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Zachariah turquoise treatments


#1

Dear Orchidinites,

In the last few years I have been cutting some high quality natural
Sleeping Beauty Arizona Turquoise smooth drops. A couple of months
back a client called me to say that one of the drops she bought from
me and sold had changed color and the lady who owned them wanted a
replacement. I knew that turquoise will often absorb oils and other
liquids and in the process change colors. I informed my client of
this. Another pair of stones was substituted and the problem solved.

However, the events made me more curious about other dealers’ high
quality turquoise I saw in Tucson this year. I stopped by a company
in the GJX who was selling very high quality Sleeping Beauty bead
necklaces and inquired about treatments. They informed me that their
turquoise had the Zachariah (spelling?) treatment which as per the
salesperson is a re-crystallization of the surface of the turquoise
making it less absorptive. (No polymers, resins, dyes are used.)
They told me this treatment is proprietary (secret) treatment that
Dr. Zachariah of Arizona developed. The company then showed me an
older “Gems and Gemology” magazine where they analyzed the
"Zachariah" treated turquoise. I briefly skimmed the article and
photos showing a thin altered skin on the cut treated stones.

The article was very interesting and new to me. I wanted to read
more but business was calling me back to my booth. I did not get a
chance to read it all, but the process looked quite intriguing. So
in case you are not aware of this treatment I wanted to share it
with you.

If anybody out there knows more please add to the thread.

Steve Green
Rough and Ready Gems
Gem Briolettes and Ultrasonic Drilling
www.briolettes.com


#2

The Zachery or Foutz process is vapor deposition of quartz on
turquoise, which makes the turquoise harder and darkens the color
somewhat.

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry
http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com


#3

Steve, I believe the process referred to here is the Zachery
treatment. It appeared in the late 1980s, and has been used to treat
millions of carats of turquoise since then. The details of the
treatment are pretty much a mystery, but gems that emerge from it
have better color, less porosity and take a better polish. So far,
it has proven to be a stable enhancement that may reduce the stone’s
ability to absorb body oils. I would imagine that, since the process
takes three to six weeks to accomplish, it ain’t cheap, either.
Also, while the claim is that there is no polymer impregnation,
there is no available about resins, dyes or other
components. The salesman overstepped what little is known about the
process. Nobody really knows.

The only clue I know of so far comes from GIA. Using sophisticated
testing equipment, they have discovered that most Zachery-treated
turquoise contains a lot more potassium than untreated material, but
that doesn’t help those of us who don’t have a SIMS unit.

There are some subtle characteristics of this treatment. Sometimes,
a Zachery-treated turquoise has dark blue color concentrations in
and around it’s fractures. Occasionally, the "robin’s egg blue"
color can look somewhat unnatural.

It’s difficult for a trained gemologist to detect this treatment,
and even a world-class gem lab can miss it. This type of treatment
situation always begs the question: If it is stable and
undetectable, is it worth doing? My answer is usually: If it is used
to make inferior material into gem material, and (this is the
important part), if it is disclosed to the buyer, yes. Enhancing and
improving gem materials is a part of the industry that can help
preserve gems that would otherwise be crumbly specimens, not that
there is anything wrong with specimens. There is only so much fine
gem material to go around.

James in SoFl


#4

GEE! Anybody ever heard of water glass? It is a liquid that was used
to harden the shells of eggs, It reacts to low temperature and
changes to a silicate under lower than boiling point temperatures.
Perhaps that with some potassium salts included to help bond and
carry it deeper into the matrix and structure of the stone it is
able to penetrate. maybe?

Ringman


#5

Dear Steve & James,

I do not have any additional to add on Zachery-Treated
Turquoise (see Gems & Gemology, Spring 1999, Volume 35, No.1), but
would be very interested if either of you, or anyone else reading
this, has a reliable source for any of the modern or unusual treated
materials that are available these days for a reference collection?

Since they are for a reference collection there should be NO DOUBT
as to the identity of the treatment method or material! Examples of
things I would be interested in obtaining samples of are
Zachery-Treated Turquoise, Be-Treated Corundum, KM Treated (aka:
Kiduah Meyuhad or 'internally-lasered) diamonds, any type of polymer
impregnated material (opal, jadeite, not turquoise so much though)
etc…

Thanks for any trustworthy links you may be able to provide!

Regards - Nick


#6
    would be very interested if either of you, or anyone else
reading this, has a reliable source for any of the modern or
unusual treated materials that are available these days for a
reference collection? 

Hi Nick. I hate to sound cynical, but I believe the real trick would
be to find sources whose gemstones are NOT treated by the methods
you mentioned. Many of them are in fact, usual, not unusual. Well,
except the Zachery treatment. And most lasered diamonds of
significance are disclosed on lab reports.

