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Enhanced Gem Inclusions

Gem treatments can affect a stone’s value and stability. Learn how the most common procedures work and how to identify enhanced gem inclusions.

3 Minute Read

Assembled Stones

Two or three pieces of material can be glued together to make a single assembled stone. Very frequently, treaters form opal cabochons with a thin layer of opal on a secure backing (a doublet), sometimes with an additional clear quartz cover (a triplet). These techniques make use of thin, delicate material, and you can see the layers without magnification.

On the other hand, distinguishing assembled faceted stones can prove more difficult. Inexpensive stones can have colored glue between two layers of colorless, synthetic material. Others are designed to deceive gemologists. They may have tops of natural gem material on a synthetic bottom or a natural but colorless bottom with dyed glue. (Center-fused color treated gems use an HPHT process instead of glue to fuse diffusion-treated pieces).

You can occasionally distinguish doublets by viewing them from the side. However, more often, it takes immersion to distinguish the layers. (Use the immersion procedures for a microscope examination). One of the best indications you’re looking at an assembled stone is finding bubbles trapped in the glue layer. (In the pavilion view of the spinel doublet above, those two indistinguishable inclusions are actually bubbles).


Dyes enhance the color…

Donald Clark, CSM IMG

The late Donald Clark, CSM founded the International Gem Society in 1998. Donald started in the gem and jewelry industry in 1976. He received his formal gemology training from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Society of Gemcutters (ASG). The letters “CSM” after his name stood for Certified Supreme Master Gemcutter, a designation of Wykoff’s ASG which has often been referred to as the doctorate of gem cutting. The American Society of Gemcutters only had 54 people reach this level. Along with dozens of articles for leading trade magazines, Donald authored the book “Modern Faceting, the Easy Way.”

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