Nov 12

What to Do With Faded Gemstones, Cracked and Damaged Gemstones

By Calla Gold

Marilyn Monroe in pink

“I Can’t Wear That Gem!”

Is This You?

Have you got a lackluster or faded gemstone? Chipped or cracked gemstone? Sad looking gemstone? That’s not right. And you’re probable avoiding wearing it because it doesn’t look like it should!

As a busy gem fixing jeweler I’ve had some great before and after pictures I’ve wanted to share to inspire you. Change, fix or re-polish your gems! I got so excited I did a video on faded gemstones, cracked gemstones and garbage disposaled gemstones.

Faded Gemstones Video

Gems That  Fade

Over time, some gemstones lose their vividness of color. Quartz family gems are especially vulnerable to this problem.

Rose quartz exposed to sunlight can lose its pinkness fairly quickly. Morganite and Kunzite are often referred to as “evening gems” as their colors are delicate and sparkly and look good at night. Worn in daylight, however, they can slowly fade. Amethyst can also lose its color but is more stable than rose quartz. More on this.

Alison’s Old Amethyst with it’s Faded Color and Her New One!

Alison’s Story

One day, a client of mine, showed me a nice, inherited amethyst ring from her grandma. “I remember her wearing it all the time, partly because she had large hands like me,” Alison told me that afternoon. “But even after having it sized, I’m still not wearing it.”

I pointed out that the color of the gem was a bit drab and that it had probably faded over the years. “But I could never replace it,” Alison said. “It was just how she wore it!”

I explained more about how amethysts can lose their color over the years. “You know,” I said. “I could put in a bright, new amethyst that would probably look just like your grandma’s when she first chose the ring.”

“Well…when you put it like that…” Alison said. “Let’s do it. I really do want to wear this ring.”

tsavorite with scratching damage

This Tsavorite was Scratched Beyond the Possibility of Looking Good

She was over the moon when I presented her with her grandma’s ring with a big, new, brilliant amethyst in the center. The difference was spectacular. “This baby’s not living in the bottom of my jewelry box anymore!” she exclaimed.

Replace Old and Faded Gemstones

Replacing old, scratched, and faded gemstones is easier than you think and can make a huge difference in your jewelry. A new gemstone can turn an old and dull ring to something new and bright and that you’d be proud to wear.

Tsavorite gemstone ring in yellow gold

After Re-Faceting, This Tsavorite Gem Looked Amazing

Go Through Your Jewelry Box

Go through your jewelry box and see if there are any rings or pendants whose color isn’t making you want to grab it and put it on.

Now visualize this piece of jewelry with a vibrant new gemstone in it. Ok? Now call your favorite jeweler! It’s time for a little jewelry rescue!

Gem Fixer, Calla Gold

35 thoughts on “What to Do With Faded Gemstones, Cracked and Damaged Gemstones

  1. I love that jewelry and gems can be refurbished. I often look at older jewelry that has the right style yet needs a facelift.
    Calla it’s good to know you are a Santa Barbara jeweler and able to give old jewelry another chance. I love the idea of jewelry facelifts;it’s glamorous, blingy and just good jewelry recycling.
    Calla, I’ll adjust your back and you can adjust my old jewelry!
    Dr. Girard
    Santa Barbara Chiropractor

    • Hi Dr. Girard,
      I think I may be due for an adjustment! How fun, I’ll feel good and your jewelry will look good. And of course so will you because you’ll be wearing it in all of it’s blingy re-done up-to-date-ness!
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  2. Your video is very professional, while capturing your personality! One tiny suggestion – show the jewelry before and afters a little longer each, then maybe side by side briefly. Really well done videos Calla!

    • Kymberly,
      Thank you for your feedback on my gem video. I’ll try for a longer glimpse on my next batch of before and afters. I like your side by side of before and afters idea. I hadn’t thought of that.
      Calla Gold

  3. Hi Calla,
    I work with Jonathan at Jonathan’s Jewelry and I love your site and your work! I only wish I had some jewelry left for you to redesign for me!! Keep up the good work with your blog, I am enjoying it!!