I fully understand your quest for a reference collection, as I am
striving for the same, but I’ve always gone about it by dragging my
portable gem ID equipment to gem shows to test in person. I regret I
don’t have any links to share, but I will let you know if I come
across any. If you find sources, please let me know as well. Thank
you.

James in SoFl where there are only two seasons: Summer and
Christmas.


#7

Continue from:
https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/zachariah-turquoise-treatments

   I hate to sound cynical, but I believe the real trick would be
to find sources whose gemstones are NOT treated by the methods you
mentioned. Many of them are in fact, usual, not unusual. Well,
except the Zachery treatment. And most lasered diamonds of
significance are disclosed on lab reports. 
   I fully understand your quest for a reference collection, as I
am striving for the same, but I've always gone about it by dragging
my portable gem ID equipment to gem shows to test in person. I
regret I don't have any links to share, but I will let you know if
I come across any. If you find sources, please let me know as well.
Thank you. 

James

Thanks for your reply and sorry for the belated reply to your
comments.

I know what you mean by trying to find stones that are NOT treated,
however the treatments I mentioned are not your usual commonly
encountered treatments and in many cases they are not so easy to
PROVE they are treated. Even some of the more commonly encountered
treatments are not so easy to prove, let alone the unusual! Take
irradiated tourmalines or quartz for instance. You may have a gut
feeling or good idea the colour is unnatural, but to prove the fact
is a different matter entirely, especially if you are using 'basic’
gemmological equipment. Even with advanced equipment (UV-Vis-NIR,
FTIR, Raman, EDXRF, LIBS etc…) it is still not possible to prove
some irradiated stones at present.

Hence my e-mail was seeking sources of stones where the facts were
known and could not be disputed. Take the newer lasered stones I
mentioned. These are not always so easy to detect, unlike the
traditional lasered stones with a surface reaching drill-hole(s). I
have been in contact with the Japanese laboratory that discovered
this treatment and they are still unsure where I can find a source of
100% known material treated in this way. Of course there is someone
out there treating diamonds in this way, but I haven’t located them
yet, suppose I should try a more detailed google search some time,
but being a gemmologist I tend to ask friends and business
colleagues for reliable sources. You cannot trust anyone (many),
unfortunately, who you have never dealt with these days.

In response to my original e-mail I had one kind Orchidian offer to
send me some 100% treated material (not sure which material mind you,
but I think the treated turquoise). Nothing has arrived yet, and it
doesn’t matter if nothing does come, however the offer and thought
were there and I appreciate the offer. Perhaps the kind person did
not realise I was outside the USA and changed their mind.

Keep up the good work James. Looks like you know your subject. I
just don’t know where you get the time to reply to all the e-mails,
but I am glad you do as it saves me some work :wink: I will try to chip
in every now and then though :wink:


#8
    Keep up the good work James. Looks like you know your subject.
I just don't know where you get the time to reply to all the
e-mails, but I am glad you do as it saves me some work ;-) I will
try to chip in every now and then though ;-) 

It’s been fun, but I’ll be down to chipping in from time to time
myself, now (hold the applause down, please :wink:

A friend who is a Master Gemologist and owns a nice little store
near me has become swamped, and needs full time help. I signed on
with him yesterday. I’ll basically be doing all the things I’ve been
doing for myself, gem IDs, appraisals, bench work, fabrication,
lapidary, design, casting, et al, only I’ll be doing it on a more
hectic schedule with a wider customer base. Less money for the work,
but much more work to do and not on my own schedule. Should be fun.

James in SoFl


#9
   A friend who is a Master Gemologist and owns a nice little
store near me has become swamped, and needs full time help. I
signed on with him yesterday. I'll basically be doing all the
things I've been doing for myself, gem IDs, appraisals, bench work,
fabrication, lapidary, design, casting, et al, 

James,

Belated best wishes to you for your new position.

I hope it goes well for you.

One question re: the above though if I may? What is the definition
of a ‘Master Gemologist’? Just curious as I haven’t come across that
particular term. Master Goldsmith I know about. But gemologist?

Regards - Nick


#10
    One question re: the above though if I may? What is the
definition of a 'Master Gemologist'? Just curious as I haven't come
across that particular term. Master Goldsmith I know about. But
gemologist? 

Hi Nick.

After graduating from an institution such as GIA, some gemologists
spend another couple of years in academia and stand a comprehensive
examination process with Accredited Gemologists Association. After
satisfying the requirements, the academic designator M.G.A. (Master
Gemologist Appraiser) is conferred. A couple of notables with this
designator are Richard Drucker of Gemworld International and Anna M.
Miller, author of Gems & Jewelry Appraising: Techniques of
Professional Practice. The list is long and distinguished.

Best,
James in SoFl