Gemstones surface enhancement is applied to enhance the gemstone’s beauty and improve its appearance and wearability. Many techniques are used by expert jewelry manufacturers for enhancing gemstones. Some of them have been used for hundreds of years.
These techniques increase the worth of the gemstone. So, the color and clarity are increased by using these methods. Some techniques are simple and easy to do, but some of them are typical that require good care while working on the stone. The typical enhancement includes mirroring, foiling, waxing, and tinting, some enhancement techniques are discussed below.
Foiling is the oldest technique for gemstone surface enhancement. In foiling, a shiny backing is added to the gemstone with a metallic or non-metallic sheet. This sheet or foil is used to improve its optical performance. The light is reflected by the stone’s foil towards the observer, making the stone look more brilliant and shiny.
The foil is also used as a coloring agent to enhance the color of a gemstone. Sometimes, it is also used to impersonate another gemstone, and it was very common in jewelry manufactures during the 17th century. Nowadays, this technique of surface enhancement is hardly used because there is an availability of affordable good quality gemstones due to which people are less interested in foiled gemstones.
The aim of the tinting technique is like the foiling, to improve the color of the gemstone, but it does not affect the brilliance of the gemstone. In the tinting process, the surface enhancement is done by applying a pigment to the pavilion of the gemstone.
The biggest disadvantage of this technique is that it is only applicable to diamonds, and the reason behind it is not known very well yet. Tinting does not work very well with colorless gemstones such as topaz and sapphire because they are usually heat-treated and the tinting process leads to fraudulent activity. So, this technique is not preferred by international jewelry manufacturers for such gemstone enhancement.
Waxing a diamond is similar to rub a salivated thumb over a frosted surface that makes the surface more transparent. It is usually used for colorless gemstones and best used for diamonds to increase the transparency that makes it shinier.
It was first discovered when Benvenuto Cellini stumped three high regard jewelers by waxing a diamond. This enhancement technique is used to give high polish to the gemstone.
Mirroring is the technique of surface enhancement in which a small piece of colorless mineral is placed in the bezel of the gemstone. It is used to increase the brilliance of gemstones.
The mineral placed acts like a mirror that makes the gemstone reflect more light and give more brilliance to the stone.
In this technique, the gemstone is covered artificially with a transparent layer to enhance its color and appearance. The coating is a technique that is started using recently, and it is difficult to say how durable it is.
This technique is used to create effects of Mystic Topaz, Mystic Quartz, and Pink Topaz. The most common gemstone coatings are wax, the gemstone is covered with a layer of wax that can improve luster. It is also used to protect porous gems from oils. This type of surface enhancement is commonly used for cabbed gems such as turquoise, jade, and pearls.
This technique of surface enhancement is used to fill the fractures with certain gemstones such as Emerald, opal, turquoise, etc. These fractures affect the brilliance and clarity of the stones. To overcome these fractures, a substance with similar optical properties is filled in the tiny openings of these stones.
This filling creates a new color or a glossy look to the gemstone. Although there are some disadvantages of using this technique of surface enhancement, these small fractures represent structural weakness. It is necessary to consider these fractures while cutting the gemstone. After oiling these fractures are covered and during cutting it affects the physical strength of the gemstone.
These techniques are used for the enhancement of color and clarity in many gemstones. Some of these techniques cause permanent changes in the gemstone while some are temporary. Enhancement techniques do not affect the worth and status of a natural gemstone. An enhanced stone is not a synthetic or lab-created stone, these enhancements are done after the gems are formed.