How to Test for Diffusion Treated Gems
Step 3: Practical Gemology
Since diffusion treated gems are so common, gemologists must learn how to identify these treatments.
Diffusion treatment usually involves applying color to a colorless cut gem by introducing chemical impurities at an atomic scale. Some sapphire gems receive this treatment to improve their color. We gemologists now face a new beryllium/lattice diffusion process that appeared on the market in 2002 involving padparadscha sapphires. However, we can detect it using established methods for identifying diffusion treated gems.