GIT-GTL’s lab alert: An Update on Titanium-Diffused Sapphire

As indicated by the title, this treatment is not new. (See one of Richard Hughes’s articles that discusses the history of surface diffusion.) What was new to the GIT researchers was that the evidence of treatment was reduced, “or even eliminated,” in faceted material.
Samples of rough and cut material were obtained by the lab in November. The report is well illustrated; penetration of the diffusion is easily observed alongside traditionally heated sapphire, under diiodomethane (methylene iodide) immersion. Photomicrographs by ex-Pala staffer Wimon Manorotkul reveal the telltale signs of heating at high temperatures: melted crystals, dotted lines of partially resorbed needles, and discoid fractures encircling melted crystals. Even normal photography displays strong color rims on the rough.
Seems simple enough, but the report’s conclusion stresses that because this faceted material contains so little evidence of enhancement, compared with what is typically seen, care must be taken by gemologists in order not to overlook the treatment.

courtesy of Pala International

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