    Lee

    • Lee,
      Goodie another person for me to know and love at Jonathan’s. I’m so happy you popped by my blog about redesigning jewelry, especially with funky, not working gemstones! Come again.
      Re-Designing Jeweler,
      Calla Gold

  4. Hi have a Amethyst ring needs servicing its not in bad shape at all from 10 being best I would rate it a 9 the problem is the face of the stone has a slight smudge or ver small abrasion when looked at a certain angle cant get rid of no matter how much I clean it or polish it..would like advice or your price for repairs
    thank you looking forward to your reply

    silver3759@msn.com

    • Hi Henry,
      Thank you for your excellent inquiry. It sounds like your perfectly good amethyst needs to be re polished. I do that if you want to ship it to me. The re polishing fee may be an average of $70.00. That’s me guessing at the size and faceting of your amethyst. There would be a labor cost to unset and reset your amethyst, based on the setting style and time taken to do that labor. It could be $25.00 to 40.00 average.
      I hope this is helpful information
      You may also have someone in your town who could help you with that. Henry, once your gem has abrasions on the facet junctions no amount of cleaning or polishing on your part will improve it’s look. It’s time for the professional jewelers to step in and help out.
      Your Personal Gem Polishing Jeweler,
      Calla Gold

  5. Hi,

    I wore a cats eye about 2 months back. few days back i saw that it has developed a small crack. please tell me what should i do with it?

    • Hello Priyanka,
      Thank you for writing. Your Cat’s Eye Chrysoberyl (Wikipedia – definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysoberyl) is about 8.5 on the Mohs Scale of gem hardness. Diamond is a 10. So it is a fairly hardy gemstone. A crack is a tough thing to deal with in a gemstone. A chip can be polished out. Not seeing a visual of the gem I don’t know how bad the crack is.
      The good news is that cat’s eye chrysoberyl has a lot of detail going on. If it is a little crack and not noticable to anyone but you it might do to keep wearing it and enjoying it knowing that one day it’ll crack completely.
      Once it cracks completely it might be able to be glued back together.
      The jewelry specialist who should look at your cat’s eye is a “lapidary” or gem cutter. This lapidary could tell you whether polishing would help it and how bad the crack is and what you ought to do.
      Good luck with your cat’s eye.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  6. Hi Calla,

    I live in Los Angeles on the west side. I have a kunzite that has faded and I want to know if it can be dyed, and if you know of anyone who can do it. I also have a pink rhodolite garnet that has just gotten dull and seems as if it may have faded. I’m hoping the stones can be restored.

    Thanks,

    Jean

    • Hi Jean,
      That is a good question. I’ve been replacing gemstones, re-cutting and re-faceting gemstones, but I have not asked if there is a laboratory technique to infuse color back in. There probably is not.
      Your pink rhodalite garnet may need to be cleaned and re-polished. Garnets are not known for fading.
      Thank you for visiting and asking. I’ll let you know if my inquiries yield a solution to your fading kunzite. For the record kunzites are known to fade and I’ve seen nearly clear kunzites that started their life with more pink and lavender.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

      • Hi Jean,
        I have asked around and there is not treatment to put the color back into a faded kunzite. I asked quite a number of people and labs. No such technique seems to be out there.
        Your Personal Jeweler,
        Calla

  7. I have a beautiful sterling silver and peridot ring that I wear on my pinky every, day but I recently severely damaged the stone when I was working with some fine grit sandpaper.
    The ring has become too big as I lost weight. It had turned over upside down on my finger. Once I noticed it was upside down it was too late. I then noticed the terrible damage to the stone.The ring gets beat up anyway because I work with my hands a lot, I crochet with steel hooks or aluminum hooks and crafts.
    How much would it cost to repair my damaged peridot gemstone ring? Please help. My daddy gave me this ring and it means a lot to me especially since he passed away.

