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Article: How the treatment of Colombian natural emeralds works


How the treatment of Colombian natural emeralds works

The treatment of Colombian natural emeralds involves several methods to improve their appearance and quality. Currently, most Colombian emeralds are sold in China, where demand focuses on minimal or insignificant treatments.

Due to several factors of formation and extraction, it is natural for an emerald to contain fissures and fractures, which is why inclusions are visible. Although these are natural gardens of the formation, there are those who prefer a maximum clarity that forces them to perform several treatments to improve the quality of the emerald.

Then we will see the most common treatments in an emerald and what each of them consists of.

Enjoyed in Colombian emeralds

Emerald oil is a treatment method used to improve their appearance and clarity. It consists of filling the natural cracks and cracks of the emerald with a clear or colorless oil. This oil helps improve the transparency of the stone by reducing the visibility of internal inclusions and fractures, making the emerald look brighter and more attractive to the naked eye.

Oil used for this purpose is usually a mineral oil or oil of natural origin, such as cedar oil. When applying the oil, the emerald cracks are filled, which makes the light more easily pass through the stone and improve its visual appearance.

Here are the main benefits of oil in the Colombian emerald:

  • Appearance: emeralds often encounter natural inclusions and fractures, which are internal characteristics that can affect their transparency. These inclusions can create a cloudy or opaque appearance on the stone. When applying oil, the oil refractive index matches that of the emerald, which makes the inclusions less visible and enhances the brightness of the stone.
  • Protection: Oil treatment also serves as a protective measure for emeralds. The oil fills the fractures, creating a more stable structure and reducing the risk of additional damage or breakage. In addition, the oil helps to minimize the visibility of fractures that reach the surface, which may be vulnerable to splintering or breaking during normal use.
  • It is periodic: It is important to keep in mind that oil treatment is not permanent. Over time, the oil can dry or evaporate, causing the emerald to lose its improved appearance. To keep the optimal look, emeralds may require a new oil treatment periodically performed by a professional jeweler. This ensures that the emerald retains its desired visual qualities and durability.
  • You should communicate: When buying an emerald, it is essential to ask about any treatment, including oil, that has been applied to the stone. Full disclosure of treatments allows shoppers to make informed decisions and understand the long-term care requirements of their emerald jewelry.

Resine, the best friend of fractured emeralds

Resin treatment is another method used to improve Colombian emeralds. This process involves the application of an epoxy or polymer resin on the surface of the emerald in order to fill the cracks and improve the clarity of the stone.

When applying resin, a layer is created that fills the cracks and improves the clarity of the emerald by making the inclusions less visible. This can result in greater transparency and a more attractive aspect.

Resin forms a layer that helps prevent dirt, oils and other contaminants into the cracks of the stone. This can help prevent damage or the expansion of existing fractures.

It is important to note that resin treatment can affect the transparency and natural brightness of the emerald. Resin may have a different refractive index than stone, which may result in a slightly different appearance or in the loss of certain natural reflections and brightness. Therefore, it is essential that the use of resin be disseminated when purchasing a jewel with a treated emerald.

It is important to note that resin treatment is not exclusive to Colombian emeralds. It is used in various gems around the world, and is a method accepted in the jewelry industry as long as it is notified of its use to the final customer.

Treatment of Polymers in Colombian emeralds

The polymers used in this treatment are usually synthetic waxes or transparent acrylic polymers. These substances are carefully applied in the emerald, filling the fractures and creating a more uniform and smooth surface.

The polymer treatment aims to improve the clarity and visual aspect of the emerald. By filling the cracks, the polymer can reduce the visibility of inclusions, improving the transparency of the stone.

It should be noted that polymer treatment may affect the natural appearance of emerald. Although it is sought to improve clarity, some polymers may slightly change the color of the emerald, which can be good and at the same time bad, as it can result in a different appearance or in the loss of certain natural reflections of the stone.

Should treatments be reported in Colombian emeralds?

It is important to note that most of the treatments applied to Colombian emeralds are accepted and recognized in the jewelry industry, as long as they are disseminated correctly. The International Jewelry Association (ICBJO) sets out clear guidelines on the dissemination of treatments and improvements in precious stones, ensuring adequate transparency in emerald trade and protecting consumers.

When buying an emerald, it is crucial to obtain accurate information about any treatment or improvement done in the stone. This will help determine its value and provide a solid basis for making an informed decision. Reliable jewelers and sellers must provide certificates of authenticity and disclose any treatment applied to emerald.

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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