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Author Topic: natural / color enhanced ???? your thoughts on this  (Read 2202 times)

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55fossil

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natural / color enhanced ???? your thoughts on this
« on: November 12, 2016, 09:45:25 AM »

    I was just looking at some beautiful aqua chalcedony cabochons. The listing said "Aqua Chalcedony Cabochon, Oval, 8x10mm, Natural, FREE Shipping, 2 pcs". Then as you read through the details the seller does state "color enhanced". I still have problems any time I see listings that repeat the word natural and then say color enhanced. But, I think this is still being honest but baits you in to look when you would not have if it had said color enhanced. Honest, absolutely. Many sellers never state enhancements. It still does not sit in my tiny little brain that color enhanced or treated is "natural". Yes, I am all for anything that makes a stone more beautiful or stable as long as it is mentioned where it is easily seen by the consumer. But is it "natural" in your opinion?   Neal
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jakesrocks

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Re: natural / color enhanced ???? your thoughts on this
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2016, 10:19:49 AM »

In a word, NO.
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Enchantra

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Re: natural / color enhanced ???? your thoughts on this
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2016, 12:37:54 PM »

Color enhanced isn't natural.  They need to be telling you how it was color enhanced as well - dyed?  Heat treated?  Irradiated?  Oiled?   Disclosure is a must otherwise what you could be buying is a couple pieces of dyed glass and not the chalcedony you're looking for.

Natural means it has had NO TREATMENT of any kind.  Color enhancement is a treatment.  Therefore it is misleading (And in most places illegal) to list the item as natural.
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Ranger_Dave

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Re: natural / color enhanced ???? your thoughts on this
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2016, 03:04:09 PM »

In the view of that seller, the rock is natural, the color is not. Caveat emptor.
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55fossil

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Re: natural / color enhanced ???? your thoughts on this
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2016, 05:45:07 PM »

       My feeling is that there is only one natural. That is how nature made it and put it into the ground for us to find. Any other use of the term natural is a deception. If a seller thought it did not matter to the consumer they would put heated, dyed or oiled and later tell you the stone was natural until they treated it. So I feel there is a reason that you have to read 2 paragraphs before you see the word "treated", but I do like the honesty. The down side is you are competing for views if you are a seller. When someone follows a link to an item that says natural but is treated, you just lost a possible view and sale. Consumers only have so much time to look and then they cave in or quit without buying.
Not a complaint so much as my opinion. Of course there are all the other treated items out there that the seller just omits the facts. That I have a problem with. 
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Amethyst Rose

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Re: natural / color enhanced ???? your thoughts on this
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2016, 07:06:52 PM »

Color enhanced is not natural.  I even disclose if turquoise has been buffed with ZAM as I feel that is enhancement as ZAM is wax based and the wax cannot be completely removed from the stone.  My opinion.

Bob Johannes
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gemfeller

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Re: natural / color enhanced ???? your thoughts on this
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2016, 07:41:25 PM »

So a guy whose hair is getting white decides to dye it.  Is his hair after dyeing natural or something else?  If it's something else, what?  I guess it depends on what the definition of "natural" is.  With gems, treatment must be disclosed by law.  The topic of gem treatment is very complex and there are lots of sales pitches that either avoid disclosure or bury it as in the present instance.   

The Federal Trade Commission sets guidelines that are followed by major gem organizations.  Here are exerpts from the Accredited Gemologists Association interpretation of the law:

"Treated 'naturally occurring' gemstones, however, are less valuable than natural "naturally
occurring" gemstones. Most consumers are unaware of the value differences because they don't
even know there are two categories of 'naturally occurring' -natural and treated. The word
natural has itself become a problem. In light of the quantity of treated gemstones in the market,
the word 'natural' immediately preceding the name of a gemstone that has been treated is no
longer a valid qualifier, but one that is misleading…

"It is unfair or deceptive to fail to disclose that a gemstone has been treated if:
 
(a) the treatment is not permanent. The seller should disclose that the gemstone has been treated and that the treatment is or may not be permanent;
 
(b) the treatment creates special care requirements for the gemstone. The seller should disclose that the gemstone has been treated and has special care requirements. It is also recommended that the seller disclose the special care requirements to the purchaser;
 
(c) the treatment has a significant effect on the stone' s value. The seller should disclose that the gemstone has been treated.

 https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/documents/public_comments/16-cfr-part-23-guides-jewelry-precious-metals-and-pewter-industries-project-no.g711001-560895-00012%C2%A0/560895-00012-84883.pdf


   
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Redrummd

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Re: natural / color enhanced ???? your thoughts on this
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2016, 08:57:48 PM »

This is always a sensitive topic as words can be played with to mean different things to different readers.  I personally believe that my use of Hxtal increases the value of my work as it improves the polish, is permanent and requires no special care.

