Gemstones treatments

All, As you can read the disagreement on gemstone treatments and
natural is a hot button topic. I will not get into the arguement
with Steve Green over whether his stones are natural and unheated or
radiated or not. The reason for this is that it becomes an arguement
that no one can prove. GIA nor any gem lab I know of can prove if a
gemstone has been heated or radiated if there is no indicators of
radiation or heating in the stone. Heating or radiation treatments do
not leave indications in most As stated by EGL - We know
that gem treaters are making amethyst out of clear quartz, but we can
not prove it nor identify it. We do know that from experience this
amethyst does not occur naturally in this quantity and quality.

Here is how I handle the situation. I tell my customers that I can
not tell if the stone is heated or radiated unless I know for sure. I
do know that the stone is natural and not produced by man. I also do
not put a premium on the stone being natural. There is no difference
in my pricing between stones that are treated and those which are
not. As a cutter I sell my expertise and artistry in cutting and not
the providence of the stone. I do not use words like Imperial,
Oxblood, etc - as I have found that they have no meaning.

I do have a suggestion for all that have anything at all to do with
My suggestion is that we call natural any stone that has
not had anything added to the stone. That means that heating and
radiating a stone still makes the stone natural. Even blue topaz
would be a natural stone under this definition. Dyed, diffused,
impregnated, etc stones all will be called “treated”. Doing this
will eliminate the current deception of pricing based upon whether
the stone is natural or treated by radiating or heating. Cutting
will be put on the same level as heating or radiating. They will
become necessary processes to produce a marketable stone. That’s my

I ask Steve Green - How do you know for sute your stones have not
been he ated or radiated?

Gerry Galarneau

Gerry, I am happy to say that this time I quite agree with
everything that you have said.....I have been saying basically the
same thing for many years.! There is no way that one can be
completely assured that ANY gemstone has not been enhanced EXCEPT
those stones that you have personally mined." 

Ron, That is kind of like saying you don’t believe that Neil
Armstrong landed on the moon because you weren’t there to personally
see him!

If you are plugged into the gem & mineral business and aware of what
goes on around you many things can be known as true without the type
of proof you are requiring in your above statement.

There are many gems out there to which are NOT TREATED and
absolutely nothing has been done to. Your reasoning would have us
believing very little of anything that we did not personally

Knowledge 3D Properly justified true belief.

It is not necessary to witness everything personally in order to
know that it is true.

Yes there are many treated gems out there of which sapphires are
currently making the biggest impact. But to view all gems as treated
is wrong. Gems and minerals are a complicated varied vast field of
knowledge not easily summed up in simple explanations. Knowledge and
education are the answers to understanding.

In the words of William James “There is no worse lie than a truth
misunderstood by those who hear it.” So please do not misunderstand
the truth of gem treatments and erroneously apply it to all gems.

Respectfully but adamantly,
Steve Green / Rough and Ready Gems, Inc.

Dear Steve, I certainly appreciate your motives in wanting to
maintain “the faith”. Unfortunately, however, you are wrong in
interpreting what I have said as being an assertion that all
gemstones ARE treated. I did not say that. On the other hand, I do
reiterate that one would be foolish to assume that any gemstone has
never been treated or enhanced because if there is a way to do it,
it will be done. I have been all over the world and have seen what
producers are doing to enhance stones.For the most part, these have
been small time operators using relatively simple methods. The
methodology becomes much more complex and intensive as the quantity
and value of the product increases. Please forgive me if I stepped
on your toes, but I would caution you to not take anything for
granted. Innocence is a dangerous attribute. Ron at Mills Gem, Los
Osos, CA.

 So please do not misunderstand the truth of gem treatments and
erroneously apply it to all gems 

Well, I’m with Gerry on this one too and I have to disagree with Mr.
Green. We tell all of our customers that unless we have clear
provenance (i.e. respected gem lab reports clearly stating natural,
untreated origin) they must assume that the material is treated.
Even if you buy something today that isn’t treated, when you go back
to the same source tomorrow it may be treated–quite possibly with a
new technique developed overnight.

