Beryllium treated Sapphires


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Sep 6, 2009
Hello all,

I came across this forum a few weeks ago and enjoy reading the threads!
I have not read all the theads. This may be old news but it worth highligting.

2004 until Jan 2007, I purchase quite a lot of jewellery from Gem TV.
I bought “precision cut” Ceylon Blue Sapphire and Padparadscha Sapphires. I was led to believe that the consignment Padparadscha was obtained by Gems TV consisted of 5 year personal collection. The Ceylon Sapphires were best you could buy!

Some of the comments in this forum about sapphires started to make me feel very worried. I am not a Gem expert and your comments about sapphires treated with Beryllium was alarming.

I wrote to Gems TV a few days ago. This is part of the response I received.

Nearly all our gemstones that we feature are treated and heat treatment is the most common. We advise that all our Padparadscha sapphires will be heat treated with a Beryllium source – usually Chrysoberyl. This treatment is permanent and penetrates through the stone to the core, once done there is no visible differences between a treated stone and a natural sapphire. Without this treatment Padparadscha sapphire would not be available on a commercial level.
As the sapphires are usually treated before we buy them in we cannot then differentiate between treated and natural stones without it being tested. We therefore state all stones are treated. Due to a change of trading rules from the Jewellery association in Thailand in 2007 we have to call a treated Padparadscha sapphire as “coloured”, the changed name reflects the same description that you would get if the stone has been valued or been tested in a laboratory. The price advertised on screen will reflect that the stone is a treated sapphire.

My purchases were not made for investment; I liked the jewellery. I just feel that I have been misled.

And welcome from me, too, Sapphireblue!

I do remember that the prices for the padparadscha sapphires on Gems went down quite a bit around the time the nomenclature "padparadscha coloured" was introduced, so it's possible that the early ones were genuine natural padparadscha and not beryllium diffused. On the other hand, it could just be that awareness of the beryllium diffusion affected the market price.

Anyone know? Meeshoo...?
Welcome from me too Sapphireblue. Thank you for sharing the reply you got from Gems re the Pad Sapphires. I too recall the constant repetition from the presenters that the Ceylon Pad Sapphires all had the requisite mix of pinks/reds/oranges etc. and were from someone's personal collection.

I remember there was a lot of debate on here when the name was changed to CPCS, but not sure if an adequate re-assuring explanation was given at that time!
Hi Sapphireblue and welcome! Are you the same Sapphireblue who's husband also used to post? Just being nosey!!! No need for you to answer if you don't want!

Ok, here's the skinny on this one ............

First of all and most importantly NEVER EVER buy gemstones or jewellery for investment purposes. At best they will hold their value (if they're top quality) but most don't. It's only the real rare gemstones that will increase in price and you're not likely to find this on shopping or jewellery outlets.

So, onto the Padparadscha debate .............. many years ago when we were all naive, GemsTV sold "Padparadscha Sapphires" and said that they came from a private collection. This STRONGLY suggested that the Pads were real Pads, not beryllium diffused. There was absolutely NO mention of treatment (other than heat).

I think it was about 4 or 5 years ago, GemsTV were challenged (on this forum) and Gavin who was the gemstone buyer at that point had to admit that the Pads were beryllium diffused but I think (if memory serves me correctly) he did say that not all were. There was a huge debate and shortly thereafter the word "coloured" appeared in the title - my recollection is that it was before 2007 but the change in legislation may have been the real reason for the change and so it could have been as late as 2007.

So, where does this leave us? Were the originals true untreated Pads? I'm not sure. There's no way of telling unless you unmount your gemstone and send it to a Lab for testing. For safety I would assume that any bought from GemsTV are treated.

Pads are the most expensive and difficult to get hold of out of the Sapphire family. What constitutes a Padparadscha i.e. colour or origin (Ceylon), is still a hot debate and there's actually no definitive answer. Of course, you can buy Pads (untreated) and if you look at you can see some there. If you asked 10 experts to look at this range (or anybody else's range) their opinion on how many are "true" Pads would differ because some believe that the gemstone has to come from Ceylon to quality, others believe that the colour is key to being given the Pad title. Unfortunately even experts can't agree on this one!

So are beryllium diffused Pads real Pads? No absolutely not and all experts would agree on this. Beryllium treated sapphires are genuine sapphires that have been treated to look like a Pad. This means they should be valued as a treated sapphire. The price therefore would be 100 miles away from a natural untreated Padparadscha. If you beryllium treat a sapphire or a Ruby you treat it to look better than it is.

In terms of value (high at the top) it would look something like this:

1. Unheated/Untreated Sapphire (pad or not) - considered the very best and should be accompanied by Certification from a reputable Lab. Commands top £ but might hold it's value.
2. Heated Sapphire (i.e. no other treatment) this is acceptable to some and not to others.
3. Treated Sapphire (i.e. beryllium, heat, fracture filled etc) - cheap. Won't hold value but could look pretty. Good for pretty jewellery but not for collectors who won't touch these with a bargepole.

Personally I will buy 1 and 2 but NOT 3.

Not sure if I've answered all your questions so I'll go back and look but basically ........... if you want a real Pad, don't buy from the TV. Buy only a gemstone with a certificate from a reputable Lab.

If you want a natural sapphire or Ruby then the same applies.

Sorry for the long post.
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Hi and welcome Sapphireblue,I too bought a pad ring at that time probably naively believing their story about someone's personal collection and I'm sure a lot of other folk did too.I'm certainly older and thanks to this forum somewhat wiser now. I just wish they could be honest they may make short term benefits from this subterfuge but I truly, probably naivly again, believe that honesty builds up a regular long term customer base.I now disbelieve everything I'm told.
Hello Meeshoo, thank you for the info; this is the first forum I have joined. I like blue sapphires hence the name! My hubbie likes fishing and football!
I must admit its hard lesson to learn. I only purchase (big spend) certified gem stones now.
Btw, have you seen the pale AAA tanzanite on QVC. They are being offered with certificates from the Birmingham Assay office! Almost £1,000 per carat!

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