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Gemstones - Grading & Enhancements
Turquoise Beads I have been doing a lot of research lately concerning the routine enhancements of gemstones and how they are graded. The most common grades are Imperial, Fine, A, AA, AAA, A+ , B, Very Good and Gem. At Auntie's Beads we strive to carry only Grade A and B gemstone beads. Enhancements to gemstones include bleaching (mostly pearls), dying, heating, irradiating, oiling, waxing, coating, filling, infilling, lasering and resin infusion. Enhancements are routinely performed on a majority of gemstones to bring out the natural beauty of the stone and do not necessarily lower the grade of the stone. Below I have listed just a few of these enhancements and some gemstones that are commonly treated this way:

Gemstone Enhancements

Magnesite Beads
Heat Treated or Irradiated – Amber, Aquamarine, Carnelian, Citrine, Ruby and Sapphire

Resin Infusion, Oiling, Waxing, Filling or Infilling – Amazonite, Emerald, Ivory, Bone, Malachite and Turquoise (check out this article to learn more about Turquoise specifically)

Bleached or Dyed - Agate, Black Onyx, Bone, Jade (Jadeite), Lapis Lazuli, and Pearls
 
Some gemstones that are usually “natural” or usually not enhanced, other than cutting and polishing are:  Ametrine, Chrysoprase, Garnet, Hematite, Iolite, Kyanite, Moonstone and Sugilite
 
There are gemstones, of high quality, that could, potentially have different enhancements done to them.  If you are interested in reading more about gemstone enhancements and grading, the American Gem Trade Association has a great little booklet in pdf format at http://www.agta.org/gemstones/agta-gim/index.html
 
Deb Leon, Auntie's Beads Designer