CIBJO releases Gemmological Special Report: considers process of separating measurable facts from opinion; See Gemological Articles below.
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 Post subject: Lattice diffusion treatment of Blue Sapphires
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 3:57 pm 
It appears that the Thais are now lattice diffusing blue sapphires now. The light elements(Be or B) makes colour more vibrant, vivid blue. I don't know how long this has been done, but it's causing quite a bit of a stir. The last I heard is some group of people threatening to sue another group of people big time in Thailand.

I don't know what locality of sapphires are they using. I suspect this is the reason why Madagascar is producing so many cornflower blue sapphires at truly amazing prices. Still, the African stones react best to this brand of treatment.

They've treated red corundum, yellow, orange, pink, padparadscha, green.
Now blue.

I am waiting for people to diffuse salt, pepper and other spices into gemstones. Chilli hot stuff.

Good luck and enjoy detecting.


Last edited by hehheh on Thu Mar 02, 2006 11:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 6:01 pm 
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Thanks for the post hehheh.

As predicted, the news of the new blue treatment seems to have really hit Chantuburi. We have of course followed this very closely and it seemed strange to us that even just a couple of weeks ago some of our contacts (buyers) were not mentioning this - now they are screaming! The information we have is not confirmed but comes from experts in the field and it appears that the process works best on the Madagascan sapphire. We are told that the biggest effect so far has been on very expensive stone sold as Ceylon, with much stone returned and some very cranky large customers. There are also rumours that Lithium may also be present in the new treatments (something for the experts to keep in mind).

One strange outcome so far is that we have fielded more enquires and supplied more bulk rough into Thailand in the last weeks then we have for some time, it appears that our Australian Sapphire may not work with this new process and factories are actually chasing it to be able to prove that what they are cutting has not had this new treatment. Whether this will last or not remains to be seen and as expected, price for sapphire has been affected (as if it wasnt already low). There are few suppliers or countries in the world that can guarantee that all the rough they sell has not had unknown treatments or even synthetics added to the rough. These practices are well reported over a long period in some regions. We supply a written guarantee of the fully natural status of our mine run parcels as they leave our hands - now at last I believe that even some Thais can see the benefit in a paper trail of the origin and treatment status through the supply chain.

Some very interesting news came yesterday from Jim and Jenny Elliott - sapphire miners and gem traders in Queensland with a passion and knowledege for sapphire hard to beat. They and Terry Coldham (Sapphex - a large gem supplier) have been working with the Earth Sciences Department of the Australian National University to try and develop a method to detect this treatment. An excerpt of their email is below:

I had previously included in one of my communications the fact that Jenny and I, in our efforts to promote our guaranteed natural sapphire, had discussed the testing of gemstones in general, and sapphires in particular, with staff of the Earth Sciences Department of the Australian National University, when we were in Canberra at the end of last year. We had found out that the ANU had the equipment and the technology to identify beryllium (or any other elements) in sapphire samples.

Since we have got back from our Christmas shutdown, the first of this testing has been done on a batch of sapphires sent in by Terry Coldham of Sapphex, Sydney, whom you all know.

Terry has told us today that he is very satisfied with the testing process and that the results given accorded exactly with his knowledge of the history of the stones. i.e. stones he knew to be beryllium treated were clearly identified as such, and stones which were not were identified accordingly - and stones which he was not sure of, but had suspicions, were in accordance with his expectations.


One of the exciting things about this news is that the cost of such testing appears to be very reasonable. As a result of the testing, a very small pin hole is left which is some 15 microns deep - this is barely visible and can be easily polished out if this is required. I hope that more information will come out of this new work soon - we can provide contact details for the university staff if anyone is interested in following this up. If there is a cheap and reliable test to detect the presence of beryllium in these gemstones, we may be able to limit the damage caused to the blue sapphire industry.

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Andrew Lane
(Aussie Sapphire)
www.aussiesapphire.com.au


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:41 am 
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I guess the technique to analyse light element in corundum is the LIBS (Laser Induced Breackdown Spectroscopy).
This is a very effectiv technique for Be detection (and may be Li if parametred).
This method can be just qualitativ or ,if well parametred, quantitative.
The apparatus is still very expensive.
I think the lab that buy this aparautus would do a lot of analyse to make this equipment profitable :?

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Jean-Marie Arlabosse
GemInterest.com


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 11:30 am 
It seems that LIBS and LA-ICP-MS are not only expensive, but the calibration standards required to evaluate concentration levels(down to ppma) are also a problem.

Some light elements may be too light to be catalogued it seems.

