Gemstone Treatments and Enhancements

The gemstone market is vast and can at times seem quite complicated. On your gemstone journey, you may encounter the terms “treated” and “untreated” stones.

Overall, gemstones are technically altered by human hands as soon as they leave the ground. This is through the cutting and polishing process, which is the process that takes the mineral from a rough stone to a polished and sparkly gem we see in fine jewellery.

Treatments, however, refer to any process other than cutting and polishing that improves the appearance of the color or clarity, or that are used to alter the appearance, durability or value of a gemstone. Today, a majority of gemstones are treated to improve their appearance, with some of those treatments consisting of heat, irradiation, dyeing, oiling, or other processes.

Some of these enhancement procedures have been used for centuries, while others are recent. People in the gem industry always choose treatments based on the gem type and the desired effect.

Treating gemstones is generally an accepted practice within the industry, however, prices can be affected due to these circumstances. Overall, untreated and natural gems have a higher value than enhanced ones. This is due to supply and demand, for example, only 0.5% – 1% of sapphires are untreated. Therefore, natural untreated sapphires are far more uncommon and valuable than treated and chemically altered stones.

At Anpé Atelier, we use a mix of natural untreated and treated gemstones, and find that both produce an incredibly beautiful end result. The choice of choosing a treated or untreated gem is truly up to you and depends solely on what you value!

In this post we will discuss the most commonly used gemstones that we use at Anpe and what treatments they may or may not go through. If you want to dive deeper into the topic and learn more, then download our Ebook, “Gemstone Treatments,” by clicking the image on the left.


Nowadays it is estimated that nearly 99% of sapphires used in jewellery are treated with some sort of enhancement technique. For sapphires it is common to enhance them mainly through color and clarity. Some of the most common treatments for these gems are through heating, filling and irradiation.

Heating: The oldest and most common treatment for sapphires is through a heat treatment. The majority of the sapphires in the market- place have been heat-treated or thermally enhanced in furnaces. Heating is used to improve a sapphire’s color, remove color zoning, and improve clarity.

At Anpé Atelier we have a stock of both heated and unheated sapphire, but we never work with sapphires that have been exposed to filling or irradiation treatments.

The Kotuva ring holds a heated 3.25ct. cornflower blue sapphire, set in 18kt. white gold.


Emeralds are one of the softer and more delicate gemstones in the trade and actually tend to be the most included of all natural gemstones.

These inclusions are tolerated because the finest emeralds display a vivid bluish-green color that is unique in the gem world. But in many cases the various internal gas bubbles and cracks make the emerald look cloudy or milky.

Emeralds go through a number of enhancements in order to get a better clarity from the stones.

Oiling: Oiling is one of the most prominent treatments used to enhance an emerald’s appearance. Through a heated oiling process, it is possible to fill the inter- nal inclusions by applying oil to the surface through high pressure, thus reaching the fissures. The result is improved clarity since the light performance of the filled cracks is similar to that of natural emerald.


While most tourmaline gems are untreated in the industry, the percentage of treated tourmalines is increasing. Tourmalines are one of the common gemstones that we use at Anpé Atelier, however we only use unheated and untreated tourmaline gems.

Tourmalines are similar to sapphires in that they come in a vast array of unique colors. Some of the common treatments for this gem are irradiation and heating.

Heating is usually used when a tourmaline is too dark in tone and results in a lighter, more attractive color.

Irradiation develops or intensifies either a red or yellow color in tourma- lines. Depending on where the stone was mined, and what color it was to begin with, will determine how it reacts to the radiation treatment.


A relatively small percentage of gem-quality diamonds are treated. However, if they are treated, it is for two reasons: to improve clarity or to alter color.

Clarity: Laser drilling and fracture filling are the two treatments used to alter the clarity of diamonds.

Fracture filling is the most common treatment to enhance the clarity of a diamond. A molten leaded glass-like substance is infused into the diamond’s fractures, which in turn disguises small cracks. This enhancement can make a diamond look more attractive but it may decrease the color grade.

Color: There are a number of treatments that enhance the color of diamonds, which include: Irradiation, annealing, high pressure high temperature (HPHT), and coatings.