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

 I have to admit, in my heart of hearts, that I know that only
Garnets remain (to the best of my knowledge) the one fundamentally
unchanged  gem species. 
Recently, I've been hearing more and more about the heat-treating

of garnets. Just an observation!


I see this getting to be one of those disagreements that no one at
this time can prove, or disprove. Its like other currently
unanswerable questions such as “Is there a God ?” - " If a tree
falls in the forest and no one is there to see it, will make a
noise?" - Schoedingers cat. “Is it in the box even though we dont
see it?” or “Is it live, or is it Memorex?” ( well that one can be

Currently its more of what you wish to believe as there is no way
to prove it. My humble opinion, for whatever its worth, There are
a lot of crooked people out there that will try anything to make a
buck by selling treated stones mixed in with untreated. If there is
no way to tell, who will know, right? The honest wholesaler wont
know, the jeweler wont know, the customer wont know, who can really
get hurt?

Maybe it could hurt many of us. What if GIA , EGL, GAA, or someone
else figures out how to detect these treatments, and your customer
who bought a $1000 sapphire from you finds out its irradiated. What
will happen then. How long did it take until we had affordable
technology to detect the dog slobber that helps identify synthetic
stones ? I see Honest Full Disclosure of the facts, not what one
might persevere to be fact, as a CYA precaution. The Fact is, you
can not be sure, Period.

Its getting harder to detect, and treated stones are getting more
into the market. Im sure some jewelers, dealers and individuals
know their suppliers well and trust them. And at this time this is
all we have with many stones. But many buy used, wholesale,
tradeshows ( refer to the Glass sold as Cherry Quartz at Tucson
discussion) so the highway is flooded with treated, simulates,
synthetics, and so on. If you cant tell, and the labs cant tell,
what do you do?

Fraud has never been uncommon in the jewelry trade. It dates back
many centuries. CZ’s mixed in with Lots of Melees. Gold plated
items stamped 14k. Fracture filling not disclosed. Selling an
untreated diamond at the counter, then setting a cheaper fracture
filled at the bench. ( happened in St. Louis, I even know one of the
bench jeweler who was involved) There is always be those who just
have to make that extra buck, and until they cure that fungus, there
will always be undisclosed treatments and other frauds in the gem
and jewelry trade.

In closing, I would like to grace you with a Quote as well… “A
verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” – Samuel
Goldwyn Or how about one of my favorite of quote of all time !

“I am not part of the problem. I am a Republican.” – Dan Quayle

sorry, just had to do that…:-p

I could be wrong, and welcome criticisms, comments, so go ahead,
Bash me!

Ok Orchians - now its time to Discuss…

Daniel Hamilton Im sure I will get on someones ( insert word of
choice here) list now…

Hi Everyone,

Somehow the Orchid software changed my last post slightly here is
the correction:

Knowledge equals Properly Justified True Belief (correct version)

"Knowledge 3D Properly justified true belief. " (incorrect version
that appeared in my post)

How do I know my stones and probably many of yours and others are
not treated???

The above statement says it all.

How do you know that Lake Baikal truly exists? (assuming you have
not been there)

Fortunately / unfortunately I am off to Mexico City and the Pacific
beaches manana and will not be able to continue this lively thread
until my return on the 25th. I’m confident you guys can continue
without me. Surf’s up dudes and dudettes.

