlight's exposure
   Smoky Quartz R sometimes - irradiated Very good May fade in long sunlight's exposure
   Tiger's eye E or H sometimes - heated Excellent Unheated stone may fade in long sunlight's exposure
Rhodonite D Sometimes - dyed Poor Avoid chemicals, ultrasonic
Ruby H, D, F, R, U

Usually - heated,

Rarely - dyed, filling, irradiated, diffused

Excellent

Good - fair

Avoid chemicals, ultrasonic, pressure, repolishing, recutting
Sapphire H, U, R

Usually - heated,

Rarely - irradiated, diffused

Excellent

Good - poor

Avoid repolishing, recutting, fades in light or heat
Spinel N None -- Normal
Tanzanite E or H Usually - heated Excellent Avoid thermal shock
Topaz
   Blue R Usually - irradiated Excellent Avoid ultrasonic, thermal shock
   Yellow/ Orange R Usually - irradiated Variable Avoid ultrasonic, thermal shock
Tourmaline
   Green, Blue E or H Commonly - heated Excellent Avoid ultrasonic, chemicals, thermal shock
   Pink, Red H, R

Sometimes - heated,

Commonly - irradiated

Excellent

Good - fair

Avoid ultrasonic, chemicals, thermal shock
   Yellow/ Orange H, R

Sometimes - heated,

Commonly - irradiated

Excellent

Good - fair

Avoid ultrasonic, chemicals, thermal shock
   Bicolored E or H Commonly - heated Excellent Avoid ultrasonic, chemicals, thermal shock
Turquoise I, W, D

Commonly - plastic & oil impregnated,

Rareli - dyed

Good - fair

Poor

Avoid hot water, chemicals
Zircon
   Blue E or H Routinely - heated Good - fair Avoid harsh abrasives
   Green E or H Routinely - heated Good - fair Avoid harsh abrasives
   Yellow E or H Sometimes - heated Good - fair Avoid harsh abrasives
   Colorless E or H Routinely - heated Good - fair Avoid harsh abrasives

 

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Last modified: 07/27/08