Just a quick post to inform our customers of the latest news in the Blue Sapphire Beryllium treatment issue that has been influencing the sapphire market recently.
Hot off the press from the AGTA GTC's Laboratory is this update for March 29, 2006:
Beryllium-Treated Blue Sapphires by Garry Du Toit, Richard W. Hughes & John I. Koivula
Unfortunately, it appears that our previous hopes that the presence of beryllium in some blue sapphire was the result of contamination appear to be wrong. Concentrations of beryllium in many of the tested stones were high enough to indicate deliberate introduction of this checmical and not accidental contamination. The disappointing thing about this affair is that once again, disclosure in the marketplace was inadequate and the labs had to play a catch-up game to deal with this new treatment issue.
The AGTA is now stating that where evidence of long term/high temperature treatment is found that further testing is required to detect the presence of foreign elements (such as beryllium).
For more background on this issue, we recommend readers look at the AIGS article published in March 1, 2006 by Vincent Pardieu – Understanding blue sapphire heat treatment: Introduction to the beryllium issue.
Both articles have a number of links to other pages containing relevant information – great reading for those interested in this subject.
Here at Aussie Sapphire, we would like to assure customers that we will always disclose details of treatment status of all gems from our own mine (and imported gems where this information is available). We sell our rough fully natural (unheated or otherwise enhanced) and cut gems will be sold fully natural (unheated) or with basic heat treatment only.
We should point out that basic heat treatment is done at a lower temperature and for only a short time compared with the long term/high temperature treatment (sometimes called UHT or ultra-high temperature) involved in the latest controversy. No chemicals are introduced during the heating process and we believe that this method which has been used for centuries on sapphire is an acceptable form of treatment if fully disclosed to the customer.
We plan to keep the Treatment Page of our website up to date with these developments so customers can learn more about this issue – breaking news will be published here on the Blog first and moved to the Treatment Page as time permits. This new issue has already had a significant impact on the sapphire market world-wide and we will keep you informed as we learn more about this.
cheers for now from Aussie Sapphire