Gemstones & Pearls:Gemology
To protect yourself when buying emeralds, ask your suppliers these
It may be some time before there are definitive answers for many of the
crucial questions regarding emerald treatment, though the Gemological Institute
of America may settle some issues with a study now under way.
Until then, you may continue to depend on suppliers for disclosure information.
Though many jewelers enjoy longstanding relationships with emerald suppliers
who are knowledgeable and disclose properly, it won't hurt to review the
The questions and answers are suggested by emerald dealer Ray Zajicek
of Equatorian Imports, Dallas, TX. Critical issues such as the stability
of the enhancement, its removability and guarantees in case the filler fails
are topics your supplier should be able to discuss knowledgeably and openly.
Read the following responses to see what types of answers are trustworthy
and what response should raise a red flag of concern.
Where is this emerald from?
"Colombia (or Brazil or Zambia)." The source is a matter of choice,
of course. But if your supplier knows the source, he or she probably also
knows how the gem has been enhanced.
Red Flag: "I don't know"should
raise your suspicions the supplier isn't knowledgeable or is trying to hide
What specifics can you tell me about the emerald's enhancements or
"I use Canada balsam (or cedarwood, Groom-Gematrat, Opticon or PermaSafe]."
A reliable supplier knows what's in the emerald.
Red Flag: "All I have to do is disclose
that the emeralds are enhanced. No one knows exactly what's in them."
To be safe, you have to know what's in an emerald you sell, so you should
know what it is when you buy it.
How does the enhancement affect the emerald's value?
"I take great care in understanding the true nature of the emeralds
I buy before I sell them to our customers. I understand that less-included
and less-enhanced emeralds are premium gems for discerning customers who
can afford the best. But I also offer value in emeralds with more enhancement
at a substantially lower price."
Red Flag: "Our emeralds are not
enhanced" or "An enhanced emerald is more valuable because the
enhancement makes it look better."
Why do you use Canada balsam (or another enhancement?)
"I use this product because it is legitimate and because I know exactly
what's in the emerald."The answer should include as much information
as available about the stability and durability of the filler.
Red Flag: "Because it is the enhancement
of choice that best hides the fissures."
This sort of answer tells you nothing you can use.
Will the gem weigh more with the enhancement?
"Not to within 1/10,000 of a carat, which is why we refer to emerald's
identifying characteristics as fissures instead of fractures or flaws. The
amount of enhancement in an emerald's fissure is a weight differential that
cannot be measured by conventional standards. But not all of emerald's fissures
can be enhanced only those fissures that reach to the surface of
Red Flag: "Probably not. But if
it does, you will be getting a little more back for the stone when you sell
by Robert Weldon, G.G.
Brainstorming Emerald Disclosure
Emerald sales are in decline some jewelers
have stopped selling emerald altogether. Professional Jeweler posted the
following question on our monthly "Brainstorming" feature on professionaljeweler.com:
"How are you handling the difficult issue of emerald disclosure?"
Some jewelers, whose names we have omitted for
privacy's sake, submitted rather startling and contrasting statements:
"I have been shying away from purchasing
emeralds because I find such a wide variation in prices ... from dealer
to dealer in like goods."
"My wholesaler and I will not touch them
with a 10-ft. pole; they are nothing but trouble."
"We simply state the facts as we know them:
that emeralds are treated, the treatment is usually not permanent and great
care should be taken as to how and when these items are worn. Pendants and
earrings, of course, are of less concern than rings. We find most customers
are not being told anything about treatments or how to care for any colored
stone jewelry purchased from department stores, chain stores and discount
stores. And this is a concern for us as it puts a shadow on all stores in
general. As an independent jewelry store owner, I sell jewelry because I
love it, not because of the bottom line or stockholder profits."
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.