The Many Colors of Sapphires

There is a common misconception that sapphires only come in the color blue, however this could not be further from the truth! The wonderful world of sapphires is colorful and vast – these stones can come in virtually every color of the rainbow.

Sapphires allow you to have something that is completely unique and one of a kind, as no one sapphire is the same as the next. The vast array of choice in terms of color means that you can always find something that fits your specific style.

One of the most incredible things about sapphires is that, if untreated, their intense color can be completely natural. Our team works with sapphires everyday and we are all astounded by what nature can create!

In this post we will show you all the different hues that sapphires can come in. If you want to dive deeper into the topic and learn about how color effects value and the science behind the colors, you can download our E-book, “The Colorful World Of Sapphires,” here.

Blue Sapphires

Everyone knows that sapphires come in the color blue. In fact, they are considered one of the more traditional colored sapphires. The most notable producer of fine blue sapphires is Sri Lanka or “Ceylon” as referred to within the trade (Ceylon was the former name of the country). They can also be found in Madagascar, Kashmir and Nigeria, among other places.

Pink Sapphires

Pink is one of the more popular colors when it comes to sapphires, and for good reason! These incredible stones come in an array of hues from light, pastel pink to vibrant hot pink – and everything in between. Pink sapphires are most popularly found in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and East Africa.

Yellow Sapphires

Yellow sapphires can be found in Thailand, Australia, Tanzania and Madagascar. However, Sri Lanka is the primary source for these beautiful stones. The most sought after yellow color for a yellow sapphire is known as canaray, which is a medium, vibrant tone.

Green Sapphires

Green sapphires are mined in several continents, however, Sri Lanka produces the rarest green sapphires — often featuring a vibrant green color. On occasion, green sapphires can be confused with emeralds, however there is quite a big difference between the two. Emerald rank lower on Moh’s Scale of Hardness, meaning they are more susceptible to scratches and chipping. Sapphires on the other hand have a rating of 9, meaning that they are strong enough to withstand everyday wear without being damaged.

Bi-Color Sapphires

Bi-color sapphires are stones that contain two different colors, which occurs through color zoning. Color zoning is when conditions of the trace elements change during the crystal formation. These gemstones can range from dra- matic color zoning with two very different colors present in the stone, to slight color zoning which shows two very similar, but slightly off colors in one stone.

Teal Sapphires

Teal sapphires contain two of nature’s most majestic colors: deep ocean blue and vivacious green. Strictly speaking gemologically, teal sapphires don’t exhibit color change under different sources of light. However, their reflection patterns in natural and artificial lights produce a partial, subtle change.

Color Changing Sapphires

Color change sapphires are stones that exhibit different colors in different lighting conditions, giving you two very exciting colors under the right conditions. When gem experts judge Color-changing sapphires, they rank the color change as weak, moderate, or strong. The strength of the stone’s color change is the most important quality factor affecting its value, followed then by the actual color of the stone.

Purple Sapphires

Purple sapphires are sometimes referred to as violet or lavender, and are slightly less common than other colors. They come in a beautiful range of purple tones, and because of this, they rarely have the need for color enhancing treatments.

Black Sapphires

Black sapphire is a nearly opaque stone whose color is so dark that it appears to absorb all light that enters the gemstone. Because of their deep hue, black sapphires do not reflect light as well as other colored sapphires. However, they are still an incredibly striking and unique choice in stone for any style of jewellery.

Peach Sapphires

Peach sapphires hold a very special place within the category of unique and rare sapphires. They have an array of hues, ranging from pinker tones to orange tones. Clarity is a very important element for peach sapphires, as the light tones of pastel shades easily reveal inclusions. Any presence of cloudiness can dull the color and brilliance of the stone.

Orange Sapphires

Orange sapphires are quite rare, and are some of the most difficult sapphires to find in a natural, untreated state.Of all orange sapphires seen in the marketplaces of websites and jewellery stores, 99.99% will be treated with extreme heat to produce the vibrant orange color. That is why a natural, unheated orange sapphire is considered so rare.

Padparadscha Sapphires

Padparadscha sapphires are one of the rarest of sapphires, and contain a unique mix of orange and pink. With Padparadschas, a medium saturation is often more highly regarded, since these gems are expected to be pastel in color and tone.


