Understanding Gemstone Enhancement

Posted on June 30 2023

What Is It?

Gemstone enhancement is a common, well-established practice in the jewelry world that refers to a treatment applied to gemstones. Enhancements add a little extra dazzle to each stone to enhance their natural beauty. Treatments include heating, oiling, radiation, lead glass filling, dyeing and sealing. In this blog, we will describe each of these treatments. One thing to note is that the term “enhancement” refers to a treatment that can be applied to both natural stones and lab-created.


Many gems are heat-treated to enrich color or increase clarity. Heating occurs naturally in the earth as gemstones are being formed, so it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish the effects of commercial heat treatments from those of the natural process. Corundum gems such as rubies and sapphires are almost always heat treated.


Some gems are naturally formed with internal fractures, which can be filled through a process called oiling. A substance is injected into the stone to fill the fractures, which smooths the surface and allows light to reflect off the gem evenly, increasing its ability to shine. It’s good to know if your stone has been treated with an oiling process because it may affect the way it needs to be cleaned and cared for. For example, an oiled gem could be damaged if subjected to an ultrasonic method of cleaning.


Commercial radiation can be used on gemstones to boost or change their color. Perhaps the most common usage is the irradiation of colorless topaz to turn it blue. Similar to heating, radiation mimics a natural process and is safe for consumers as long as it’s administered properly.

Lead Glass Filling

To improve clarity, some gems are filled with lead glass. This treatment can be applied to rubies, sapphires and diamonds. Some gems that receive this treatment are referred to as “hybrid” gems.

Dyeing and Sealing

Dyeing and sealing treatments are often applied to less expensive stones. For instance, black onyx commonly receives a dyeing treatment to enhance color. Porous stones like turquoise are sometimes sealed to stabilize them and prevent color fading.

Need More Info? We Can Help!

Gemstone enhancement is an accepted, widely-used practice among top jewelry professionals that enhances the beauty and clarity of a gemstone through the latest technologies. If you’re wondering if your gemstone has been treated, bring it to Lasker Jewelers for an evaluation. You can click here to schedule an appointment with our jewelry experts.

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