Saturday, June 10, 2017

How Do They Treat Ruby Gemstones

Most of the Ruby found on the market these days have had some form of treatment applied to them. How do they treat Ruby gemstones and what does it do to the stone? Some of the treatments have names like “Heat Treatment”, “Glass Filling”, “Clarity Enhancement” or “Beryllium treatment”. On GemRockAuctions it is essential that all Rubies have their treatments listed correctly as it can have a drastic affect on the price of the gem.

What does “Treat Ruby Gemstones” Mean?
During the process of getting Ruby from the ground to the final customer, most stones need to be altered by a treatment in order for it to be commercially acceptable. Treatments can improve the colour and clarity of Rubies which make them more desirable in the final market. In a nutshell, “Treat Ruby Gemstones” means to alter the Ruby in some way in order to make it more beautiful.

How do they treat ruby gemstones 

What Are The Ruby Treatments
A treated Ruby is not a bad thing. Less than 1% off all Rubies that are recovered from the ground actually make it to the market without any treatment. These are the most precious and value Rubies available. If they did not treat Ruby gemstones, 99% of the Ruby would never make it to the market. That means the average person may never see a Ruby in their whole life if it was not for treatments.

Untreated Ruby:
By far the rarest and most valuable Ruby gemstone. These stones ave been mined out of the ground, cut and polished and presented to the market. No other process apart from cutting and polishing has been performed on these Rubies.

Untreated unheated ruby gemstone

Heat Treated Ruby:
This technique has been used for centuries to treat Ruby gemstones. It is used to improve the clarity and colour of Rubies. The Ruby is placed in a crucible and heated to extreme temperatures of around 1800 degrees. The atmosphere around the Ruby can be altered to change the way the Ruby reacts but the basic idea is that the heat will dissolve any rutile inclusions inside the stone which will improve the clarity and improve the red colour. No other additives have been added to the process and the Ruby is as strong and durable as the unheated version.

heat treated ruby gemstone
Flux Healed Rubies:
Sometimes during the heating process, the Ruby will be coated in a flux material. The purpose of this material is to stop multiple Rubies sticking together when heating and acts as a barrier. The down side is that this flux material can melt and penetrate any cracks or fissures in the Ruby. This will improve the clarity of the Ruby by filling in the cracks, but it will decrease the value of the stone since it is a foreign material.

Beryllium Diffused Ruby:
This treatment is more commonly used on Sapphire rather than to treat Ruby gemstones. The Rubies are heated while Beryllium is added to the crucible. The Beryllium diffuses with the crystal lattice of Ruby and can create a more intense colour.

Glass Filled Rubies:
This is the newest and most commonly seen treatment of Rubies in the market place today. Low grade Ruby is used that is full of cracks and fissures. It is bleached and then heat treated with the addition of a liquid glass. This glass penetrates the Ruby and improves the clarity by reducing the amount of visible cracks on the surface. This treatment is not very stable as temperature changes, ultrasonic cleaners and shock can cause the lead glass to fall out of the stone.

Glass Filled Ruby treatmentGlass filled ruby gemstone

These are the known ways to treat Ruby gemstones at the time of writing this article. In the world of gemology there are always new treatments coming to light which require different testing methods to detect. On Gem Rock Auctions our verified sellers are required to disclose all treatments on all gemstones.