    • Hi Gayle,
      I’m sorry you lost your dad. That’s great that you still have the ring he gave you.
      Would you like to send me pictures of the ring from a few angles so I can see the extent of the damage to your peridot?
      It sounds like when your gemstone is re-faceted your ring should be sized smaller so it’ll stay up on your hand when you are crafting.
      My email is calla@callagold.com.
      I’d love to help you if I can.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  8. Hi Calla,
    I am wearing a ruby for the last two years. I find its surface appearing very rough nowadays. Should I continue wearing that stone? Will it have any bad effect on me? Why did the surface get rough? How did it get damaged?

    • Hello Sudeshna,
      Ruby’s surface is not as strong as diamond and with daily wear it will develop little chips and scratches. Your ruby may need to be buffed or re-faceted. That should make it look shiny and new.
      Just as you wax and do needed body work on your car over the years, your ruby will need maintenance over the years. It is worth it to do this and you deserve your ruby to look its best.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  9. Hi Calla,

    My boyfriend recently (1 month ago) bought me a gorgeous 6 carat smokey quartz ring. I was cleaning it recently with a soft cloth and noticed that it now has several hairline scratches on the surface. Is this something I can buff out myself or should a jeweler do this?

    Thank you so much,
    Amy

    • Hi Amy,
      In a perfect world our gemstones stay clean, pristine and scratch free. Alas, this is not how it goes. You’ve done nothing wrong and the gemstone is as hard as advertised. Scratches happen, with the slings and arrows of life and living, they just appear.
      Your polishing cloth will not hide them. Your jeweler will no doubt be able to have it re-buffed for you.
      Enjoy your smokey quartz. And the good news is no one will be able to see the little tiny scratches.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  10. Calla,

    I also wanted to mention that I was surprised at how quickly the quartz got scratched considering its hardness! Any help or advice is much appreciated.

    Best,
    Amy

    • Hi Amy,
      Wear it, love it and like the paint on your car, know that stuff happens, but mostly to the world it looks great.
      Calla

  11. I have a Sterling David Yurman green amethyst ring that I wear daily. I drop it sometimes and it causes the stone to become loose, so I just have it tightened. Yesterday I dropped it on a tile floor after washing dishes and I just noticed the stone is chipped right where the prong is. Can this be fixed or will I need a new stone?

    • Hi April,
      A good lapidary worker who cuts and polishes gemstones may be able to fix it. You will need your jeweler to unset and reset the green amethyst for the work to be done. Get a bid on a replacement stone and compare the two.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  12. You’re just trying to get customers through the door to replace their faded stones and you shall make sure they will be MUCH over charged and get one of your dubious quality stones.
    You have no clue what you’re talking about as to how a lot of gems get their colour. You can’t think of any colouring process to answer the guy above…there are 4! Obviously not accessible to the common shmuck therefore not surprised you don’t know them.
    Bottom line is you’re a sour cow trying to rip off people. You should be ashamed.

    • Dear God,
      I’m really just answering this comment so I could have the experience of writing, “dear god.”
      This comment kind of amazes me, there seems to be a lot of personal attacking, when you do not know me and “facts” that are not in fact true.
      You refer to the fact that there are four ways to restore color to a kunzite, per Jean the commenters question. When I asked a number of gem experts on her behalf I was told that there was not a process that they were aware of.
      Perhaps you’d like to name the four processes to restore color to a kunzite gemstone. I am always happy to learn information that can help my clients.
      I wrote this blog inspired by the happiness of a number of clients that I helped by, 1) replacing a faded amethyst with a deep purple one, 2) re-cutting a chipped diamond that hadn’t been worn in years and 3) replacing a too pale sapphire that actually hadn’t faded, but was never the color she wanted.
      There are many reasons why a gemstone may not be working for you. Fading, chipping and general damage are some of the reasons. But sometime the color doesn’t please you and you just want a change. I thought I’d share this information because it made such a difference to my clients.
      Loving colored gemstones,
      Calla Gold

