Daniel, What appears to be a new treatment is not, it is the
application of the “bulk diffusion” treatment that has had the
trade buzzing for the past two years, applied to blue sapphire.
Previously, orange and padparadscha sapphire have been treated in
this way. Reduced to simplest terms, the addition of Beryllium in
the form of powdered chyrsoberyl to the heating process results in
the diffusion of beryllium molecules deep into the sapphire, this
is, at least, the cause of the diffused padparadscha sapphire that
flooded the market two years ago.
What we have now is not just the heated “enhanced” sapphire that has
been, since the 70s, about 95% of all sapphire on the market, we now
have the possibility of altering color in all sorts of ways.
Detectable? Yes, by immersion in methyl iodide, that is the
consensus, however, Dr. Adolph Peretti, GRS, Bangkok, told me that
some stones really are not detectable by the standard immersion
method. We should hear more by the time Tucson rolls around.