Although cutting a gemstone is the most basic form of enhancement method used to fully display the beauty of a gemstone, there are many fascinating methods by which man has demonstrated his ability to draw maximum color, luster, clarity and brilliance from nature's earthbound treasures.

Treated gemstones are globally accepted. It is estimated that more than 95% of the popular gemstones have some form of treatment. Many treatments are common and are accepted in the gem and jewelry industry. These processes can range from simple heating such as with tanzanite to irradiation techniques such as with blue topaz.

Below are the recognized forms of enhancements in the jewelry and gem industry. Ben Bridge does not carry gems that have been enhanced by some of these methods. We are able to provide information to you on treatments that have been done on gems that we sell and disclosure /enhancement information is provided on your purchase receipt whenever a gem has been treated or enhanced or is a gem that is usually treated or enhanced.

Enhancement Codes

  • (ASBL) Assembled Products made of multiple layers or combinations of manufactured and/or natural materials joined together. Example: opal triplets.
  • (B) Bleaching The use of chemical agents to lighten or remove a gemstone’s color.
  • (C) Coating Surface enhancements to improve appearance, provide color or other special effects.
  • (D) Dyeing The introduction of coloring matter into a gemstone to give it new color, intensify present color or improve to color uniformity.
  • (E) Enhanced This indicates that this type of gemstone is routinely enhanced. Since many enhancements are difficult or impractical to prove definitively, the approach taken in our printed materials and invoices is to assume, unless otherwise indicated, that such enhancement has been done to the particular gemstone material being described. If the particular type of enhancement is known, that enhancement symbol will be stated, rather than the “E” symbol.
  • (F) Filling As a by-product of heat enhancement, the presence of solidified borax or similar colorless substances which are visible under properly illuminated 10x magnification.
  • (G) Gamma/Electron Irradiation The use of gamma and/or electron bombardment to alter a gemstone’s color, which may be followed by a heating process.
  • (H) Heating The use of heat to effect desired alteration of color, clarity and/or phenomena.
  • (I) Infilling The intentional filling of surface-breaking cavities or fractures usually with glass, plastic, opticon with hardeners and/or hardened foreign substances to improve durability, appearance and/or add weight.
  • (IMIT) Imitation Man-made products, fabricated in such materials as glass, ceramic or plastic designed to imitate or resemble the appearance, but not duplicate the characteristic properties, of a natural gemstone.
  • (L) Laser. The use of lasers and chemicals to reach and alter inclusions in diamonds.
  • (N) Natural Stones which are not currently known to be enhanced.
  • (O) Oiling/Resin Infusion The intentional filling of surface-breaking cavities of a colorless oil, wax, natural resin or unhardened man-made material into fissured transparent/translucent gemstones to improve appearance.
  • (R) Irradiation The use of neutrons, requiring an environmental safety release from the NRC, with the combination of any other bombardment and/or heat treatment to alter a gem’s color.
  • (S) Bonding (Stabilization) The use of a colorless bonding agent (commonly plastic) with a porous gemstone to give it durability and improve appearance.
  • (Syn) Synthetic These are man-made materials which have essentially the same optical, physical and chemical properties as a naturally occurring counterpart.
  • (U) Diffusion The use of chemicals in conjunction with high temperatures to produce color and/or asterism (star-like) inclusions.
  • (W) Waxing / Oiling The impregnation of a colorless wax, paraffin and/or oil in porous opaque gemstones to improve their appearance.

Ben Bridge enhancement disclosure policy

Ben Bridge will only provide gemstones in which any treatments or enhancements have been disclosed. We have strict guidelines our vendors and suppliers are aware of concerning our desire to only provide consumers with gemstones that have enhancements and treatments that are widely accepted as standard practice in the jewelry industry.

We do not stock lab created gemstones or sell diamonds that have been laser drilled or clarity enhanced/fracture filled. We have a Quality Control Department that inspects gemstones we sell to assure you the consumer that our exacting standards have been met and that you are provided with the best gemstone that is available in each price range. With that in mind, you can be confident that your gemstone purchase from Ben Bridge, an American Gem Society jeweler and member of Jewelers of America, is providing you the best value in the industry.

Most colored gemstones are subjected to stable and possibly undetectable enhancement processes. Most gemstones need enhancement through cutting, polishing, and sometimes treatment to look as they do in the piece of fine jewelry.

Below are some examples of common treatments that may be present in your Ben Bridge gemstone purchase- if they are, a treatment message will print on your sales receipt. Other gems not listed may also have treatments, and if so, will be disclosed. Some gemstones will have no treatments and this may also be noted.

  • The Iolite and Peridot are natural in color, and required no enhancement except cutting and polishing
  • This Onyx is dyed to produce its consistent color
  • The Tourmaline and Sapphire are heated to improve their color
  • This Emerald has been treated with colorless oil or resin which penetrates its surface
  • The Tanzanite has been heated to permanently improve its color

Amethyst / Citrine

Amethyst and citrine are gemstone varieties of quartz. Artifacts from ancient cultures the world over attest to amethyst's and citrine's place in our collective cultural heritage. The royal purples of amethyst and the occasional bright, golden hues of citrine were treasured possessions of emperors, kings and queens throughout recorded history. No jewelry collection will be complete without these fine treasures of nature.

Darker hues of amethyst are rarely enhanced, but sometimes if they are too dark, they are heated to lighten the color. Brownish varieties are commonly heated and magically turn into the bright yellow or orange colors known as citrine. This enhancement method is permanent and will last for the life of the gemstones.

Aquamarine

The very name, aquamarine, brings to mind the limpid, clear blue tint of the sea. Many aquamarines are greenish when mined and cut. For those who prefer the purer blue, these gemstones are heated to enhance their blue color permanently. Some aquamarine fanciers prefer the greenish hues, saying the greener tones remind them more of the sea. The color tones of aquamarine are subtle and varied. Its soft luster is a wonderful addition to any natural colored gemstone jewelry collection.

