Burnt Diamonds!

I understood from the beginning we are really talking about crud
burnt onto diamonds rather than burnt diamonds with the nice
permanent frosting and not the sudden change in color to a “low
brown” sort of color. After suggesting the extreme "hot flux"
method I realized from some posts that others often do as I and use
a lye type of cleaner beforehand.

The problem heRe: A company president who is out to get certain jobs
done right away and that precludes a good lye cleaning, needless to
say the lack of good ventilation in this shop. Profit before
employee, it seems and is. So, for speed and the best cleaning
available in a short time period, the flux method does work. Yes,
Peter, it does work with stones with “no holes” but takes a few
tries as the flux is very resistant to flow there but it can be

Overall, I prefer a good oven cleaner/lye type of cleaning first but
when extreme measures “are” needed, the hot flux does the job with
persistence on the part of the jeweler.

I admonish customers over and over again to bring in jewelry for
cleaning often, very often. Not only does this help the customer
avoid lost stones and look good in the meantime, routine and
regualar cleaning helps me on the repair end.

Amazing, some customers want rings cleaned and to the eye the ring
looks clean! These are good, dependable, responsible jewelry
cleaning customers. They do get better service from their jewelry
and have learned the values of regular cleaning. Then again, the
othe stuff comes in and looks robbed from a dumpsite considering the
crud imbedded. Some is actually so yucky I want to put on the latez
gloves to handle it. Why don’t folks notice this in their own
jewelry? Not to mention more difficult to clean things like watch

All posts are appreciated by this jeweler. There is always a better
idea and a new and effective method, it seems, revealed by Orchid
members. Wonderful!!!

Blessings and Peace to All. Good holiday for those having one!

All, The original question asked was if anyone has noticed anything
different about diamonds because the writer, an experienced jeweler,
has experienced numerous changes to stones as he worked on jewelry.
He had not had a problem up to this point. I asked a similar
question a couple of years ago about colored stones on the Faceters
Digest. In the past 20 years I have noticed that faceted stones have
become increasingly brittle. For a long time I wrote off broken
stones to bad jewelers and setting techniques that created more
broken stones. Several other experienced business faceters responded
that they also had noticed that colored gemstones were more brittle
than ever before. We all attributed the brittleness to color
enhancement treatment of the stones. I am still encountering
tourmaline, quartz, beryl, and topaz that take a very gentle touch to
stop the facet edges from chipping during grinding. I am becoming
more in agreement with Kurt Nassau, writer of many authoritative
books on statement that he expects 99% of gemstones on the
market have been treated. No, I cannot prove that statement, but
experience tells me these stones are radically treated before they
reach me. Treated radically enough to change the durability of the

I do not know if this applies to diamonds, but I would expect that
if it is economical to treat small diamonds to improve their clarity
or color it is being done someplace in the world. GIA in Gems and
Gemology last issue stated that the craftsmanship of gemstone
treatment and synthesis is reaching a level that there will very
shortly be stones on the market that cannot be positively identified
as natural, synthetic, or enhanced. That is if they are not already
on the market and we cannot tell the difference.

All this makes it all the more crucial that proper disclosure is
followed. I look very hard for natural indicators in all my stones
before I buy them. Sometimes I can cut the flaw or inclusion out of
the stone, but most of the time I leave the indicator in a very
inconspicuous place to help in identification. As a side note most
stones that have flaws or inclusions are not heavily treated. The
reason is that heavy heating or radiation will interact with the flaw
or inclusion and make the stone unsaleable.

Gerry Galarneau

Well I don’t normally agree with Gerry much, but on this latest
posting I do. I brought up the subject of gemstones being more
fragile about 5 years ago when I was in a GIA course in Tucson (on
identifying the new synthetics and treatments) and the GIA
instructor, and most of the other students, seemed to think it was a
question of my skill level (I remember them making a joke about it).
However since I had probably set more stones in the two years prior
to the course than most of them (certainly the instructors) had in
their lifetimes, I knew that was not the issue. I believe there is
something inherent in many of the treatment processes that impacts
the crystal structure of the gems, leading them to be much more
fragile. Just my 2 cents worth on this one.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140

Daniel, On the USFG Faceter list, there was a discussion referring to
many colored stones seeming far more fragile than in the known past.

The consensus of opinion was it was the various treatments to
enhance colors, etc. Teresa

Daniel, On the USFG Faceter list, there was a discussion referring
to many colored stones seeming far more fragile than in the known

For those of us without such broad experience-- Is this a diffuse,
general problem, or are there particular colors of particular stones
we should be wary of? How much more fragile are they? Is there any
way to avoid the problem? Thanks!


All, I certainly wouldn’t dispute the assertion that stones seem to
be more fragile nowadays. mainly because that assertion is not
quantifiable. I certainly haven’t noticed that stones are more
fragile while setting them in jewelry mountings, but I also have
developed a respect for their “potential” fragility through
experience and accumulated skill. It may be that certain treatments
have exagerated the fragility of some stones, but I have always
treated stones as if they were prone to breakage and I seldom damage
them especially those which belong to a customer or which are already
imperfect. If I were compelled to make a quicker profit by virtue of
cutting a stone from the rough and abusing it in the process, it
would seem that damage to the stone would be far more likely. Indeed,
“cobbing” rough is a process which inevitably carries with it the
risk of incurring damage to the stone because it is a hap-hazard
process. Even the process of “bruting” a diamond is attended by risk

Ultimately the risk of breaking or damaging a faceted gemstone is
most likely to occur during the process of setting. The force of
closing a prong over the girdle of a stone is enormous as is the
process of hammering a bezel. In my own experience, I would
generalize that as I have grown older and more experienced I have had
much fewer bad experiences with setting stones. It is a matter of
learning their limitations and exercising caution. Ron at Mills
Gem, Los Osos, Ca.

P.S. Don’t get me wrong I have broken plenty of stones that is
exactly why I don’t break them anymore I have learned their
limitations ( as well as my own )