You may be wondering why rubies have made the list of colorful sapphires… well this is because rubies technically are a sapphire! Sapphires and rubies are made up of the same element called corundum. The only difference between the two is the color. When a corundum is red, it is classified as a ruby, and when it’s another color it is called a sapphire.

Grey & White Sapphires

White sapphires are completely colorless sapphires, where as grey sapphires are near colorless, with traces of black throughout. White sapphires can be used as an alternative to diamonds. They rank at an 9 on the Moh’s hardness scale, just below diamonds. 9 is still a high score and means that sapphires are durable enough for everyday wear.

Sourcing Sapphires

At Anpe Atelier, we are source our sapphires from our trusted gem traders in Sri Lanka, with whom we work together with everyday. This means that we are able to find sapphires in the exact color, tone and hue that you are looking for. Contact us to start the process!

If you are interested in learning more about the process of buying sapphires, then have a read through The Ultimate Sapphire Buying Guide!

The Ultimate Sapphire Buying Guide

Let’s Talk About Sapphires:

Sapphires tend to have a reputation of being a traditional royal blue gemstone used in classic or historic fine jewellery – however this is really not the case.

Sapphires come in an incredible and vast array of colors, hues and tones and are ranked almost as high on the Moh’s Hardness Scale as diamonds are. They make an excellent gemstone to use in fine jewellery due to their durability and lustrous appearance. They have been sought after for centuries and have been used within royal jewellery collections across the world. Sapphires can be commonly found across the world from regions such as Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Thailand, China, among other places.  

These unique stones come in every tone and color known, and unknown, to man. Once polished and cut, they become a truly one-of-a-kind, alluring stone that is ready to be added to a gorgeous design. 

Here is a quick blog post on what to look for when buying sapphires! Find and download the full booklet here.

Color, Color, Color!

Color is one of the most important aspects when it comes to choosing the sapphire that is right for you. 

What some people don’t realize is, sapphires come in all the colors of the rainbow – not just blue. 

All natural sapphires are truly incredible, as their colors naturally occur through the work of mother nature. A stone’s color is determined by the specific chemical makeup through the presenceof different trace elements, such as titanium or chronium.

The amazing thing about sapphires is that you will able to find any color with any specific shade, hue or tone that you are looking for! 


A sapphire’s clarity grade refers to the relative absence of inclusions, fractures, and blemishes that affect its appearance and structural integrity. 

These are things that are stuck inside the sapphire and cause some sort of blemish to the look of the stone. 

Sapphires almost always have some sort of inclusion in them. Sometime these can be unseen to the naked eye and other times it can be easily visible without a magnifine glass.

When buying a sapphire you should try and look for something that has a good clarity grade, as well as being visually appealing to your own eye. 


Cut is the next important thing to look for when buying a sapphire. 

The cut is what allows the brilliance and beauty to pour through in a stone. It is important to view your sapphire in the light to see the varying facets and the symmetry with which it has been cut.

Gem cutters have an incredible way of creating facets and surfaces that optimise the quality of light that passes through each gemstone into your eyes.

There are many different cuts and shapes that sapphires come in. When buying your sapphire you should choose the cut that resonates best with you.

A sapphire’s cut truly comes down to what you like aesthetically. However, you should look for a cut that has precision, symmetry and quality in mind. The better the quality of cut, the brighter and sparklier the stone.


The size of a gemstone is generally measured by weight in the metric known as carats. A sapphire and a diamond’s weight are measured in the same way. 

Traditionally, when purchasing a loose gem, the cost is given as a per-carat price and as the weight of a carat increases, so does the cost.

When purchasing a sapphire, it is important to figure out what size you are looking for. 

Milestone weights, such as .25ct, .50ct, 1ct, etc, are the most popular sizes of stones.

When buying a sapphire, carat weight is important to think about because this will determine the size and price of the stone. Keep not only your aesthetic in mind, but also your budget.


Treatments are used within the gemstone industry to change a specific trait of a stone. 

Heat treaments are one of the most common treatments. This alters the appearance of a sapphire’s color and quality. It removes inclusions and im- proves a sapphire’s hue and saturation. This affects a sapphire’s color grade, which could be considered one specific grade before treatment, but can jump up to a higher grade afterward.