With that noted I also note in listings on most stone I use: "I only use real stone and the only thing I will do is improve the polish some stone pieces will take by filling in natural occurring structures such as pits, druzy, and lines with a UV stable polymer, usually Hxtal."   I do not use anything on Jade but leave the same notation.

I will note that I am very aware of rules and regulations and for the most part they do not truly apply to use of Hxtal for single slab stabilization as I describe in my tutorial.  I just believe in letting buyers know in case it is important to them!

Here are the actual written "rules" from the Bureau of Consumer Protection from this site if you want to see for yourself!

FTC guidelines found at:  www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/jewel-gd.shtm

The full language from the Bureau of Consumer Protection is noted below.  It is significant to note that filling of a pit, vug, line or druzy is not even noted.  The actual language only specifically notes FRACTURE FILLING.   

"Gemstone Treatments

Gemstone treatments or enhancements refer to the way some gems are altered or treated to improve their appearance or durability. Some common treatments include:
•Heating, which can lighten, darken or change the color of some gems, or improve a gemstone's clarity.
•Irradiation, which can add more color to colored diamonds, some other gemstones and pearls.
•Impregnating some gems with colorless oils, wax or resins, which makes a variety of imperfections less visible and can improve a gemstones' clarity and appearance.
•Fracture filling, which involves injecting colorless plastic or glass in the gems to hide cracks or fractures and improve the gemstones' appearance and durability.
•Diffusion treatment, which adds color to the surface of colorless gems while the center of the stone remains colorless.
•Dyeing, which adds color and improves color uniformity in some gemstones and pearls.
•Bleaching, which lightens and whitens some gems, including jade and pearls.
•Laser-drilling, which removes dark inclusions from diamonds, improving the clarity of the stone.

The Jewelry Guides state that sellers should tell consumers about gemstone treatments in certain circumstances. If the treatment is not permanent or if the treated stone requires special care, you should tell consumers that the stone has been treated and give them appropriate instructions to care for the gemstone. Even if a gemstone treatment is permanent and doesn't create special care requirements, the Guides require you to tell consumers about the treatment if it significantly affects the value of the gemstone.

How do you know whether a treatment has a "significant effect" on a stone's value? Consider whether the treatment makes the product less valuable than if it contained an untreated stone. Think about value from the consumer's perspective and ask yourself how your customer would react if he learns about the treatment after leaving the store, say, when taking the stone to an appraiser or selling the piece."



Redrummd

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Re: natural / color enhanced ???? your thoughts on this
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2016, 09:06:08 PM »

I did not want the above post to get too complex so here is even further information regarding disclosure of "treatments".  Most stone we use falls into this category:  ornamental stones (5.39).  Note all of the disclose requirements specifically do not apply to: ornamental stones (5.39).

ATGA - American Gem Trade Association
D.Merchandise must not be misrepresented as to its nature, authenticity, treatment and/or origin. Disclosure of treatment is mandatory on all commercial documents for each individual stone and/or lot at the point of consignment or sale, and must be in accordance with the Gemstone Enhancement Manual, as long as the requirements therein are not contrary to those of the Federal Trade Commission.
Quotes from handbook –
“To improve its color and durability, turquoise is commonly permeated with plastic, a stable enhancement.”
2012-12-30 CIBJO/Coloured Stone Commission
http://www.cibjo.org/download/13-03-19%20Official%20CIBJO%20Gemstone%20Book-2.pdf
NOTE - CIBJO recognizes that its standards are subject to government regulations in the respective jurisdiction of CIBJO members.

4.1.3 . Modified gemstones and organic substances
Precious stones (5.41), gemstones (5.25), ornamental stones (5.39) and organic substances (5.38) are often modified (5.33) by various processes, before and/or after cutting, to improve their colour or clarity.
There are two categories of modified gemstones and organic substances: Gemstones and organic substances requiring general information of their modifications (4.1.3.1), and: gemstones and organic substances requiring specific information (4.1.3.2) of their modifications
4.1.3.1 Gemstones and organic substances requiring general information on their modifications
Gemstones and organic substances requiring general information on their modifications include those listed in clauses 4.1.3.1.1 to 4.1.3.1.4 only.
4.1.3.1.1 . Substances present in fissures that do not add colour
Gemstones (5.25) and organic substances (5.38) modified by the presence within fissures (5.20) of agents such as oil, wax, resin, polymer or any substances, other than glass that do not add colour to the gemstone or organic substance, when viewed at 10 power magnification by a trained observer.
4.1.3.1.2 . Surface waxing
Gemstones (5.25) and organic substances (5.38) modified superficially with a colourless agent such as oil, wax, organic fluid or polymer.
4.1.3.1.3 . Heating.
Gemstones (5.25) and organic substances (5.38) permanently modified by heating
COLOURED STONE COMMISSION 2012-1
© CIBJO 2012. All rights reserved.
8
(5.27).
NOTE – A gemstone and organic substances may still be classified in this category when residues from the heating process are present within healed fissures. However, when healed fissures are polished flush with the surface of the stone, the residues should not be visible by having a different polished surface lustre to the host material, when viewed at 10 power magnification by a trained observer.
4.1.3.1.4 . Bleaching
Gemstones (5.25) and organic substances (5.38), other than pearls and cultured pearls, modified by bleaching (5.8).

