This is one of the oldest treatments applied to gemstones.
A dyed gemstone is one that has an artificial stain added to improve its colour. For example, using a technique that was invented some 2-3000 thousand years ago, Black Onyx obtains its jet black colour by dyeing an Agate. Also, some Pearls are dyed to provide jewellery designers with greater flexibility.
Gemstones that have fractures or a porous surface can be dyed. While it is widely accepted that Black Onyx is dyed, as Pearls can naturally be found in several different colours, retailers should disclose if their Pearls are dyed. The terms ‘dyeing‘ and ‘staining’ are often used interchangeably.
In order to increase the intensity of their colour, Lapis Lazuli is sometimes dyed. Take a look in the second volume at Quench Crackled Quartz, where dyes are used to create a very unusual effect.
For those who make their own jewellery, dyed gemstones are a part of everyday life. Many Agates are dyed in a myriad of wonderfully bright and vivid colours; fuchsia pinks, shocking blues and vibrant purples offer the jewellery maker a genuine alternative to manmade crystals. Although all dyes are said to be colour fast, I still always recommend washing them before they are first worn.