Plated Gemstones: Beauty Enhanced
Gemstones are striking on their own, oftentimes their color and shine are generally perfect just the way they are. Depending on the stone, people are shocked at how bold and saturated colors can be even right out of the ground. There is, however, a process called plasma sputtering that can enhance a stone’s beauty and specific features even more!
Plasma sputtering is the technical term for plating, or coating, a stone’s surface to create shine and sparkle. This process is most commonly used on faceted stones to bring out the shine in each facet. It involves generating 2000º hot plasma and metal gets broken down into its atomic compound and is dispersed onto the stone. Plating can either create another color on top of the stone’s natural color, or it is colorless. Color plating involves using thin layers of various materials to produce different colors on top of the stone.
• Gold produces light blue tones (Aqua Aura)
• Gold mixed with Platinum produces silver-purple tones (Angel Aura)
• Indium produces dark blue tones (Tanzan Aura Quartz)
• Bismuth produces yellow tones
• Lead produces green tones
• Chromium produces red tones
• Titanium Dioxide produces a rainbow shimmer (Rainbow Quartz)
• Titanium produces a variety of red tones (Mystic Fire Topaz)
• Iron mixed with Titanium produces golden yellow tones (Imperial Gold Topaz)
Plating wearing off is a very common occurrence because of how delicate and thin it is. To keep the stone’s new color variation, there are a few ways to do this. Sometimes, a cut stone is only plated on the bottom so the color can shine through the entire stone while still being protected by a jewelry setting. The second method is used most commonly on faceted stones. The stone is protected and coated with a thin layer of synthetic diamond so it becomes much more durable and resistant.
Since the 1970s, plating has been a process that has been advanced and improved. Quartz and Topaz were the only stones being plated back then due to the little information known about the process. Now, a variety of stones can be plated! Sapphire, Opal, Spinel, Tanzanite, Apatite, and Emeralds are some of the most common stones to be used for plating.
Stones are not the only objects that can be plated, some things you might not even think about. Touch screens and sunglasses are just a few!