Gemstone Treatment Guide


Some gemstones necessitate a form of treatment to make them sturdy enough and/or increase their natural beauty so they can be turned into wearable works of art. We use the same symbols as those described by the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA). We at Emerald Creations will disclose all treatments (also known as enhancements), to the gems used in our jewelry pieces with the exception of normal cutting and polishing. We will also disclose the method of treatment, if known to us. This disclosure will appear on the product page utilizing the symbols below.

(ASBL) - Assembled: Products made of multiple layers or combinations of manufactured and/or natural materials joined together. Example: opal triplets.

(B) - Bleaching: The use of chemical agents to lighten or remove a gemstone's color.

(C) - Coating: Surface treatments to improve appearance; provide color or other special effects.

(D) - Dyeing: The introduction of coloring matter into a gemstone to give it new color, intensify present color or improve color uniformity.

(E) - Enhanced: This indicates that this type of gemstone is routinely enhanced. Since many treatments are difficult or impractical to prove definitively, the approach taken in our printed materials and invoices is to assume, unless otherwise indicated, that such treatment has been done to the particular gemstone material being described. If the particular type of treatment is known, that treatment symbol will be stated, rather than the "E" symbol.

(F) - Filling: As a by-product of heat treatment, this is the presence of solidified borax or similar colorless substances which are visible under properly illuminated 10x magnifications.

(G) - Gamma/Electron Irradiation: The use of gamma and/or electron bombardment to alter a gemstone's color, which may be followed by a heating process.

(H) - Heating: The use of heat to effect desired alteration of color, clarity and/or phenomena.

(I) - Infilling: The intentional filling of surface-breaking cavities or fractures usually with glass, plastic, opticon with hardeners and/or hardened foreign substances to improve durability, appearance and/or add weight.

(IMIT) - Imitation: Manmade products, fabricated in such materials as glass, ceramic or plastic designed to imitate or resemble the appearance, but not duplicate the characteristic properties, of a natural gemstone.

(L) - Lasering: The use of lasers and chemicals to reach and alter inclusions in diamonds.

(MM) - Manmade: Fabricated products.

(N) - Natural: Stones which are not currently known to be enhanced.

(O) - Oiling/Resin Infusion: The intentional filling of surface-breaking cavities with a colorless oil, wax, natural resin or unhardened manmade material into fissured transparent/translucent gemstones to improve appearance.

(R)- Irradiation: The use of neutrons, requiring an environmental safety release from the NRC, with the combination of any other bombardment and/or heat treatment to alter a gem's color.

(S) - Stabilization (Bonding): The use of a colorless bonding agent (commonly plastic) with a porous gemstone to give it durability and improve appearance.

(SYN) - Synthetic: These are manmade materials which have essentially the same optical, physical and chemical properties as a naturally occurring counterpart.

(U) - Diffusion: The use of chemicals in conjunction with high temperatures to produce color and/or asterism (star-like) inclusions.

(W) - Waxing/Oiling: The impregnation of a colorless wax, paraffin and/or oil in porous opaque gemstones to improve their appearance.