Treated stones and prurient curiosity

Was trapped in the mall by a bad freak storm- usually a nightmare
BUT the guys at the hyperfashionable jewelry store let me try on the
big rocks for kicks. Now, for a suburban shopping mall, the stuff was
too good to be true. Especially the perfectly matched giant pear
shaped emerald earrings- great color, but no inclusions, no blue
spirits, nothing that makes a good emerald interesting. I’m no expert
but these stones looked like they were dyed glass. And they were too
cheap for the Crown Jewels effect they had. $12K is not cheap- but
for a matched pair of this size with a rim of nice diamonds it’s
questionable. Strangest? the tables (top of the stones?) had visible
grooves from the cutting, which seemed sloppy on a stone so big. I
could see it with my aging bare eye. Beautiful settings though. But
shouldn’t they be polished down? At least on the faces?

My point? Just out of curiosity I need a website or a book about
stone treatments and lab grown stuff. Not too technical- Think
advanced consumer. My work is set with bits of glass and mirror off
the streets, so I’m not up on precious stones. I do like to look
though, and I want to know what I’m seeing and why the alarms are
going off on some things I just know aren’t right.

And how do they make those funky mystic topaz? I swear they’re the
new mood ring. ;-D Thanks,

Damn I looked good in those earrings! I’m sure they sold quick.

Hi Barbara and All, I am not sure how big “giant” is from your
description. The fact that the “emerald” stones are clean to the
eye, or have polish marks on the table is not proof they are
synthetic, treated, or imitation.

However, the market contains a large amount of man-made (synthetic)
variety of gems in very nice settings that are not cheap. You still
get the great look at less money. Thus it is possible they were
Gilsons, Chathams, or some Japanese or Russian synthetics. Then
again at $12K they could be natural.

“Mystic Topaz”… I think that is the name being used for the
diffusion treated topaz. The topaz raw material is natural and near
colorless when it comes out of the ground. This material is then
cut, put into a chemical mix, and then heated for a specific
duration. Over time the treatment diffuses into the natural material
creating the color. The distance which the diffusion penetrates into
the cut gem is dependent on the length of time of the treatment.
Normally the treatment is only a few thousandths of an inch deep I
believe. If these stones are recut they generally lose their color
since it is only skin deep.

Hope that helps,
Steve Green - Rough and Ready Gems
Gemstone briolettes and precision ultrasonic drilling


I’ve used some mystic topaz in a couple of pieces – I do like the
fire and color effect you can get for the price.

It’s my understanding that mystic topaz is produced by a PVD
(Permanent Vapor Deposition) process in which a micro layer of 24K
gold is bonded to the topaz.

The vapor layer is permanent but it is fragile and can be abraded
off, so I won’t use these stones in any setting where they are likely
to come into contact with anything (i.e., they are usually set in
pendants and/or the piece shaped in such a way that the stone is
recessed into the design – or where there is a “guard” that is
likely to get bumped first in case of an accident).

I’ve seen some very pretty ones and some truly awful ones – but the
pretty ones make me wish they could find a way to make that treatment
a lot sturdier!

Best of luck,
Karen Goeller