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BERYLLIUM TREATMENT WORKS MAGIC WITH SAPPHIRES CAN'T BE
DETECTED BY MOST INSTRUMENTS
A new colour diffusion treatment using beryllium has brought about dramatic
changes in the coloured gemstone marketplace as it changes pale or nearly
colourless corundum into very attractive yellow and orange sapphires. The
most spectacular change with this technique is the alteration of pale pink
stones into hitherto extremely rare orange padparadscha spphires. It also
turns bluish -red rubies to very bright pleasing red ones and dark blue sapphires
to bright blue. Unlike previous diffusion treatments which could only get
the colour to penetrate the surface layer of the stone, the new technique
allows the colour to permeate through the entire stone - right to its very
core if given enough time. Wholesale moonstone Jewellery
The new treatment also works on rubies that have not responded to heat treatment.
Traditionally, gemstones have been heart treated -sub-jected to high temperatures
in an oxygen-free or 'reducing' atmosphere to intensify their colour. The
end of the last century saw the development of the colour diffusion process.
This involves heat and another material, which diffuses through the crystal
and gives it colour. The foreignatoms of the added material jump through gaps
in the crystal lattice using the energy supplied by the high heart.
Until now, the coour - giving atoms could only penetrate a little way into
the crystal, therefore only colouring the surface. But to all intents and
purposes it gave the stone a nice colour. In the 1990 the Thai market was
flooded with blue sapphires that had been treated with the surface diffusion
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These stones are easily detected by laboratories by siply immersing them in
a liquid with the same refractive index. The edges of the immersed stone appear
dark whereas the entire mass of the stone remains colourless or light coloured
because the colour-producing metallic atoms such as titanium or chromium are
concentrated on the surface.
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