My instructor has just returned from Bangkok from a research meeting with the Thai Gem & Jewelry Traders Association (TGJTA) and has developed some microscope observation techniques to detect the Light Element diffusion. It's very fast for stones that show the feature(highly indicative, but not diagnostic), but I cannot disclose the technique until he publishes his research paper on that.

And thanks to Aussie Sapphire for confirming my suspicions. For a while I was wondering how in heaven did Madagascar produce such a copious amount of top blue sapphires.

hehheh


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 9:15 pm 
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Hello,

Well regarding to this subject, things have to be taken carefully...

***I modified this message in order to make the things more easy and present only one version***

You can now go to read the study AIGS Gemological Laboratory has released about the issue. It is visible on the Lab website from page. It is quite heavy as there are many inclusion photographs. I hope it will interest you...
Have a good time reading it:

http://www.aigslaboratory.com/

The title of the article is: "Blue sapphire: Beryllium?"

All the best

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Vincent Pardieu

www.fieldgemology.org
www.conservationgemology.org

The views expressed here are V. Pardieu’s opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of GIA Laboratory Bangkok (http://www.giathai.net)where he is an employee since Dec 2008.


Last edited by vincent pardieu on Tue Feb 28, 2006 9:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 9:55 pm 
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Thank you so much for your response, Vincent! I wanted to explain what was learned during the lectures at Tucson, but knew I wasn't qualified; glad you are :D !


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 11:23 pm 
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Thank you Vincent,

I knew you would be working hard as always to reveal the truth. You are certainly correct that facts should be the only thing that are discussed, the sooner more is reported the better.

We look forward to hearing the results of your research. We were concerned that the news of a new beryllium treatment would hurt the blue sapphire market. Hopefully some good and careful research will help buyers regain confidence.

Cheers Andrew

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 12:44 pm 
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Has this article by the lab been published on the internet? I would be interested in reading it.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:19 pm 
AIGS has just published their research into this new treatment. Check their website.

Apparently, this is a result of a long heating process, lasting up to 3 weeks. Inclusions show a non-characteristic circular web-like filamentous network, but Hughes and Scarratt has observed such inclusions years ago.

I guess we are now awaiting for trace elemental analysis from other major gem labs.


Last edited by hehheh on Thu Mar 02, 2006 11:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 12:03 pm 
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Could you provide a link, I went through all 3 sites and couldn't find it.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 12:24 pm 
Sheesh, the link was provided in a lab alert email to the lab I'm with. I didn't post the link because I thought it would be all over AIGS' websites.

Apparently not.

I'll need to be back at the lab to get the link. Alternatively, since the article was written by Vincent, perhaps he can post the link here.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 4:07 pm 
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Hi,

Doos, you cannot find it, because its not yet online... But it will be very soon!
Please hehheh, if you had an acces to this pages, it was for your eyes only as it was a working document and I'm still waiting for some confirmations before to release these pages.
Thanks for your understanding...
By the way: In which lab are you working?

All the best,

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Vincent Pardieu

www.fieldgemology.org
www.conservationgemology.org

The views expressed here are V. Pardieu’s opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of GIA Laboratory Bangkok (http://www.giathai.net)where he is an employee since Dec 2008.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:46 pm 
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Vincent and hehheh,

I was actually looking for the paper the other lab put out.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 9:39 pm 
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Hi Doos and all,
You can now go to read the study AIGS Gemological Laboratory has released about the issue. It is visible on the Lab website from page. It is quite heavy as there are many inclusion photographs. I hope it will interest you... All the details and the references will be now more easily be accessible thanks to all the people from the AIGS lab and from many other labs around the world that provided us some help on this issue.
Have a good time reading it:

http://www.aigslaboratory.com/

The title of the article is: "Blue sapphire: Beryllium?"

All the best

_________________
Vincent Pardieu

www.fieldgemology.org
www.conservationgemology.org

The views expressed here are V. Pardieu’s opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of GIA Laboratory Bangkok (http://www.giathai.net)where he is an employee since Dec 2008.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 3:03 am 
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Thanks Vincent,

You are commended for releasing the information your Lab has to date. The faster truth is injected into this major issue the better. I wish you luck and understand fully the problems you must face in getting cookers to discuss the process under the current circumstances.

We all wish that any new treatment like this would enter the market place in a sensible and controlled way but for those of us with experience in the Gem game probably always expected another yellow sapphire job.

If there is anything we can do to assist let us know.

cheers

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Andrew Lane
(Aussie Sapphire)
www.aussiesapphire.com.au


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