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Fracture Filling


Did anyone see the story on NBC’s Dateline about fracture
filling of colored stones? Any comments?

Joel Kahn <@Joel_Kahn>


Joel, I saw that story and it scared the daylights out of me. I
think that the only thing worse is the mailings recently on
radioactive stones. Sol K.


I did watch Dateline last night. I was shocked by the high
percentage (70%) of possibly purchasing a stone that had been
fracture filled. Does anyone disagree with this percentage? Is
this percentage relative to purchasing unset gemstones?

Madrone Creek


I saw the show last night. I know very little about stones and
rely and the seller to be reputable. I know that many stones are
treated but I don�t think that the general public has any idea
that this is so. The show should open a few eyes!

Marilyn Smith

Did anyone see the story on NBC's Dateline about fracture
filling of colored stones?  Any comments?

Yes saw the Dateline story and you bet since I have sale pending
of a very nice emerald and the customer said he saw same I will
monday request in writing a statement that what I’m selling has
or has not been fracuture filled. The alteration industry will
shoot its self in the foot if sales in general go down with the
fear that even very well known and respected jewelers don’t know
what they have in their hands that their supplier said was
unaltered. I hear it from the general public and yes they are
more suspicious when stories are run like this and we in the
trenches have to be even more prepared. Ron

Did anyone see the story on NBC's Dateline about fracture
filling of colored stones?  Any comments? 

While I am very, very far from being a fine gem person, I feel
that the one valid thing that was said was that the costumer
should be informed. While I was watching and listening with one
ear, I was also talking with a friend on the 'phone, who, like
me, is in computer support. He was rambling on about how he
felt that we must do more education of our clients regarding the
nature of computers and computer software. I though to myself
how appropriate the conversation was to both subjects. If
somehow the customer could be informed that sometimes stones are
"enhanced", and that there are very good reasons for doing so,
perhaps they could appreciate those reasons. As evidenced by
the interviews, many dealers also could use some education! In
the early eighties, when I was selling computers rather than
supporting computer users, it was necessary for the salesman to
educate the customer. I know that this is still needed with
computers, but sometin=mes ignored. Perhaps the same can be
said of jewelry sales.

Marrin Fleet

 If ... somehow the customer could be informed that sometimes
stones are "enhanced", and that there are very good reasons for
doing so, perhaps they could appreciate those reasons.  As
evidenced by the interviews, many dealers also could use some

Isn’t this the case with most of the more complex items in life.
Emeralds have had problems since they were first used in
settings. And in a lot of cases the clerk selling the item in a
store has no idea as to what happens to the stone from the time
it is first found. Expect any one who is making a major purchase
to be more critical about what is being presented. It is going
to require more education on everyones part and you will wind up
having to demonstrate the quality of the stone. All this of
course is going to increase the cost. Ed Ward


Keith and List Members:

I hope you will indulge me if I am a little outspoken on this
point about treatments. I could forgive selling a synthetic
amethyst for natural — the separation is difficult,and it is
possible that one would miss a synthetic with twinning and no
characteristic inclusions and sell it as natural. The conclusive
test would be spectroscopy with an instrument which costs at
least $5000, I think. (Anyone with any on Raman
spectroscopes, etc.?) And the difference in price between the
average amethyst and the synthetic would be $5/ct. What could it
be, a $100 mistake? So at the worst, the $100 and treble damages
(wasn’t that what happened in the Ward case?).

However, if you are selling rubies or emeralds or diamonds of
good quality, where there is a significant price differential
between the treated and untreated stone, you need to stand behind
your product, and that means having it appraised or knowing how
to identify the different treatments. I have not had extensive
experience with lasering, glass fracture filling, borax fracture
filling or oiling or opticon treatments. However, I would
assume that all of these are detectable with the appropriate
microscope and immersion fluids. If you are selling stones which
are worth $500 each and more, the expense of testing is justified
and comes with the territory. If you have significant liability
you are foolish to depend on the word of a supplier whom you have
to find and sue if your customer sues you. If the public gets
educated about the treatments, turn a liability into a selling
point by explaining to the customer that he(she) can trust your
product because you are knowledgeable and have examined and
tested it. Show him (her) your instruments, let them look at the
stone thru the microscope.

If you went to buy a car that might have a fractured engine
block and paid $2000, would you accept it if the dealer told you
that he couldn’t be sure the block hadn’t been fractured and
repaired and that it might come apart later or it might lose 75%
of it’s value if it turned out the block was treated?

I’ve had jewelrysalesman tell me all kinds of goofy stuff about
gems that wasn’t true. If you don’t know, you should keep your
mouth shut. If you don’t know about treatments you need to tell
your customer the stone might be treated but you’re not sure
about it. Be prepared to watch him/her run out of the store,
tho’, when you tell them that the treatment might affect the
value of the stone considerably.


I am presently taking my GG from GIA. I just got done with a 4
day extention class on diamond grading. I got to look at a few
fracture filled and laser drilled stones. So we are not just
talking about not dissclosing fracture fill,but a stone can be
Laser drilled,the inclusion bleached clear and the hole Fracture
filled. The real danger is to the jeweler who heats that sucker
up to retip it and burns the glass filler out. The customer will
notice a differance. As a student of GIA(Gemological Institute of
America) they tell me I am entitled to an answer to any
Gemological question i have. so if you people have any specific
questions let me know. After all if I don’t know the answer
myself, then i would not mind asking for us all. Knowledge is


Hi, Jess 4203! (sorry, I don’t have your actual name) You had
some excellent comments. It would seem that deception of any
kind is wrong, including that of passing off synthetic amethysts
as natural. Just ask the guys who try to make a living selling
the natural stuff and have watched the price per carat of the
material drop to practically nothing in the last decade. Any
amount of deception, even in the slightest, casts a dark shadow
on the whole business. While I have never sold gems for a living
(I write about people who do) I still find it hard to believe
that disclosure as a matter of common practice is so difficult
for people to do. Customers should, after all, be treated like
adults; they’ve earned the money to be buying these gems. Your
comment about getting people to look though a microscope and join
in the pleasure of understanding gemstones was “right on.”