Identifying Dyed Stones | Dakota Blog 12.6.2021
Color-enhanced stones can be a tricky topic - some people are vehement stone purists and willing to pay a premium for colorful stones that haven't been treated in any way to enhance color. Others don't mind as long as the stone looks good and helps execute their design vision.
Identifying Dyed Stones
Most in the industry willingly disclose if stones have been dyed- if you're in doubt, you can always ask the vendor, if you trust that the vendor knows their product and that they're 100% aware of how it was produced. In the event that you're not confident in the vendor's knowledge or honesty, here are some things to look for to see if a stone has been dyed.
The look of a stone’s surface can tell you a lot. A dyed stone will have more intense color in areas where the dye more easily accumulates, like fractures and low-relief or pitted areas than it does on the smoother planes.
Because dye cannot easily penetrate the entire stone, there may also be areas where scrapes or chips reveal a different color beneath the surface.
Is there Risk in Buying Dyed Beads?
The answer to this is closely related to how the stone was produced. If the beads were produced using best practices, you'd literally need to use undiluted Acetone or bleach to get the color to budge. Properly dyed beads are not going to lose their color through normal wear and tear, some exposure to water, or rubbing against clothing or skin.
That being said, there's a big degree of trust, especially at lower price points, when purchasing dyed stones. It's less expensive to produce dyed beads by cutting corners in the dyeing process, so there is dyed stone on the market that's not color-fast, and basic wear or exposure to moisture will cause the beads to lose color or transfer the color to another surface.
This is where knowing your vendor and trusting their sourcing and production is incredibly important. Many vendors are simply re-selling beads they haven't overseen, produced, or closely inspected. Shopping based solely on price point might be tempting as a store or designer, but can come back in a bad way if your customers experience loss of color or damaged clothing.