  13. Hi Calla,
    I recently bought a ring with a faceted ocean kyanite gemstone in it. Unfortunately I have managed to scratch the middle surface of it. The scratches are very thin and only on the surface. Is there something I can do to remove the scratches myself or do I need to take it to a jeweller? Thank you for taking the time to help people to improve their jewellery.
    Thanks, Brooke

    • Dear Brooke,
      Kyanite is a relatively soft gemstone. So don’t feel bad about scratching it, it’s much easier to scratch softer gemstones. This isn’t something you can personally address. When you select a jeweler, find one who either does lapidary work or works with a lapidary. This is a gem polisher and cutter.
      I personally work with a lapidary who assists me with these types of problems. I mention this because not all jewelers can automatically help with this type of problem.
      Irritatingly enough one of my clients was told, “you shouldn’t have worn that stone in a ring, whoever sold it to you is a crook.” She felt ripped off and clumsy. I had her soft gem re-polished and told her to enjoy its beauty and not worry if she scratched it because we could just re-polish it. Just because a gemstone is soft or fragile like opal, that doesn’t mean you can’t wear it in a ring. It means you need to be careful when you wear it and it’s not the end of the world if you ding it.
      Did you enjoy wearing it? Then it’s worth wearing.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  14. I have a 2.52 carat pear hot pink tanzanian spinel that seems to have a scratch and crack on one side of the pavililion near the point. Can a pear be recut? If so, would there be significant weight loss?

    • Hello Robyn,
      Whenever I have a diamond or gemstone facet-buffed or re-cut I sit down with my gem-cutter. We look at it under magnification. Each gemstone is different, each chip, scratch and ding has a position, a depth and character on the gemstone that affects the choices made by the cutter. This is one of those times that looking at pictures will not inform me enough to answer a question.
      Your spinel sounds gorgeous. It is possible that the pavilion facets can be re-cut and make your gem shallower underneath without affecting the top shape. You’ll definitely want an expert to look at it and suggest the best course of action to get your spinel ready for center stage again.
      Congratulations on your spinel recently getting upgraded to a birthstone status by the gemstone powers that be.
      I’ll be blogging about this in a week or so. It is to be one of three birthstone choices for August, a month sorely in need of alternate gemstones. As not everyone can successfully pull off peridot for their birthstone. And I’ve never been asked for sardonyx, the other choice.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  15. Hello Calla,
    I read this page to find out about fading in tanzanite. I bought two rings several years ago. One ring really never fit properly and the second one was worn on and off for about a year before my size changed and it no longer fit. Bottom line, both rings have been stored in my jewelry drawer for ten years or longer. I recently took them out and was horrified to see the stones are practically transparent. My questions are, first, what did I do wrong? Secondly, is there anything that can be done about it? I do appreciate your wise advice!

    • Hello Mary,
      It is unusual for gemstones in a darkened storage to loose color. Usually exposure to sunlight is what causes this problem. I’m going out on a limb here, but I suspect that both gemstones are not genuine.
      Perhaps an appraiser with a refractometer can shed light on what the gemstone material is. A refratometer tells the appraiser the gem family of a gemstone scientifically. Once that is established the mystery can be more fully investigated, because you my friend do have a gemstone mystery on your hands.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  16. I agree that it sometimes just takes the right person to care for the gemstone to have the jewelry item looking like new again. My sister gets her wedding ring polished often because due to her wearing it all the time, the diamond isn’t as shiny as it originally was. I will be sharing this piece on gemstones with my sister.

    • Hi DeeDee,
      Thank you for sharing this with your sister! That is great that she gets it polished and cared for regularly. She won’t be losing diamonds having them seen to regularly.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  17. I recently done a ring of blue sapphire .now there is hairy crack in sapphire, what should I do,

    • Hello Ashwini,
      That happened to me once. I guess that torch got too close to the sapphire and a tiny crack appeared. I replaced the gemstone with a new sapphire and re-cut the old one smaller. Unfortunately you can’t un-crack a sapphire.
      Best of luck to you.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

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