Enhancements

Colored Gemstone Enhancement Processes
There are many methods of enhancing colored gemstones. We describe the most common enhancements below. For more information on colored gemstone enhancements, see the American Gem Trade Association's Gemstone Information Manual.

Heat Treatment
The application of heat to enhance the color and/or clarity of gemstones has been a common practice around the globe for centuries. It is part of the standard polishing and finishing process for many colored gemstones. As such, it is accepted by the jewelry industry and the American Gem Trade Association. The enhanced color and/or clarity of heat-treated gemstones is permanent.

Infusion
The filling of a gem material with an oil, wax, glass, resin or other material, colored or colorless, to improve appearance. This process began centuries ago by gemstone merchants who found that immersing emeralds in oil or waxes made them look clearer to the unaided eye. This practice continues today with many colored gemstones.

Coating
The use of wax, resin or oil applied to the exterior of a porous colored gemstone to protect the natural substance, and to improve sturdiness and appearance.

Bleaching
The application of chemicals or other elements to lighten or enhance color consistency.

Dyeing
The act of adding coloring agents so that they permeate a colored gemstone to enhance or alter color.

Irradiation
The alteration of a gemstone's color through the use of radiation. This is often followed by a heating process. The enhanced color of irradiated gemstones is permanent.

New and Future Technologies
Techniques for enhancing colored gemstones, either detectable or otherwise, are continually being developed. These may be difficult, or in rare cases, impossible to detect, even for the most sophisticated laboratory. Blue Nile will continue to work with industry groups and gemological experts who are committed to the identification and disclosure of new and future techniques in order to maintain our stringent quality standards.

Basic Gemstone Care
While gemstones are durable, they require varying levels of care. For example, some gemstones are especially vulnerable to household chemicals and temperature changes. Cleaning gemstones presents special challenges. While many gemstones should be cared for by following our basic care guidelines below, please refer to our Gemstone and Pearl Care and Enhancement Overview to understand the care requirements for your specific stone. If you still have questions, please contact Blue Nile customer service.

Cleaning
After removing your gemstone jewelry, clean it by following the directions on a non-abrasive jewelry cleaner. Make sure that the jewelry cleaner specifies that it is safe to use with your gemstone. Use a soft cloth to remove any remaining dirt or other residue.

Storing
Store your gemstone jewelry in a lined case or a soft cloth, so the gems do not touch each other or parts of other jewelry. Gemstones are harder than gold, silver, or platinum and can scratch the surfaces of your other fine jewelry if they are not kept separate.

Wear
While it's true that gemstones such as ruby and sapphire are second only to diamond on the hardness scale, it is not a measurement of their indestructibility. It means that these gemstones are able to resist scratching almost as well as a diamond. Abrasive surfaces, harsh chemicals, and sharp blows can damage even the hardest gem. Your gemstone jewelry should be the last thing you put on when getting dressed and the first thing you take off at the end of the night. Store your gemstones carefully and they will be enjoyed for generations.

Gemstone Enhancements
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