Gemstone Enhancements

The term "enhancement" is defined to be any treatment process other than cutting and polishing that improves the appearance (color/clarity/phenomena), durability, or availability of a gemstone.

Many people confuse gemstone enhancements with the terms "synthetic", "man-made", "lab-grown" or other processes which involve the creation of materials not found in the earth. Natural gemstones are those created by natural processes. Man-made, laboratory grown or synthetic materials are those created by non-natural processes. Enhancements are additional treatments performed on natural, or synthetic materials to generally improve their appearance. A natural gemstone that is enhanced is still considered a natural gemstone.

Some gemstone enhancements are less stable than others, meaning that some treatments are temporary. It is the policy of Gem Hut to sell only those gemstones whose enhancements (if any) that have good to excellent stability.

All gemstone enhancements can be divided into three basic categories.

  • Not Enhanced, (symbol N)

    The "N" symbol appears by gemstones that are not currently known to be enhanced (Alexandrite, Garnet, etc.), however the "N" symbol can also be used for other stones in the event that a stone has received no enhancement. We will provide a guarantee that there has been none and that fact will be noted on the invoice which accompanies the gemstone.

    Many people confuse the symbol "N" with the term "Natural". The symbol "N" is not intended to indicate that a gemstone is natural. Natural gemstones that have received enhancements are still natural.

  • Normally Enhanced, (symbol E)

    The "E" symbol appears by gemstones that are routinely enhanced. Since many enhancements are difficult or impractical to prove definitively, the approach taken is, unless otherwise indicated, to assume that such enhancement has been applied to that particular gemstone. This assumption is made to protect both the buyer and seller. If a more specific method of enhancement is known, then the specific enhancement code will be used.

  • Non-Traditional Enhancements

    For those gemstones not covered by the "N" and "E" symbols, the specific code which covers the gemstone enhancement will be listed.

Symbols For Specific Form of Enhancement

  • A: Not Normally Enhanced

    Typically not enhanced, enhancements (if any) are unknown.

  • B: Bleaching

    The use of chemicals or other agents to lighten or remove a gemstone's color.

  • C: Coating

    The use of such surface enhancements as lacquering, enameling, inking, foiling, or sputtering of films to improve appearance, provide color or add other special effects.

  • D: Dyeing

    The introduction of coloring matter into a gemstone to give it new color, intensify present color or improve color uniformity.

  • F: Filling

    As a by-product of heat enhancement, the presence of solidified borax or simliar 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; may be followed by a heating process.

  • H: Heating

    The use of heat to effect desired alteration of color, clarity, and/or phenomena. (Residue of foreign substances is notvisible under properly illuminated 10X magnification.)

  • I: Infilling

    The intentional filling of surface breaking cavities or fractures usually with glass, plastic, opticon with hardeners and/or other hardened foreign substances to improve durability, appearance and/or add weight.

  • L: Lasering

    The use of a laser and chemicals to reach and alter inclusions in diamonds.

  • O: Oiling/Resin Infusion

    The intentional filling of surface cavities of a colorless oil, wax, natural resin, or unhardened man - made material into fissured transparent/translucent gemstones to improve appearance. (i.e., oil, man-made resin, cedar wood oil, Canada balsam, paraffin, etc.)

  • R: Irradiation

    The use of neutron, requiring an environmental safety release from the Nuclear Regulatory Commision(NRC), with the combination of any other bombardment and/or heat treatment to alter a gemstone's color.

  • S: Bonding

    The use of a colorless bonding agent(commonly plastic) within a porous gemstone to give it durability and improve appearance.

  • U: Diffusion

    The use of chemicals in conjunction with high temperatures to produce color and/or asterism-producing inclusions.

  • W: Waxing/Oiling

    The impregnation of a colorless wax, paraffin and oil in porous opaque gemstones to improve appearance.