Gemstone Enhancements

Gemstone enhancement refers to any treatment or process other than cutting and polishing that improves the appearance (color/clarity/phenomena), durability, value or availability of a gemstone. While some stones like peridot and various garnets or chrome tourmalines are usually not enhanced, many others are sometimes regularly enhanced. Those enhancements are common and accepted in the gem industry. Such gemstone enhancements may range from simple heating (such as with many sapphires) to high-tech irradiation (such as blue topaz). Even the prettiest gems can come out of the ground looking like average rocks, but with a lapidary's skillful cutting and, sometimes, the application of enhancements like simple heat or more advanced procedures, their beauty is revealed.
Nafco Gems takes enhancement disclosure seriously and guarantees, to the best of our abilities, to provide our clients with complete information on any and all enhancements for all of our loose gemstones and gemstones in our jewelry pieces. We pride ourselves in providing you all the information you need to make accurately informed buying decisions.
The guidelines we follow are those of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) which are the most stringent in the gem industry.
A gemstone enhancement is considered permanent as long as the effect of the enhancement does not change under normal wear, cutting, repair, cleaning or display conditions. If a gemstone enhancement is not permanent, we will inform and provide you with information on the enhancement used and proper care for that gemstone. It is the general policy of Nafco Gems to sell only those gemstones whose enhancements (if any) have very good to excellent stability. Regardless of the type of enhancement (if any) we will ensure you are aware of the special care needed for that gemstone.
At Nafco Gems we specialize in gemstones that primarily fall into the following categories:
N = Not Enhanced
The "N" symbol is used to indicate one of two situations. First, there are certain gemstones that are not currently known to be enhanced (spinel, some garnets, etc.). Second, the symbol may also be used for a gem where it can be proved via gemological or other means that a gem has not been subjected to any enhancement. When you see the symbol in the description of any of our gemstones, we guarantee that the gem in question is NOT enhanced.
SC = Special Care
The "SC" symbol is used to indicate those gemstones that require special care
H = Heating The use of heat to alter color, clarity, and/or phenomena. Example: Ruby, sapphire, blue zircon, aquamarine, tanzanite.
O = Oiling/Resin Infusion
The filling of surface-breaking fissures with a colorless oil, wax, resin or other colorless substances, except glass or plastic, to improve the gemstone's appearance. Example: emerald
R = Irradiation
The use of neutrons, gamma, ultraviolet and/or electron bombardment to alter a gemstone's color. The irradiation may be followed by a heating process. Example: blue topaz
U = Diffusion
Outside-in diffusion of coloring chemicals via high temperature heat treatment to produce color and/or asterism. Example: lattice diffusion treated blue sapphire. blue topaz
Occasionally our inventory will have some fine gems that have more specific enhancements using other symbols that indicate a specific treatment. The method of these will be specified in writing.