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Gems Fracture Filling
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Gems Fracture Filling
Gems Fracture Filling

As with diamonds, fractures are also a common phenomenon in colored gems and they are routinely filled with various substances. Fracture-filling is extremely wide-spread and if you shop around enough, you will encounter filled gems many times over.

Some types of gems are less vulnerable to this particular fault and some are almost always found with them, so be aware of this while buying any stone. Emeralds are usually found with this fault, aquamarine, peridot and jade are susceptible, ruby, sapphire and alexandrite are also found with fissures. Oil, paraffin, some types of glass and some clear resins are carefully packed into the crevice, allowing light to filter through and make the gem sparkle. Some are rubbed with a color-tinted wax to disguise cracks or blemishes and to buff them to a lovely polish, while others are oiled [especially emeralds]. Oil or wax treatments shouldn't affect price at all and they are completely legal. Fracture-filling is also legal, but selling a filled gem without divulging that information is not. It should significantly reduce price, and because a skillfully applied fracture filling is difficult to observe without a loupe or some other magnification, most purchasers don't even realize that they have bought a less valued stone. This is something you should always ask before purchase.

 

There are, however, much more serious treatments being used today and you should be wary of them, as well. Gems are normally exposed to the same variety of influences that formed them, such as radiation and heat . Heating is the most common treatment and some types of gem are routinely heated. Since the 1960's all sapphires and rubies have been heated to remove inclusions and deepen color. Today many more are heat-treated: citrine, aquamarine [made a deeper blue], kunzite [for color-improvement], morganite [to change it from orange to pale red or pink], some types of topaz [to produce pink and blue varieties], tourmaline [for darkening too-light gems], pink beryl, zircon, carnelian, amber [heat-treated to make the distribution uneven so that it has darker zones of color] and amethyst [either lightened or made more yellow].

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