Enhancements or "Treatments"

As in other gemstones, 99% of all emeralds are enhanced with a liquid or resin after cutting. Similar practices are carried out on diamonds (ie. laser drilling, etc.), sapphires (ie. glass filling) and most other gemstones. All post-cutting processes are normally done to help the stone show the full beauty of the crystal. There has been much controversy over enhancements or treatments, as of late in the jewellery industry. What is ethical and what is not is really up to the individual to decide. We feel that any process which goes beyond simple "enhancement" of the refractive index of the stone is something that only an end user should decide with their retailer. By this we are generally referring to anything that increases the value of a gemstone with artificial colour-quality treatments. (Even colour treatment, however, is usually negligible due to thin fissures.) We maintain that FULL disclosure of any treatment all the way from mine to end user is the most important factor. The following is a brief summary of the most prevalent emerald Enhancements or Treatments in use today. They are followed by their
Enhancement Codes.

Natural colorless Cedar Wood oil has been added to emeralds since the 1960's.  This is the traditional way to process emeralds and has been done to almost every stone that has come out of all the mines around the world.  Cedar wood oil can come out of the stone if heated too much but lightly enhanced ones rarely change.  Code: E-Colorless-Oiled
Since 1980 Brazilian emerald producers have been filling their emeralds with a plastic called Opticon.  This was not disclosed to the public for many years and was thus considered a highly unethical practice.  In 1996-97 Colombian and other producers also began to use opticon.    Most retailers prefer to reject an emerald with the indicative "flash effect" of opticon while choosing to go the natural cedar wood route.  The JCK magazine produced evidence that a substance found in Brazil was filling the inclusions in the emeralds with green colored opticon which falsely increases the value of the stone.  This is a rare case and most feel that it is very easy to detect. Opticon may turn yellow inside of the stone after many months or years.  Code: E-Colorless- Resined and / or T-Dyed
The Arthur Groom lab of New York supplies a enhancement for your emeralds which is a newly developed improvement on opticon.  According to Mr. Groom his enhancement will not turn yellow.  The benefit as well is that it will not leak out of the stone and he claims that you can steam clean or ultrasonic this emerald without ever losing the enhancement.  Gematrat does not color stones.  Gematrat has a refractive index that is very close to that of true emerald.  In this regard AG used to provide a UV tracer for detection but has recently felt this was not necessary.  AG's newest improved enhancement is called ExCel.  ExCel's latest version as of May/03 is nicknamed "1.52" in an effort to show how its refractive index is similar to that of cedar oil and now lower than his previous Gematrat.  Code: E-Colorless-Resined
PALM RESIN 828 & 6010
Colombia began to produce a resin designated as "Palma" after many of the Cedar Wood stones lost their oil during the flight to North America or the Orient.  They decided to make a special plastic like Opticon which would fill the inclusions and stay in the stone.  Unfortunately, Palma turns a milky white substance after just a few months.  The large conglomerate Japanese buyers in Bogota in 1993-1994 decided to make a policy not to ever accept Palm oil from any supplier.  The Emerald Congress '98 in Bogota also agreed to rule Palma as an unacceptable filler.  Still, palma resin is very prevalent again this year and buyers must be careful to avoid this treatment.  Code: E-Colorless-Resined
This is the treatment of choice in commercial grade goods from India.  Joban is a green oil that makes the emerald look much nicer than it actually is.  Although it is considered unethical, the producers in India have admitted that Joban is " Like make-up your wife puts on".  Code: T-Joban
The Permasafe Lab in Bogota has recently provided an improved version of permanent enhancement.  Permasafe does not color treat merchandise.  Like AG, the Permasafe group is one of the most advanced in attempting to fully clean out merchandise before enhancing.  Code: E-Colorless-Resined
These are the most prevalent emerald enhancements and treatments.  Remember though, an emerald's fissures are so small that the addition of any of these enhancements is so minute that it is almost unnoticeable unless it is colored.  All the enhancement is doing in simple terms is improving the clarity by allowing light to pass through the stone with more ease and to refract back out of the crown and table.  Although this has been happening for more than 30 years in ALL stones, it just now became public and suppliers are now required to inform clients.  Any supplier who does not fully disclose the enhancement or treatment in a stone being sold  is breaking the law. In order to be certain what is in your stone it is best to have a certified gemologist take a look at the piece.  Along with your retailer, they are a wealth of knowledge and can supply all kinds of information.

We are one of the first companies who began operations abiding by the law and the ethics standards set by the American Gem Society, The Jewelers Vigilance Committee, the International Colored Gemstone Association, the American Gem Trade Association and the federal Trade Commission of the United States Government.


You must require that all of your stone suppliers provide a disclosure on their invoices now for all purchases, including diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds etc.  It must specify what is inside that stone that was not naturally produced by the stone itself.

If you have any questions, or you need more information on specific treatments please email us and we will do our best to answer you.  Clients may contact us for the newest detection methods for each enhancement/treatment that have worked for us.

Canadian Office: PO Box 31029, Victoria, BC V8N 6J3
USA Office: PO Box 911, Blaine, WA 98231