Frequently Asked Questions Cont'd.
Pricing - Unlike with diamonds, there is no set price list for color gemstones. But industry professionals have a feel for appropriate price ranges. Natural colored gemstones are, in many cases, rarer than diamonds. As such, it's not always possible to find a specific size, shape, color and/or clarity. This scarcity factor cuts both ways in pricing. On the one hand, when rough material is difficult to find, it drives up the price. On the other hand, with the limited availability, many big jewelery lines can't mass produce and market the different types of gemstones. There also isn't one company controlling all of the mines, so there is no incentive to spend heavily on marketing and educating the public. Therefore, most consumers don't know about the various types of colored gemstones, limiting demand.
Are colored gemstones natural or are treatments used?
Many color gemstones are 100% natural - simply mined, cut and polished - and can be much more valuable as such. But in other cases, color gemstones are treated to enhance the color, change the color, or hide inclusions. In instances where the enhancement is considered an accelerant of nature and permanent, like heating, the gemstone is still considered natural. But not all treatments are considered natural.
But not all treatments and enhancements are permanent and some require special care. (And, some gemstones, like Blue Topaz, are created colors.) Obviously, pricing is also affected by the use of enhancements and treatments. Thus, it is vital for full disclosure of information by all members in the gemstone trade.
Akiva Gil, a founding member of the AGTA, adheres to the AGTA's code of ethics which stipulates it is incumbent on all parties in the gemstone trade to disclose, factually all information pertaining to a gemstone including the use of treatments and country of origin. Major laboratories like the GIA and AGL can detect various treatments as well as determine a country of origin. Click here for
What are common gemstone treatments?
Heat - can change a gemstone's color but because it is an accelerant that can be found (and happens) in nature and is permanent is considered natural
Oils & Wax - improve the clarity of included gemstones - not permanent