Redrummd

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Re: natural / color enhanced ???? your thoughts on this
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2016, 09:15:58 PM »

Now with all that regulation speak noted, my personal belief is that for those operating as hobbyist using common Agates, Jaspers and other non semi-precious stones - You have no requirements to disclose anything that is permanent or that does not require special care so do not get too caught up in all of this and worry needlessly.

If you are a true business you still are not "required" to disclose anything that is permanent or that does not require special care but why not especially if like me, you believe it improves the end results?  

I have sold thousands of knives and hundreds of jewelry pieces and I have never had one issue for "treatment of the stone" and as I noted above I disclose the fact I use Hxtal to improve the polish on my artworks.....

finegemdesigns

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Re: natural / color enhanced ???? your thoughts on this
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2016, 07:49:10 AM »

It would appear that none of these rules apply to China since eBay is flooded with fake gemstones of many kinds.
eBay would need a bunch of full time people there just to delete all these fraudulent auctions on a weekly basis. And even if you do delete the accounts they just create new identities to continue the deceptions. How do you prosecute and stop these scammers when they are in foreign countries? It's a fucking epidemic.

Also rampant are the jewelry TV channels that carefully craft their scripts so that technically they are not breaking the law. You have to actually go to their websites and search the fine print to discover that most of the gems are treated or enhanced in some way. This of course hurts ALL OF US that do conduct our businesses in an honest manner since the frauds can sell at much lower prices for what the public perceives is the same gem.

Lastly the most insidious are the sellers who simply don't say anything about their gems. The LACK of disclosure is a way to avoid punishment because the seller isn't actually representing the gem as all natural. They let the buyers assume that.
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55fossil

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Re: natural / color enhanced ???? your thoughts on this
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2016, 09:57:18 AM »

Bob;   I agree totally, thanks for response.

Gemfeller;  Cute, but the guy is probably not selling his hair. Although all the men's hair dye adds on television show guys selling their new youth to get a hot younger babe. What do you think when said babe gets a look at the guys gray hair????  less valuable for sure.  Anyway, thanks for all the info provided. This is really just conversation and not finger pointing.

Redrummd;  Michael, I think it is great that you tell people about your HXTAL. That is great stuff. I am certain it adds value and beauty or we would not use it. It is a treatment of sorts but that is up to the consumer to decide if they care. I think you do the right thing by using it and stating so. Really improves the stone. Keep it up.

Finegemdesigns;   I am totally with you about the rules being flagrantly abused. But I really do not care what the rules are as cheaters will also cheat. This is just about how other amateurs and semi-professionals personally feel. I tend to take for more value in the people's thoughts here on the Forum's than what some government or trade organization says. Lack of disclosure is still one of the worst. But saying treated material is natural still bothers me.

    I love the responses because sometimes I hear things that make me realize I need to change my opinion. I love to make doublets and triplets and I consider this a treatment even though all the stones are natural as well as the basenite and quartz caps. But I could also take the grindings from Willow Creek jasper, add HXTAL and fill in the iron pits so that the stone looks like top gem. Comparing the value of a pitted cabochon to the filled stone, well it is huge. So declaring it like Michael does is absolutely necessary in my book.

More opinions and view points welcome.  thank you all
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rocks2dust

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Re: natural / color enhanced ???? your thoughts on this
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2016, 10:13:48 AM »

The full language from the Bureau of Consumer Protection is noted below.  It is significant to note that filling of a pit, vug, line or druzy is not even noted.  The actual language only specifically notes FRACTURE FILLING.   

