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Heat Treated and Diffused Stones - What's the difference?

Heat Treated and Diffused Stones - What's the difference?

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Heat Treated and Diffused Stones - What's the difference?

The modern jewelry market is competitive and very abundant. There are a lot of different gemstones: and a lot of different treatments they can undergo before they finally reach their destination. People buy treated stones for a number of reasons; enhancing the stones natural color/clarity, financially less expensive, or even environmental reasons can come into factor when buying the perfect stone for them. There are many different treatments a stone can go through, and each one is more complicated than the next. 

The start of heat treatments began when men would hang out around a fire, placing their stones in the charcoal hoping to see some change happen in the stone. Because of this simple start, heat treating is considered by many to be more natural. This process is used to enhance the color of the stone; and also to improve the clarity and the amount of imperfections you can see in the stone. Many do not consider this much of an unnatural process because it is basically a continuation of what would have happened in nature; had it stayed in the ground. Even though this process is permanent once done, many opt to submit their low grade stones to the treatment.

Over time a new process emerged, called diffusion. In this process the stones go through a bit more than a traditional heat treatment. A diffused stone uses a chemical element to score the surface of the stone, then combining it with the heat of a furnace it is baked into the stone. This changes the color of the stone, often making it a richer color/more sought after stone. There is both good and bad to this process. Unfortunately after the diffusion has been completed only about a millimeter into the stone has been changed. Meaning that if the stone were to have more than a millimeter deep chip, or was to break apart in anyway: the inside would still be the same as before the change. As in the color is usually more pale/less vibrant, and as such less valuable. Although the physical properties do not change in anyway. As the stone will retain its original strength/firmness. One very good thing about this process is its use on start sapphires and rubies. During this process because the top layer is more exposed, it makes the star in the sapphire pop out of the stone. Polishing or re-cutting of the stone after this process would not be recommended, as it will show the imperfections you had in the stone before the process began.

There are many types of different gemstones and processes in which we try to make an ordinary gemstone into something extra-ordinary. Although these processes are very common and have been around for longer than me or you, some experts think sticking to an all natural stone is the best way to go. For those of us who are more financially conscious or trying to get more bang out of our buck, it is an excellent way to broaden our jewelry boxes.