Gem Treatment Guide

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Guidelines for buying common gemstones

By Arthur Anton Skuratowicz and Julie Nash

Editor’s Note: Enhancing a gemstone is nothing new; recipes for treating emeralds with oil date back centuries. However, buyers of gems or gem-set jewelry do need to be aware of the treatments—both safe and suspect—currently being used, as well as the imitations and synthetics on the market. Only in that way can they (and their customers) be sure about what they’re getting. (The Federal Trade Commission’s "Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries" says that it is "unfair or deceptive to fail to disclose that a gemstone has been treated in any manner that is not permanent or that creates special care requirements, and to fail to disclose that the treatment is not permanent.")