"Gemstone Treatments

Gemstone treatments or enhancements refer to the way some gems are altered or treated to improve their appearance or durability. Some common treatments include:
•Heating, which can lighten, darken or change the color of some gems, or improve a gemstone's clarity.
•Irradiation, which can add more color to colored diamonds, some other gemstones and pearls.
•Impregnating some gems with colorless oils, wax or resins, which makes a variety of imperfections less visible and can improve a gemstones' clarity and appearance.
•Fracture filling, which involves injecting colorless plastic or glass in the gems to hide cracks or fractures and improve the gemstones' appearance and durability.
•Diffusion treatment, which adds color to the surface of colorless gems while the center of the stone remains colorless.
•Dyeing, which adds color and improves color uniformity in some gemstones and pearls.
•Bleaching, which lightens and whitens some gems, including jade and pearls.
•Laser-drilling, which removes dark inclusions from diamonds, improving the clarity of the stone.

It is hardly only fracture-filling that requires disclosure – impregnation to improve appearance is also explicitly covered by the FTC in the section quoted.

Fillers make a stone, at least to an untrained eye, look like a flawless (or less flawed) piece. It will never be as valuable as would be a flawless (or less flawed) untreated stone, and thus disclosure is required. Nor does it matter what filler you are using. Hxtal is a fine product, but it is not non-yellowing or permanent (no matter that it may take longer for degradation and yellowing to be noticeable than other products). Even using glass as a filler, a proven much more stable product than any resin/epoxy, is absolutely required to be disclosed.

Agates and jaspers are, and have been for thousands of years, considered to be and used as gemstones. Even if one continues to employ the obsolete and artificial "precious" and "semi-precious" marketing terms, agates and jaspers have always been entrenched under the "semi-precious" category ever since some jeweler first decided to use that artificial distinction to jack up the prices on his stock of diamond, emerald, ruby and sapphire wares in the 1850s.

Of course, it is correct that a hobbyist needn't be concerned about pieces made for one's self or friends. The requirement to disclose only kicks in when one sells and/or advertises. Disclose the treatment, and there's no problem – just the same as an antique dealer is required to disclose any repairs, a car dealer is required to disclose flood or accident damage, an electronics seller is required not to sell as "new" without disclosing an open box item's previous use for display or refurbishment/recall repair, etc. Filling open cracks to stabilize or filling to improve appearance can indeed make a flawed stone saleable - improving its value - but it is never going to be as valuable as a flawless or less-flawed stone of the same type and cut - again, that is why disclosure is required to make sure that the customer knows what he or she is purchasing.

But saying treated material is natural still bothers me.
Me too. Drawing the line matters, because not to just legitimizes misrepresentation. One only needs to look at some Asian counterfeiters who seem to rationalize that their faceted glass "citrines" are "natural" because originally "natural" silica-quartz sand was melted to produce the glass, that their "Owyhee jasper" is "natural" because "Owyhee" is meaningless to them and besides they are using dyed and impregnated and originally "natural" limestone from a quarry, etc. Like you said, the cheaters are always going to try to deceive and make out their wares to be something more or better than they are. Hey, some have lately even been setting up postal addresses that appear to be in the U.S. or Europe - making customers think that they are getting locally manufactured items. 'Tis a mess.

For those big players for whom ethics is low on the list (if ethical considerations appear on their lists at all) the FTC requirements also represent a basis for redressing deceptive practices. Even though it took customers suing, Jewelry TV had to cough up millions for their deceptive marketing of artificially color-treated "andesine" sold as "natural" (a few ebay sellers from outside the U.S. are still selling it, btw), Macy's had to make a significant settlement for the "natural" rubies they'd been selling that turned out to be glass-filled, and at least a couple similar cases of which I'm aware. Though other countries are more aggressive, the FTC and Customs dedicate most of their enforcement efforts to health hazards and security these days, and have no staff to do much more than that unless significant complaints have been lodged. The scam artists take advantage of that. And again, I'm not implying that there is anything wrong with treatment that is disclosed – I have bought treated gems, and to me, clear disclosure can even be a good indicator that a seller deals ethically.
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jerrysg

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Re: natural / color enhanced ???? your thoughts on this
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2016, 11:17:41 AM »

Michael,

Do you know how Hxtal compares with Opticon?  Are they essentially the same thing just with different brand names.  I have some Opticon (haven't used it yet but have some candidates) but was not aware of Hxtal until this discussion.

Jerry
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finegemdesigns

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Re: natural / color enhanced ???? your thoughts on this
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2016, 11:37:45 AM »

But saying treated material is natural still bothers me.

Natural is out of the ground and cut simple as that. There is no such thing as "natural" and "treated" in the same stone. If you see both of these words in the same sale then always DEFAULT to "treated" with the word "natural" now rendered meaningless. And now also any other similar items this same seller has should be treated with suspicion.
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