Blue Topaz

Nature rarely produces topaz in the blue variety, although some examples have been found. Challenged by this rare occurrence of Nature, man has discovered an enhancement method to "excite" blue color from a clear to brownish topaz variety. After the raw topaz is mined, it is irradiated to brown and then heated to a rich sky blue. This enhancement process is permanent.

Pearls

Pearls have been treasured for their lustrous, creamy textures and their subtle iridescent reflections since the dawn of humankind. Because natural pearls are so very rare and so very difficult to recover from the ocean's depths, man invented the technique of "culturing" salt and freshwater pearls from mollusk carefully seeded with irritants similar to those, produced by Nature. This painstaking effort of "culturing" is one of the most dramatic examples of man's quest to coax beauty from Nature.

Today, cultured, freshwater and saltwater pearls are often bleached to achieve a uniform color. They may also be polished in tumblers to clean and improve their luster.

Diamond

Unique in the world of gemstones, a diamond is the hardest of all materials. Perhaps it is because of this durability that diamonds are treasured as symbols of devotion and purity. Yet, within the structure of diamonds there are often impurities or "inclusions". Sometimes they can be removed by cutting them away; other times enhancement methods are utilized. One method involves focusing beams of laser light at imperfections and vaporizes them. These diamonds are referred to as "lasered diamonds". Another method involves filling those passageways created by the laser beam with a clear resin or glass like substance making the inclusion less visible. These diamonds are referred to as "clarity enhanced" or "fracture-filled". Ben Bridge does not sell any of these types of diamonds.

Diamonds may also be colored in a variety of hues. Extreme heat and/or irradiation permanently enhance certain innate color properties, allowing them to display their hues in more brilliant array. As with all enhancements, Ben Bridge will disclose any color treatment your diamond has received.

Emerald

Emeralds to many symbolize rebirth and life abundant. The rich green hues bring to mind regeneration of life in spring, and hope of new possibilities. Yet, perfection in emeralds, as in all things, is among the rarest of nature's treasures. When they are mined from the earth, almost all emeralds have unique birthmarks that distinguish them as truly natural gemstones. Early gem merchants in India sought to purify the color of their emeralds by immersing them in clear oils or paraffin. They found that clear oils and waxes rendered surface fissures nearly invisible to the naked eye.

Today we have more sophisticated technologies with which to clarity enhance emeralds. In addition to the oils and waxes of ancient methods, we now use clear resins to penetrate the open fissures surfacing in the stones. "Hardeners" are often added to solidify these liquids. This step prevents the resin from evaporating from the stones, thus making the clarity enhancement more permanent that oiling or waxing the gem. Special care in ultrasonic cleaning and steaming are needed for emeralds in addition to limited heat exposure and discretion in wearing emeralds due to the durability factor.

Ruby

Passion, excitement, luxurious opulence...these are just a few words that describe our fascination with this most precious of gems. For thousands of years, men have sought to own precious rubies as symbols of devotion and objects of desire. Imperfections and impurities may be removed by controlled heating of the gemstone.

Sapphire

Soothing, sensuous blue; liquid blue; evening sky blue; cornflower blue...these are among the many shades of this lovely gemstone. And yet there are many colors and hues of sapphire from which to choose; hot and soft pinks; oranges, greens, purples, gold, yellow and white...all available in a variety of tones and saturation.

Since ancient times, man has treasured sapphire. Some thought the heavens crystallized to form a huge sapphire upon which the earth rested. All sought the pure colors of this gem variety as an expression of beauty and wealth. Yet, the perfect sapphire is as rare as the finest work of art. And thus, we have evolved methods over the centuries to enhance the purest hues of sapphire. This is often achieved by controlled heating of the gemstone to improve clarity and color. Heating sapphires is a permanent enhancement, as lasting as the gems themselves.

Tanzanite

Tanzanite is renowned for the exquisite combination of purple and blue hues of this loveliest of gems discovered in modern times. Mined in tanzania at the feet of the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, virtually every tanzanite is heated to permanently change its color from orange-brown to the spectacular violet-blue color for which this precious gemstone variety is known.

Tourmaline

Tourmalines are found in an abundant array of colors. They offer a wide variety of choice for the discerning gemstone jewelry enthusiast. A complete collection of all the colors represents a fascinating quest for the knowledgeable seeker of Nature's bounty. Dark blue, blue-green and green tourmalines are occasionally heated to lighten their color. Red tourmalines (also known as Rubellites) and pink varieties are often heated and/or irradiated to improve their colors. Heat and irradiation color enhancement of tourmalines are permanent.

Care & Cleaning

Regular care and cleaning of your fine jewelry will enhance your satisfaction. Fine jewelry is a precious possession that is designed to be worn and enjoyed and Ben Bridge Jeweler is pleased to offer simple guidelines for the care and cleaning of your fine jewelry.

General Tips

  • Store your jewelry in a clean, dry place.
  • Keep your jewelry in a fabric-lined jewelry case, or in a box with compartments and dividers. If you prefer to use ordinary boxes, wrap each piece individually in soft tissue paper.
  • Don't jumble your jewelry pieces in a drawer or jewelry case. Pieces can scratch each other.
  • Be careful when removing your jewelry to wash your hands. Do not leave your jewelry on the rim of a sink where it can easily slip down the drain.

Visit Ben Bridge or your local American Gem Society affiliated jeweler once every 6 months to have your jewelry checked for loose prongs, worn mountings, and general wear and tear. At Ben Bridge, one of our Associates will be happy to clean and inspect your jewelry for you- in most cases while you wait. This is a free service.

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