In my previous posts I discussed my continuing education lesson on Emerald Enhancements. There was one classification that I have yet to explain: Manufactured Product.
When GIA classifies an emerald (or any other stone) as a Manufactured Product, this doesn’t mean it is lab-grown, that’s not a clarity enhancement classification. It means there is so much filler in the stone that the filler is actually holding the stone together. The filler is serving more as a glue than a filler. I spent two weeks a couple years ago discussing this problem as it relates to rubies, which is becoming quite prevalent. But now GIA and other labs are spotting this problem in both blue sapphires and emeralds as well.
It’s important to know what you’re getting into if you buy one of these Manufactured Product stones. Special precautions need to be taken when taking a piece of jewelry with one of these stones in to be cleaned or repaired. They can literally fall into pieces if a cleaner or repair method damages the resin.
Even if your stone isn’t labeled a Manufactured Product, it’s important to know what processes can affect the stone. Over 90% of emeralds are fracture filled with oil or resin, which makes it very risky to clean with steam or ultrasonic cleaner as the oil or resin can seep out of the fracture. Any stone with filler can loose its filler with certain forms of cleaning. A jeweler’s torch can also cause fillers or resins to seep out. In addition, a stone’s color can be affected by a jeweler’s torch. For these reasons, jewelers will often remove a colored stone before performing any repair work on a piece of gemstone jewelry.
The bottom line is, it’s important to be aware of the different treatments of colored stones before you buy. A reputable jeweler will disclose any treatments to you. If you take a piece of jewelry in to be repaired or cleaned, be sure your jeweler is aware of different things that can affect the color or integrity of the stone. If you’re unsure about your stone, I recommend cleaning the stone with warm mildly soapy water and a gentle toothbrush.
My personal opinion is: If you send your colored stone in to GIA for identification and the report comes back with Manufactured Product written on it, send the stone back to the dealer who sent it to you. And consider going elsewhere for your purchase.
Author: Michelle M. Rahm is a GIA-trained Graduate Gemologist and is President of Colorado’s Mile High Chapter of the GIA Alumni Association. She has been selling gemstones and jewelry online since 1997. Visit her websites JewelryImpressions.com and OurCustomWeddingRings.com