An unheated sapphire is simply a sapphire that has not undergone this heat treatment, meaning the color and quality is of untreated origin. 

Other treatments include latice diffusion, which also artificially changes a stone’s color. 

A vast majority of the stones from Anpé Atelier are unheated and professional certificate is always provided which gives information on what exactly has or has not been done to the gemstone.

Overall, finding a sapphire that is treated or untreated is entirely up to you! It depends on whether you prefer to have a completely untreated stone or not. Either way, you are sure to end up with an incredibly beautiful sapphire.

Gemstones: From Rough to Polished

Nature’s Wonders

Working with loose gemstones plays a massive role of the jewellery design process at Anpé Atelier, especially when it comes to sourcing the perfect stone for a customized design. But what some people might not know is, gemstones don’t start out as the polished and sparkling things we see normally. In fact, they actually start out as a rock-like element that has to be meticulously assessed in order to be cut into the best shape and size in order to accentuate the stone’s fire and brilliance. Here are the main steps that a loose gemstone goes through:

Download and read the Gemstones: From Rough to Polished booklet here.

Gemstones in the Rough

Gemstones start off as rock-like elements, which makes the term “Sapphire in the rough,” a perfect description. Gemstones are formed underneath the earth’s surface predominantly through heating, cooling and high amounts of pressure. Diamonds, sapphires, rubies and other stones are found miles below the ground, and are pushed towards the surface through natural causes such as weathering, erosion and volcanic eruptions. It is in this way that humans are able create mines to dig up and find these beautiful stones.

Once the rough stones are found, they are sorted by shape and color and are ready to move on to the next step: pre-forming.

Gemstone Pre-Forming

After the gemstones are found, they go through a process called pre-forming.

For lapidaries, otherwise known as gem cutters, making each gemstone is a work of art. There is a precise way of thinking for gem cutters to figure out the best way to accentuate a stone’s prominent features. Preforming is
a part of the faceting process. It is the first step, where the rough stone is ground by hand on a series of wheels or flat laps to get an overall shape.

Polish and Facet

After preforming, the gem goes through a process of faceting. This is where we start to get the finished product! Gem cutters begin to create the intricate edges and lines that you see on gemstones, which brings out an incredibly unique sparkle and glimmer. It is fantastic to see the stones go from the pre-forming process to polished and faceted, because they go from matte and 2 dimensional to a clear and colorful 3 dimensional beauty.

The Finished Product!

After the entire process is finished, we are left with these stunning stones that are ready to be made into a ring, necklace, bracelet or pair of earrings! Customers are always shocked when they learn about the journey a gemstone goes through to get to the polished product, which is why we thought it was important to provide an in-depth booklet for you to learn about the process.

Determining the Value of a Gemstone: Sapphires, Tsavorites, Tourmalines and More.

Precious and semi-precious gemstone’s are fantastic stones to use in fine jewellery. They offer a vibrant color palette and a unique aesthetic to the designs they are placed into. Much like diamonds, there is a specific way in which these stones are valued. Determining the value of a gemstone comes down to factors such as color, cut, clarity, carat, as well as the rarity, hardness and pureness of the stones.

For a deep dive into the topic, download Anpé’s full Determining a Value of a Gemstone guide here!


Color is one of the most important factors when determining the value of a colored gemstone. Gem cutters cut gemstones in a way that enhances and emphasises the best qualities of that individual stone, such as its luster, fire, and luminescence. Cutting them in a way that accentuates its natural color makes the stone more valuable.

There are four important elements that make up gemstone color:

Hue, saturation, tone and coverage.

Hue is the initial color of the stone. Sapphires, for example, come in virtually any color or tone you can think of. Some colors are more valuable than others, such as bi-color and color changing sapphires.

Coverage simply refers to the consistency and evenness of color throughout the stone.

Saturation is a stone’s brightness and intensity. This can range from dull to vivid. The more vibrant and saturated the stone, the higher the value.

A gem’s tone is the depth of color present within the stone, ranging from light to dark. Both light and dark tones of the same stone can have an equal value to each other.


