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Article: Differences between treated and untreated emeralds


Differences between treated and untreated emeralds

Emeralds are fascinating gems that have captivated throughout history for their dazzling green color and timeless elegance. However, it is crucial to understand the differences between the treated and natural emeralds before making a choice. In this article, we will explore the hallmarks between the two types, providing you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

What is a treatment in an emerald

A treatment in an emerald refers to processes or techniques applied to the gem in order to improve its appearance, color or clarity. These treatments can be done in natural emeralds to enhance their characteristics, or in lower quality emeralds to make them more attractive to the market.

It is important to note that treatments must be transparent and disclosed to the buyer to maintain ethics in the gem industry.

Types of treatments in a Colombian emerald

  1. Cedar or Resin Oil: Many emeralds have natural inclusions, such as fractures or cavities. To improve their appearance, they are filled with cedar oil or transparent resin. This treatment improves the clarity and visual appearance of the emerald.
  2. Treatment with Oil and Polymer Resin: Similar to the treatment with cedar oil, but a combination of oil and polymer resin is used. This treatment may be more durable and less likely to evaporate over time.
  3. Palma Oil treatment: Some emeralds are treated with palm oil instead of cedar oil. This treatment has a similar effect to cedar oil and is done to improve clarity.
  4. Glass treatment: In some cases, fractures in the emeralds can be filled with glass to improve their clarity. This treatment is less common and can affect the durability of the gem.

emeralds treated vs untreated

  1. Origin and Formation:

Natural emeralds form on Earth over millions of years, while those treated are subjected to artificial processes to improve their color or clarity. Natural emeralds, with their unique geological history, are often more valuable because of their rarity and authenticity.

  • 2. Color:

Color is one of the most important criteria when evaluating an emerald. Natural emeralds get their green color from the presence of chrome and vanadium in their composition. On the other hand, treated emeralds can go through chemical treatments or heat processes to intensify or modify their tone.

  • 3. Inclusions:

Natural emeralds often contain visible inclusions, known as gardens. These inclusions are considered part of the authenticity and beauty of gem. In contrast, treated emeralds are often subjected to techniques to reduce or remove these inclusions, thus improving their clarity.

  • 4. Price and Value:

Natural emeralds tend to be more expensive because of their rarity and authenticity. The treated emeralds, although more accessible, may lack the intrinsic value associated with natural precious stones. The choice between the two options will depend on your personal preferences and budget.

  • 5. Durability and Care:

Emeralds are relatively soft stones, regardless of their origin. However, treated emeralds may be more susceptible to damage during cleaning or repair processes. It is important to follow the jeweler's recommendations to maintain the durability of your emerald, regardless of whether it is natural or treated.

Paula A. Bonilla 

Social communicator and journalist from Sergio Arboleda University in Colombia. She is also a jeweler and is passionate about constantly learning about precious gems and national high jewelry.

Currently, she is working for one of Bogotá's most important jewelry stores, Emerald by Love. This jewelry store has over 40 years of experience and has 2 physical branches in the capital city of Colombia, located in the city center.

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