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Understanding Ruby Treatments and Enhancement

Understanding Ruby Treatments and Enhancment
Sterling Silver Rose Stud Earrings set with Ruby
Rubies, one of the most rare and enchanting gems, have captivated millions over the centuries. It is the red species of the corundum mineral. The red color is mainly caused by the presence of chromium found in the gem.

All natural rubies appear with imperfections such as color impurities and thin mineral inclusions called needles. Obvious inclusions lower the value of the gem as they tend to reduce its brilliance. To counteract this, rubies are generally enhanced using a number of methods including heat treatment, lattice diffusion, fracture filling, and lead-glass filling.

Heat treatment is the most common. Exposing the gemstones to a high temperature enhances both its color and clarity. Rubies tend to have purplish coloration which greatly diminishes the intensity of the red color. Heating then eliminates such impurities, allowing the stones to exhibit a more saturated and pure red hue.

Another level of enhancement in rubies is lattice diffusion. This method uses heat to diffuse a foreign element into the stone and artificially accentuate the gem's color. Lattice diffusion typically uses the element beryllium which is able to penetrate fully into the stone and render a more intense color. The use of lattice diffusion is usually hard to detect.

Surface-reaching fissures in rubies are sometimes filled with colorless substance such as glass, oil, wax or resin with the objective of enhancing the gem's apparent color and clarity. Fracture filling minimizes the visibility of these fissures, making the gem appear more transparent. The durability of fractured-filled rubies depends upon the substance used. Glasses tend to be harder, and therefore more stable, than other fillers. Usually fracture-filled rubies can be detected by a skilled gemologist using magnification.

Lead-glass filling is a recent treatment that began in 2004. Rubies that are rich in fissures are heated and filled with high-lead-content glass to reduce the visibility of fractures. Lead-glass filled rubies, also known as composite rubies, are far less costly and much more available than fine natural gems or those successfully treated using traditional procedures. Durability tests shows that composite rubies are less durable; therefore, special care is required. Buyers should not confuse composite rubies with traditionally treated stones that are infused with a minimal amount of glass. Since lead-glass filling is hard to detect with the naked eye, FTC requires sellers to disclose such procedure so that buyers are aware on how to handle the gem.

Ruby Jewelry

Sterling Silver Rose Ring set with Ruby
Understanding Ruby Treatments and Enhancment Sterling-Silver-Rose-Ring-set-with-Ruby-48

Sterling Silver Rose Necklace set with Ruby
Understanding Ruby Treatments and Enhancment Sterling-Silver-Rose-Necklace-set-with-Ruby-92

Sterling Silver Rose Necklace set with Ruby
Understanding Ruby Treatments and Enhancment Sterling-Silver-Rose-Necklace-set-with-Ruby-2-32

AT: 07/15/2014 07:19:03 AM   LINK TO THIS ENTRY

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