A gemstone’s clarity grade refers to the relative absence of inclusions, fractures, and blemishes that affect its appearance and structural integrity. These inclusions and blemishes are materials that are trapped inside the gem as well as surface imperfections, both of which vary due to the many ways gemstones form underground.

Gems with greater clarity are considered more valuable than gems of the same species with lower clarity, all other properties being equal. 

That being said, some inclusions can have positive effects, by bringing a unique aura to the stone.

One of the major exceptions to the rule of clarity comes about with emerald stones. Emeralds are incredibly prized throughout different cultures, but they are one of the gemstones that always occur with hints of other mineral traces in them. This is why you will see highly prized emeralds with some inclusions and flaws.


Gem cutters, also known as lapidaries, have a massive artistic ability, as they take rough gemstones (see image) and hand cut them into the sparkling beauties you see mounted in a finished design.

A quality cut takes the other Four C’s into account and enhances the stone’s best features, such as the hue, saturation and color tone. A professional lapidary will be able to look at an individual gemstone and be able to determine the best angles to cut to bring out the stone’s inherent beauty – and in doing so, bring it the most value.

All gemstones have a unique way in which they bend light (refraction) and bounce it to your eye (reflection), which is what makes them so eye catching.

Gem cutters have an incredible way of creating facets and surfaces that optimise the quality of light that passes through each gemstone into your eyes.


The size of a gemstone is generally measured by weight in the metric known as carats (1 carat is equal to 1/5 of a gram). Traditionally, when purchasing a loose gem, the cost is given as a per-carat price and as the weight of a carat increases, so does the cost.

Unfortunately, prices are not “set in stone”. For example, the cost of a 1ct. sapphire will not equally double if you have a 2ct. sapphire. This is because larger stones are typically rarer in nature. The rarer the stone, the more desirable and expensive it becomes.

Milestone Carat Weights, otherwise known as “magic sizes,” are quarter sizes of diamonds, such as .25ct, .50ct, 1ct, etc. These popular sizes are generally easier to refer to, therefore making them higher in demand. But what is so “magical” about them? Well, the price magically jumps once a stone reaches the next quarter carat. 


Rarity is one of the most prized qualities of gemstones and is another major factor that determines the price for different minerals. Gemstones that are produced in fewer regions across the world in smaller quantities are generally worth more.

For example, finding a padparadscha sapphire over the weight of 2 carats is a real rarity, and can even surpass the price of a diamond in similar size.

Gemstones, just like other products and resources, have a supply and demand relationship. For example, the most common gem-grade corundum is the blue sapphire. Sapphires come in all the colors of the rainbow, with certain colors rarer than blues. This might make you wonder why blue sapphires are so valuable, and the answer is because traditionally, many people desire deep blue sapphires over yellow or green ones. It is that exact demand that drives up the price of blue sapphires.


Hardness refers to the durability of your gemstone. More importantly, it measures how difficult or easy it is to scratch the surface of the stone. The hardness of a gemstone is measured using the Mohs Scale of Hardness, rated on a scale from 1 to 10.

The reason this is important to determining a gemstone’s value is because specific minerals may not interact positively with the environment around you. 

For example, diamond and corundum (sapphires and rubies) rank highest on the scale, between 9 and 10. This means that these gemstones are resilient and great for everyday wear, so long as you take care of them properly. A calcite or fluorite gemstone, however, ranks 3 to 4 on the scale, meaning they scratch fairly easily, thus making the appearance seem dull and used after a time. Ultimately, the higher up on the Mohs Scale, the higher the value of the stone.


Gemstones are altered as soon as they come from the ground in their rough form and are cut and polished to become the wonderful stones we see in our jewellery today. But there are a number of treatments that are used to change the color and clarity of a gemstone.

Heating and oiling are common treatments to artificially change and improve the color and clarity of stones.

When a gemstone is noted as “unheated”, this means that the color and clarity are completely natural. Untreated stones are often of higher value because they are less common within the industry. In the image on the side is a natural, unheated bi color sapphire, which is incredibly rare in nature.

A vast majority of the stones from Anpé Atelier are unheated and a professional certificate is always provided which gives information on what exactly has or has not been done to the gemstone.

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