While on a cruise last summer my wife and I were browsing through the jewelry shop on the ship, looking for those “fantastic values” we are told are available on cruises. Call it professional curiosity or just plain being nosey, but I found myself listening in on one of the sales associate’s sales presentations. Throughout the presentation she kept referring to the item she was attempting to sell as a blue diamond. Well, yes it was a diamond; and yes it was blue. The missing ingredient to her presentation was the word “color enhanced.” In fact, at no time did she inform her customer that the diamond had been color enhanced. What’s the difference you ask, a cost to you of more than $100,000 per carat. But, that’s not the point to my story. It is one of disclosure.
When purchasing diamonds and gemstones these are a just a few terms you, as an informed buyer, need to know:
- Natural: Gems that are created in nature without outside influences.
- Simulated: Simply stated, simulated gems are imitations. They may be made out of glass, plastic, or any other material other than the actual gemstone.
- Synthetic: Gems that are created identical to natural gems in almost every way. They are formed from the basic crystal structure, have the same refractive index, same chemical composition, and so on. Lab grown gems are examples of synthetic gems.
- Color enhanced: Natural gems that have been treated after their formation to enhance the intensity of the gems color. There are several methods of accomplishing this. Radiation and subjecting the gems to extreme heat and pressure are two examples. This is not an uncommon practice used on colored gemstones.
Do not let me mislead you, there is nothing wrong with purchasing simulated, synthetic, or color enhanced gems. These gems are perfectly acceptable and widely sold by your local jeweler. It’s just important that you are aware of what you are purchasing. Don’t rely on the sales associate to offer this information. Ask the question.