What to Do With Faded Gemstones, Cracked and Damaged Gemstones

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

As a busy gem fixing jeweler I’ve had the opportunity to work on some fun projects, that led to great before and after pictures. I’ve used these pictures again and again to inspire changes for the better for my clients. Now I want to inspire you. Change, fix or re-polish your gems!

Faded Gemstones Video

I got so excited I did a video on faded gemstones, cracked gemstones and garbage disposaled gemstones.

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.

Replace Old and Faded Gemstones

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

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. “I love the sweepy design. It totally reminds me of her.”

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.”

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.

Replacing old, scratched, and faded gemstones is easier than you think and can make a huge difference in your jewelry.

Scratched or Dirty Looking Gemstones

tsavorite with scratching damage

This Tsavorite was Scratched Beyond the Possibility of Looking Good

My client Carol thought her green gem was just dirty. When I looked under magnification I saw it wasn’t dirt dulling that beautiful gem, it was scratches that robbed it of its beauty. Once we refaceted her Tsavorite, and polished up her ring, it looked incredible again. 

Tsavorite gemstone ring in yellow gold

After Re-Faceting, This Tsavorite Gem Looked Amazing

 A gemstone with sharp facets can turn an old and dull ring into a new, bright and fun ring that you’d be proud to wear.

Stacy’s Beloved Rings From Her Gran

Thanks to a mutual friend Stacy knew to call me about her not so shiny gem-y rings. They had been loved and worn by first her gran, then by her. It was time for sure for some re-faceting.

Doing this kind of work is a treat. I love how awesome these rings look on Stacy. She’s never gotten to wear them all perfect and shiny before. Yay, beautiful gems.

Just because I can’t get over how awesome it was to see these refurbished rings on Stacy I had to show them on her hands.

Marra’s Over-loved Cabochon Cut Amethyst Ring

This Daily Ring Cabochon Cut Amethyst Took a Beating

Marra loved this ring. Her only problem she told me was that she couldn’t clean it up to the way it used to look. “There’s like a film or something dulling it.” She explained to me. When I inspected her gemstone, I had to tell her, that’s not a film, it’s a network of scratches. I’d need to re-polish it.

Caboshon cut amethyst close up on gem in ring

After Polishing This Amethyst Glows

The next time you think your gemstone is dirty, look under magnification. It may need to be polished or re-faceted.

Some Gems Scratch up More Easily Than Others

Tsavorite gemstone, scratched and after polishing

Tsavorite Before and After Re-polishing

Tsavorite is a funny gemstone. It is strong. You can bang it around and it won’t easily crack. However it will scratch fairly easily. Here’s a man’s ring with a great example of the scratched tsavorite before and after re-polishing. It comes back full of life and fire.

Tansy’s Scratched Tanzanite

Badly Scratched Tanzanite

When Tansy wore her ring daily she had no idea that she could badly scratch her beloved Tanzanite. She had not been told when she bought it that tanzanite wasn’t a great everyday gemstone. It’s a bit delicate and Tansy’s life was anything but.

Tanzanite ring after polishing

Tanzanite Ring Re-polished

Tansy got the tanzanite ring because it is as she calls it, “my tansy ring.” I encouraged her not to wear it daily. But she probably will. And that’s cool. Now we know how to keep it looking amazing.

Deborah’s Chipped Sapphire

chipped oval sapphire

Chipped and Discolored Sapphire

It was time for a re-design, but when we removed her sapphire from its bezel setting we found what that bezel was hiding. Hmmm. 

Wedding ring with bezel sapphire and five rows of diamonds

Deborah’s New Wedding Ring

We’d been planning her redesign to include a prong setting for her sapphire. However, re-cutting her sapphire would have sacrificed size. We decided to just buff the top facets and let the side chips alone. We went back to the bezel setting. And it worked out great!

Go Through Your Jewelry Box

Before and after of damaged ruby and diamond vintage ring restored

Replacing a Too Battered Gemstone is Sometimes the Right Choice

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. Or if one of your gems looks tired or just done.

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

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About Calla Gold

Calla Gold is a Personal Jeweler and Author who takes pride in working with clients one-on-one to integrate their personal sense of style and taste into custom designed jewelry and repaired jewelry pieces.   Unlike typical Santa Barbara jewelry businesses, Calla Gold has no brick-and-mortar location. Calla Gold comes to you, bringing you the jewelry collection you want to see and collaborating with you to create unique custom jewelry. Calla also works with at-a-distance clients.

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Dr. Valerie GIrard
11 years ago

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

11 years ago

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!

11 years ago

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!!


10 years ago

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


10 years ago


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?

9 years ago

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.



Gayle Greene
Gayle Greene
9 years ago

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… Read more »

Sudeshna Paul
Sudeshna Paul
9 years ago

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?

9 years ago

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,

9 years ago


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.