Blue Nile's colored Gemstone Enhancement Policy

Blue Nile offers consumers only the highest quality, authentic gemstones. Our colored gemstones undergo rigorous internal inspections by our trained gemologists to ensure they meet our stringent quality standards.

Due to their rarity and unique visual properties, nearly all colored gemstones sold at fine jewelers, including Blue Nile, are enhanced using various techniques. Many of these techniques have been used for centuries. Colored gemstones that have not been enhanced are very rare and command extravagant prices.

Our white and fancy-color diamonds are not enhanced in any way, other than normal cutting and polishing. Black diamond fashion jewelry contains natural diamonds that have been treated to create the unique black color.

Colored Gemstone Enhancement Processes

There are many methods of enhancing colored gemstones. We describe the most common enhancements below. For more information on colored gemstone enhancements, see the American Gem Trade Association's Gemstone Information Manual.

  • Heat Treatment

    The application of heat to enhance the color and/or clarity of gemstones has been a common practice around the globe for centuries. It is part of the standard polishing and finishing process for many colored gemstones. As such, it is accepted by the jewelry industry and the American Gem Trade Association. The enhanced color and/or clarity of heat-treated gemstones is permanent.

  • Infusion

    The filling of a gem material with an oil, wax, glass, resin or other material, colored or colorless, to improve appearance. This process began centuries ago by gemstone merchants who found that immersing emeralds in oil or waxes made them look clearer to the unaided eye. This practice continues today with many colored gemstones.

  • Coating

    The use of wax, resin or oil applied to the exterior of a porous colored gemstone to protect the natural substance, and to improve sturdiness and appearance.

  • Bleaching

    The application of chemicals or other elements to lighten or enhance color consistency.

  • Dyeing

    The act of adding coloring agents so that they permeate a colored gemstone to enhance or alter color.

  • Irradiation

    The alteration of a gemstone's color through the use of radiation. This is often followed by a heating process. The enhanced color of irradiated gemstones is permanent.

  • New and Future Technologies

    Techniques for enhancing colored gemstones, either detectable or otherwise, are continually being developed. These may be difficult, or in rare cases, impossible to detect, even for the most sophisticated laboratory. Blue Nile will continue to work with industry groups and gemological experts who are committed to the identification and disclosure of new and future techniques in order to maintain our stringent quality standards.


Basic Gemstone Care

While gemstones are durable, they require varying levels of care. For example, some gemstones are especially vulnerable to household chemicals and temperature changes. Cleaning gemstones presents special challenges. While many gemstones should be cared for by following our basic care guidelines below, please refer to our Gemstone and Pearl Care and Enhancement Overview to understand the care requirements for your specific stone. If you still have questions, please contact Blue Nile customer service.

  • Cleaning

    After removing your gemstone jewelry, clean it by following the directions on a non-abrasive jewelry cleaner. Make sure that the jewelry cleaner specifies that it is safe to use with your gemstone. Use a soft cloth to remove any remaining dirt or other residue.

  • Storing

    Store your gemstone jewelry in a lined case or a soft cloth, so the gems do not touch each other or parts of other jewelry. Gemstones are harder than gold, silver, or platinum and can scratch the surfaces of your other fine jewelry if they are not kept separate.

  • Wear

    While it's true that gemstones such as ruby and sapphire are second only to diamond on the hardness scale, it is not a measurement of their indestructibility. It means that these gemstones are able to resist scratching almost as well as a diamond. Abrasive surfaces, harsh chemicals, and sharp blows can damage even the hardest gem. Your gemstone jewelry should be the last thing you put on when getting dressed and the first thing you take off at the end of the night. Store your gemstones carefully and they will be enjoyed for generations.


Gemstone and Pearl Care and Enhancement Overview

Gemstone Accepted Enhancements Gemstone Care

Agate

Heated or dyed to improve color.

Basic Gemstone Care.

Amber

Heated to improve color and clarity.

Do not use ultrasonic cleaning. Avoid sudden temperature changes, chemicals, perfume, cosmetics, and hairspray.

Amethyst

Heated to improve color.

Basic Gemstone Care.

Apatite

Heat

Basic Gemstone Care.

Aquamarine

Heated to improve color and clarity.

Basic Gemstone Care.

Black Diamond

Heated or irradiated to alter color.

Basic Gemstone Care.

Black Onyx

Dyed.

Basic Gemstone Care.

Black Spinel

None.

Basic Gemstone Care.

Blue Topaz

Heated and/or irradiated to alter color. Thermal coated to alter color.

Basic Gemstone Care.

Carnelian

Heated to improve color.

Basic Gemstone Care.

Chalcedony

Dyed.

Basic Gemstone Care.

Chrome Diopside

None

Basic Gemstone Care.

Citrine

Heated to improve color.

Basic Gemstone Care.

Coral

Coated or impregnated with color less substances to improve surface uniformity or durability. Bleached or dyed to enhance color.

Basic Gemstone Care.

Diamond

None.

Basic Gemstone Care.

Emerald

Infused to improve clarity and/or color.

Do not use ultrasonic cleaning. Avoid sudden temperature changes, chemicals, perfume, cosmetics, and hairspray.

Fire Opal

None.

Do not use ultrasonic cleaning. Avoid sudden temperature changes, chemicals, perfume, cosmetics, and hairspray.

Garnet

None.

Avoid sudden temperature changes.

Iolite

None.

Do not use ultrasonic cleaning.

Kunzite

Heated or irradiated to improve color

Do not use ultrasonice cleaning. Avoid direct sunlight.

Labradorite

None.

Basic Gemstone Care.

Lapis

Dyed.

Do not use ultrasonic cleaning. Avoid sudden temperature changes, chemicals, perfume, cosmetics, and hairspray.

Moonstone

None.

Basic Gemstone Care.

Morganite

Heated to improve color and clarity.

Basic Gemstone Care.

Opal

Coated to alter surface consistency and durability.

Do not use ultrasonic cleaning. Avoid sudden temperature changes, chemicals, perfume, cosmetics, and hairspray.

Pearl (natural and cultured)

Bleached, dyed, polished and coated.

Do not use ultrasonic cleaning. Avoid sudden temperature changes, chemicals, perfume, cosmetics, and hairspray. For more information, visit Pearl Education.

Peridot

None.

Basic Gemstone Care.

Prehnite

None

Basic Gemstone Care.

Quartz

Green/Lemon: Irradiated to improve color. Smokey: Heated to improve color. Blue: Dyed. Rutilated/Rose/white: None.

Basic Gemstone Care.

Ruby

Heated and/or infused to improve color and clarity.

Basic Gemstone Care.

Sapphire

Heated and/or infused to improve color and clarity.

Basic Gemstone Care.

Spinel

None

Basic Gemstone Care.

Tanzanite

Heated to alter color and clarity. Infused to alter color and clarity.

Do not use ultrasonic cleaning and sudden temperature changes.

Tourmaline

Irradiated to improve color.

Do not use ultrasonic cleaning and sudden temperature changes.

Turquoise

Coated or impregnated with color less substances to improve surface uniformity or durability.

Do not use ultrasonic cleaning. Avoid chemicals, perfume, cosmetics, and hairspray.

White Agate

None.

Basic Gemstone Care.

White Topaz

None.

Basic Gemstone Care.