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Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/Emerald repair question


Dear Thomas, I have 2 emeralds that need repair.  One emerald has surface scratches.  The second emerald has surface cracks that do not run deep(i.e., the cracks appear to be minor line cracks that are only  on the surface of the emerald gemstone).  
  I am unclear if I need to get these repolished or if they need reoiling.
  Can you please tell me if scratches and/or surface cracks need oil treatment or repolishing of the surface?  
  Also, what about small pit marks on the surface?  I would think that for surface pit marks, I would need to have the emerald repolished because oiling would not cover the pits.  
  I very much need your assistance.

Dear Laura,

With emeralds, scratches and pits come from generally two reasons: 1. Damage to the gemstone after it was cut and polishes  2. Preexisting faults in the emerald crystal which have often times been hidden with oil impregnating the stone.

Over zealous cleaning can remove oils and reveal preexisting defects.  Cracks and scratches may or may not go deep into the gem, while appearing to be on the surface may actually be the edge of a deep internal fissure not quite opened into a break inside the gemstone.  You can take a small point of light like from a tiny flashlight and shine light through the emeralds. By looking at the opposite side of the gem, you can get a better look at what is inside and see in some cases if the surface scratch is actualy the edge of an internal flaw.  If internal, polishing will not remove it but oiling may disguise it. Pits generally come from internal flaws right at the surface, subsurface flaws where a slight blow or over active ultrasonic cleaning might cause a small piece to dislodge and leave a pit.  The pits may also be remnants of internal voids filled with gas or liquid which are exposed when the surface is cut to those area. Oiling generally in the cutting process is uses in native cutting to hide the defects.

Laura, without the stones in my hand to examine, I cannot recommend a course of action. The best approach is to take the stones to a jeweler where a qualified gemologist may take a look through a microscope and recommend what is best to do.

I wish I could say more but without actually holding and examining the emeralds, I honestly cannot make a call.

God Bless and Peace.  Thomas.  

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Have a question about jewelry repair or working with precious metal jewelry and gemstones? For many years up to December 31, 2010, I was a working professional bench jeweler, involved everyday with setting stones in mountings, designing and making jewelry, repairing and limited custom manufacture. If you work with jewelry as a hobby or as a profession, I might be able to help. I deal with the retail business, not mass production. Ask privately if you wish. See the box for that: It keeps your question between us. Please DO NOT ask MAKER'S MARKS, but metal quality marks are fine to ask. Please DO NOT ask diamond prices. See a gemologist for that.


I have extensive experience in design, service and making of jewelry. I deal mostly with precious metals and gemstones but work with many materials as needed and usable to create an artistic design. My experience also includes freelance photography and photographer of jewelry and similar items for a former employer and individuals. Design of custom items requires reading the desires of the client and being clear on what can be done within that framework...then fulfilling the transition of idea to reality. Effective communications is essential in a working designer/producer and customer relationship.

Education is English/Physics! Started in human resources, to advertising, to, what a road. I have had formal training in jewelry work and many shared experiences with top grade jewelers. We just never know were we will go or be. Follow your best, your dreams, with some discretion! Don't let the work tear up your body along the way as it has mine.

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