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                                               Astrological, Vedic Gemstones: Beyond Beliefs.
In the previous page, we have seen which clarity to look for in an effective Jyotish gem. We have also clarified a bit about color as well.
In this contest, we would like to spend a few words about Cutting.
Cutting, as per our opinion, is another very important characteristic in a Jyotish gemstone and I would not hesitate to list it a primary factor for effectiveness .
As a rule of thumb, a well cut gem has more life, vibration, character and beauty of a poorly cut gem.

A well-cut faceted gemstone reflects the light back evenly across its surface area when held face up. If the stone is too deep and narrow, areas will be dark. If it is too shallow and wide, parts of the stone will be washed out and lifeless (the so-called window...see the stone below, on the left). The best way to judge cut is to look at similar gemstones next to each other.
Like in everything else, there is an exception to the rule, and that is when we are in the presence of a gem quality gemstone (again, gem quality is the combination of excellent clarity, top color and relatively decent size). In this case, if the big size, top clarity and perfect color are all there, the cut can be not as perfect as it should be (and in many, real cases, some imperfections in the cutting are the norm.)
To summarize, a good cutting in a gem, can be compared to a good house, well built, perfect and accurate in all its details. It is a pleasure to live in a nice house!. On the other hand, if the house is not well builted, and many comforts are missing, we do not enjoy it.
See the samples below for a visual understanding.

A very poorly cut, green sapphire. Note the disturbing "window" in the middle of the gem. No sparkle is produced by this cutting.

A good, acceptable cutting, with moderate window. However, being a rare Thai ruby, the window is well forgiven by the exceptional, flawless clarity of this gem.

Excellent cutting, with no window. The light is reflected perfectly throughout the stone. Super lustrous gem, with vibrant presence and character.

                                               
Now let's talk about Treatments: Because, we aspire perfection...
Gemstones have been treated since the beginning of their trade. The Roman historian Pliny mention in its "Historia Naturalis", how to "transform one stone into another". Even Egyptians had written detailed methods of treating gems. Of course, the purpose of treatments is to improve a stone's appearance.
In Vedic gemology, a natural gem to be used in a good fortune, lucky talisman, is preferred to be untreated. First question is: Are untreated gems readily available in today's market place?
Nowadays, gem treatments are done routinely and are an intrinsic part of the trade. It is estimated that a good 90% of all gem material mined is treated some way or another. Natural gem varieties are subjected to heat treatment, irradiation, color diffusion, coating dyeing, oiling, polymers intrusion to name the most common...and for sure I am leaving few others out.
In regards of the nine, astrological Jyotish gemstones, the possible treatments we will face are heat treatment for rubies, all color sapphires, green and red tourmalines, topazes. Dyeing and coating for pearls and red corals, oiling or polymers for emeralds, irradiation for diamonds. Hessonites, rhodolites, and all other garnets along with cat's eye chrysoberyls, spinels, damburites, kyanites are never treated.

For Jyotish purposes, let's examine in more details the possible treatments done to the 9 gems used in Vedic astrology.
Sapphires: ...It is estimated that 96% of total, worldwide production of sapphires are heated to improve on color and clarity. A small 4% is available unheated. Scientific knowledge of unheated crystal characteristics is a must to differentiate in between heated and not heated sapphires.
Sometimes, though, sapphires (white sapphires are the best example) are heated at low temperatures (around 500  to 700 C), opposed to high temperature treatment, which is just below the sapphire melting point. Low heat treatment is done to remove excessive rutile (the so called "silk") from the stone inside. This low heat treatment is sometimes very difficult to detect as the crystal DOES NOT undergo major changes. As major gem labs, or even very experted gemologists and dealers cannot detect low heat treatment, is then the stone truly unheated or it is considered heat treated?
The only person that knows exactly how much a stone has been heated or not at all is the miner. Example, miners in Sri Lanka are experts in determining the quality and characteristics of a rough specimen usually, after being brought up from the mine's depth, and washed.  Only the miner will know if a stone has to be heated or not, but then again, is low heat treatment considered bad for the astrological effect or not...Understandably, we have a dilemma here.

 

To be continued....
 

......... Use your instinct. do not analyze with your mind, do not get fooled by the seller that tries to convince you....follow your heart, feel the honesty and intentions. Ultimately, let the stone talk to you, not the person. 

 

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