Creating Gemstone Jewelry


 
Apatite in its raw form
Apatite in its raw form

The art of transforming a raw gemstone to a finished jewel requires a gem-cutter

with in-depth knowledge of the stone itself - its strengths density and weaknesses. The ability to view a stone in its raw state and identify the best cut to display its beautiful color and clarity is truly an art. There is no going back if a mistake is made. Artisans identify the best cut for the stone and then take the steps below to create the finest color clarity and carat jewelry gemstone.


Techniques
 

SAWINGGRINDINGSANDING AND LAPPINGPOLISHING

STEP 1: SAWING

This process is the first step to creating of the conceptual vision. Will the perfect cut for this stone be a marquise or square? The first step of the sawing is critical since this sets the stage for the following finishing steps.

STEP 2: GRINDING

The grinding is the step which literally takes off any of the larger rough areas remaining from the sawing technique. The stone will become closer to it's final presentation.

STEP 3: SANDING AND LAPPING

Now we take it a level deeper to sanding the stones visible rough edges into smooth curves and lapping the scratches of the flat surfaces smooth. The most delicate of steps to complete the final shaping.

STEP 4: POLISHING

Now let the show begin! Polishing brings out all of the hard work dedicated to the sawing grinding sanding and lapping above. The gem-cutter will use a tool called a horizontal polishing wheel to complete the final touches. In addition a fine diamond paste is used to reveal the brilliance and clarity.

 

Gemstone Enhancements
 

Heat

An
An apatite gem after processing.

A majority of gemstones undergo heat treatment. The rough gemstone is carefully heated to a certain temperature and then allowed to cool down naturally. This process enhances color and may in some instances remove inclusions. For example blue Topaz starts white or colorless and when heated presents a beautiful blue. Heat treatment is usually permanent but in some cases like Kunzite the color may fade after a years of use or when exposed directly to sunlight for a prolonged time.

 

Irradiated

Final
Final apatite ring.

This is a process where gemstones are exposed to very low levels of radiation to alter the color. For example London Blue Topaz naturally occurs white or colorless and irradiation it turns a deep dusty blue. This is a permanent treatment and completely safe for the gem wearer.

 

Bleaching

Only experts should do this treatment. For example some pearls are bleached to achieve a saturation and even spread of color. This is a permanent treatment. Examples: golden Coral and cultured Pearl.

 

Waxing and Oiling

Emeralds containing natural fissures are sometimes filled with wax or oil to mask them. This wax or oil is also colored to make the emerald appear a better color and clarity. Turquoise is also commonly treated in a similar manner.