Step 2: Advanced Gemology

Lesson 5

Gemstone enhancements are procedures applied to gems to improve their appearance and wearability. There are many kinds of treatments. Some have been used for centuries, while others are recent. People in the gem industry choose treatments based on the gem type and the desired effect. Although some gemstone enhancements are commonplace, the gem-buying public remains relatively unaware of these practices. However, this age of information and disclosure is bringing changes.

Some in the gem industry feel too much information will confuse customers and hurt sales. For example, some procedures involve subjects such as the physics of light response to molecular structure. They argue that there’s no need to disclose treatments that are indistinguishable from natural gem formation processes. Others in the industry feel the public’s right to know outweighs these concerns.

The topic of gemstone enhancements is controversial and vast. So, as an introduction, here are the most common procedures you’ll likely encounter in the world of gems.

Natural Gems and Enhanced Gems

First, let me clarify some terms.

  • Natural gems form in the earth. Treatments after mining don’t change their status as natural gems.
  • Synthetic gems are made under