Gemstones & Pearls:Gemology
New Emerald Treatment at the Source
A Colombian company tackles the problem of filler durability with
Not everyone accepts the gloom enveloping the emerald business. In Bogotá,
Colombia, the world's most important emerald source, C.I. Gemtech Ltd. has
taken a proactive approach. "PermaSafe," a new durable emerald
enhancement, is the product of a partnership Gemtech forged with a gemological
laboratory, the Center for Gemological Studies of Emerald, Bogotá.
The lab's director, Rodrigo Giraldo, a graduate gemologist, says PermaSafe
offers durability and safety. "And that goes to the heart of the problem
with emeralds," says Gemtech President Jaime Rotlewicz Cohen.
Many gem dealers agree with Rotlewicz. They say improving the durability
of emerald enhancements and explaining to buyers what exactly is in an emerald
will go a long way toward reestablishing market confidence.
What Is It?
PermaSafe is an epoxy resin, similar in some ways to the secret material
used in the Arthur Groom-Gematrat enhancement (Professional Jeweler,April
1998, p. 50), Giraldo says. Both treatments are durable and can withstand
ultrasonic cleaners and the heat of a cutting wheel, he says. PermaSafe
reportedly can be removed from the emerald and fluoresces a pale blue in
longwave ultraviolet light for easy identification.
PermaSafe is touted to be transparent and closer to emerald's refractive
index, thereby concealing fissures more effectively. "It is also less
viscous and can permeate emeralds with a minimum of heat and pressure,"
says Giraldo. Arthur Groom of Arthur Groom-Gematrat, New York City, says
there probably are more differences than similarities with his product.
Nevertheless, Groom welcomes the development of PermaSafe. "It is a
positive development because in Colombia, they are beginning to understand
the importance of durability in emerald enhancements," he says. Another
U.S. emerald dealer agrees. "It seems to be pretty stable," says
Ray Zajicek of Equatorian Imports, Dallas, TX. "I've run several durability
experiments on emeralds treated with PermaSafe and am positive about the
results." Gemtech and its lab say they've sent samples of the new treatment
to all of the world's major laboratories. In the U.S., the Gemological Institute
of America Gem Trade Laboratory in Carlsbad, CA, and the American Gem Trade
Association Laboratory, New York City, confirmed having received samples
for study. (GIA expects to release the first part of a report about a wide
variety of emerald fillers in an upcoming issue of Gems & Gemology,
its quarterly journal).
by Robert Weldon, G.G.
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.