Steve Green / Rough and Ready Gems

Michael, Other than the few “matrix opals” from Andamooka, Australia
and Honduran “black” matrix opals that are treated with sulfuric acid
and sugar, opals that are sold as “solid” opals are untreated. The
doublet is a method of showing the play of color against a black back
ground but the opal itself is untreated. (Garnets are sold this way
as well.) Triplets are untreated opal chips between a layer of dark
material with a dark glue holding them on and a quartz cap. These
are never sold as natural opals, or at least not to unsuspecting
jewelers. Opals are one of the few and perhaps the only gemstone
where treating them only damages their natural beauty. There are
some unscrupulous dealers who will try to cover cracking and crazing
in inferior opals with Opticon, but in the long run it really doesn’t
work. Unless you have a yellow or orange opal (like Mexican fire
opals) the Opticon has a distinct amber color once it is heated
enough to penetrate the cracks, so it shows the cracks rather more
distinctly. The Mexican fire opals that are unstable will still be
unstable after using Opticon so if a person is after a quick buck I
guess they could try it on fire opal, but they won’t get any repeat

I have a beautiful boulder opal that cracked because of the miner’s
over exuberance in cracking the opal out of the ironstone matrix and
it cracked in one of the prettiest parts of the stone (of course),
and thinking I could at least let my wife wear it, as I won’t sell
any opal that is cracked I trimmed a small piece off the worst of the
cracks and tried the Opticon treatment. The cracks are somewhat less
obvious, but with a loupe you can see them distinctly. Not good
enough to fool anyone, let alone a professional. So for the opal
business at least I don’t think there are any permanent treatments
that will fool anyone.

I have developed a treatment that I think will prevent an opal from
crazing. I don’t know how long it will last, but I have an opal from
the Sheepyard field in Lightning Ridge where almost all of the opals
are unstable, and I treated it using a method that mimics the way
opals are formed in nature and after a couple of months out of water
it is still in one piece. The treatment did not fill in the internal
cracks though. When I first got the stone about ten years ago it
wanted to craze so badly that after it dried out you could literally
hear the little flakes ‘pinging’ off the stone. I think my process
produces small enough spheres of opal (still in a gel-like state)
that they fill the spaces in the crazing opal and once they dry out,
the water no longer escapes. It is not a permanent fix. From what
I can tell without an electron microscope, the filling is quite
literally skin deep. If I were to try to cut the stone again it
would loose its outer layer of skin deep micro-spheres. If the stone
were set and subjected to all the vagaries of life that jewelry goes
through, I am sure the outer layer would become scratched, and then I
would have one very mad customer who tells at least twenty potential
customers… An interesting experiment but not a true fix. Buy
opals with confidence, and remember educating yourself about the
stones you are buying is the surest way to get a good opal. Find out
where it was mined, how it was stored and for how long. Don’t rely on
pictures (on eBay especially because everyone can use photo touch-up
programs), and get to know your dealer. The cheapo dealers will sell
a parcel of opal with one “money stone” in it and the rest are of
far less value, but the pictures make them all look good. Were the
pictures taken in water, or just wet. Opals in water show much more
color than just a wet stone. If you can see the stone is really dry
and it has excellent color you probably have a winner.

I will soon have my web site up and running and will bring to light
all the “secrets” that others are selling in books costing as much as
$60 or more. I will try to debunk the "Downing Scale of Brightness."
I am also working on a Flash animation of the actual process of how
opal forms in nature and how to locate it using the scientific
method. I hope you all will enjoy it.

P.S, I don’t sell doublets or triplets just solid top quality opal
G’day Rick Carew AZopals @r_carew

Hust a short comment – I used to thing that cracked opals were not
usable, either. But I recently visited Barbara Gasch at White Cliffs;
she is a renowned designer and maker of very beautiful jewelry, with
many innovative techniques. I saw a couple of truly beautiful pieces
that she had made using cracked opal! And she made the cracks an
advantage rather than the rreverse. It CAN be done! Margaret
@Margaret_Malm2, in Utah’s colorful Dixie

Several times over the years, when someone comes in with a larger
cracked opal, but with beautiful fire and color, I have made leaves,
trim, swirls, etc… to cover the damaged area, and giving the item
an entirely new life, by default , thru salvaging an existing but damaged stone.