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Would someone treat w/ Opticon Aquamarine Crystals and heliodor?

Posted by mandala rain  
mandala rain January 27, 2012 02:45AM
My husband and I have been collecting crystals and whatnot for many years. We decided to sell some of our collection online. Someone bought a Heliodor, an Aquamarine, and some little Tourmalines.

The Aquamarines, I bought from someone I consider to be reputable. These are really nice crystals. This woman is claiming that the Aquamarines have been treated with either Opticon or Palma Oil or something similar and is demanding a refund. These are naturally formed crystals. Here are just a few examples of the crystals the first two being the one she bought. All photos taken in natural day light

Why would anyone put natural aquamarines in Opticon? She says she is allergic and that she had some reaction to them and can smell them from the next room and all this. Are people just tossing all their crystals in Opticon now? I got these from a friend who lives on the Pakistan / Afghanistan border.

She says the Golden Beryl was treated with this stuff too and she can smell it (we bought this 5 years ago from another contact)

I already told her she can return everything for a refund but i do want to know - are crystals just being tossed in opticon as a matter of course now like this person is claiming?
mandalarain January 27, 2012 03:41AM
more pictures from the same lot just cuz

Owen Lewis (2) March 23, 2012 01:53AM
Hi there,

You have some lovely specimens!The use of Opticon to fill flaws in Beryl (esp. Emerald) began some 15 years ago and started a very unholy row. Emerald has been routinely treated with oils (traditionally, Cedarwood Oil) to enhance appearance since time immemorial. Now Opticon (and Palma) are modern resins that make a better (more permanent) job of fissure filling than the oils do. But, being new and - perish the thought! - man-made, some see this resin treatment as the work of the devil whilst not turning a hair over the quite routine and time-hallowed treatment of the same stones by oiling.

None of this has anything to say about whether *your* crystals have been subjected to fissure filling or not. But, regardless, you did quite the right thing in giving this unhappy woman her money back. An unhappy customer is something no one wants.

So what now? First, no one can tell you from your pictures whether or not your stones have been filled. But you can find out! Here's a link to the site of one of the acknowledged experts on gemstones, which gives you a quick guide to the materials used for fissure filling in Beryl. It also tells you how the fillings can be removed. See

If that is not to your fancy but you are still curious to know, then your friends are a stereoscopic microscope, strong fibreoptic lighting and examining your stones critically and patiently under the microscope with manipulation of both the stone and lighting angles - and between crossed polarising filters too. Whilst the fillers are a good enough optical match to much reduce or even entirely disappear flaws in the stone from from casual viewing, the optical match is not perfect. There are differences of colour and the fillers are amorphous. Beryl is anisotropic and therefore handles light differently (which is where the crossed polars and stone manipulation come in. The differences are fairly subtle but are quite detectable under the microscope.

Examination under LW/SW UV light may also show up any filler material and even point to its type. Then, for those so equipped, there is spectrometry and, especially, Raman microscopy. This last can often identify the filler composition used.

Looking at your pictures, I'd *guess* that at least some might have been treated but they'd need to be tested properly to be sure of anything. And that remark applies for your lady customer too ;-)

If you really want to get into this topic, try and buy/borrow a copy of 'Identification of Gemstones' by Michael O'Donoghue and Louise Joyner. If nothing else, it clearly states the limits of testing in the discovery of various forms of treatment.
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