Natural and Untreated Gemstones

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It’s very common to misunderstand the terms Natural and Untreated gemstones. Natural means that the gemstone came naturally from the earth. Untreated gemstones are those that are not altered or enhanced in any way. Therefore, a natural gemstone doesn’t necessarily means that its not enhanced or untreated. It’s your duty to have it checked and verified if this natural gemstone has been put through any treatment via inspection by a trained gemologist.

More than 80% of the gemstones currently being traded in the market are either enhanced or treated in one form or another. Based on the authorities of the time, Pliny discusses a range of techniques for enhancing gemstones, including heat treatment, dyeing, oiling, coating and the use of foil backings. We tend to think many of these techniques are recent inventions, but they were apparently known to gem experts more than 2,000 years ago.

Untreated gemstones are those that are not altered or enhanced in any way. They remain in the same form as when they were extracted from the earth. These gemstones remain in their original form and only get polished and cut to be used as jewelry accessories.

Star Sapphire and Catseye

Types of Treatment

In the gemstone industry, there are common and accepted treatment, such as heating and also the ‘not so accepted’ treatments which can be broadly categorized as chemical heating with additives such as glass, lead and beryllium. Treated gemstones will not be able to retain the true value of real and natural ones. Some examples of the various treatments a gemstone is made to undergo are heating, one of the most common forms of treatment and it’s generally an accepted treatment among gem buyers and in the gem industry. Other forms of treatment includes oiling, irradiation, dyeing, bleaching and laser drilling.

Sapphire mining / geologist inspecting

Why treat gemstones

Treated gemstone

Treated gemstones are cheaper. This is one of the biggest advantages of a treated gemstone. Most people want to buy or wear an Sapphire but since an untreated Sapphire costs significantly more, most people cannot afford it. The solution is a treated Sapphire at a fraction of the price.
Treated gemstones are more available than natural gemstones. Untreated gemstones, especially of a larger size, are a very rare find. For example, an untreated diamond that is above 5 carats would cost millions of dollars and extremely hard to find as no one would be willing to sell that on the open market. Treated diamonds are available everywhere in most sizes.

Why Untreated Gemstone

Untreated gemstone

An untreated sapphire refers to a gemstone which had not been altered to enhance the beauty. These gemstones are exceptionally more rare and valuable. Natural and Untreated precious gemstones make up less than 1% of what is available on the market. These gemstones have significantly more value, and are far more stable in retaining that value over commercially heated and treated gemstones. For this reason, gemstones i.e. sapphires are extraordinarily unique from one to the next.

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