Podcasters meetup tomorrow night near Mission College
Probably catch up on DVDs Friday night. If the weather holds, I think I will take my sapphire collection somewhere sunny and set up a table, tripod and camera to shoot each one in the collection.
That's the next step in listing a batch of them on eBay. Gonna sell most of the diffusion stones
I have two kinds of stones. Some are completely natural, and some have been put through the diffusion process. While they are still natural stones (as in they were pulled up out of the ground, as opposed to being made in a lab), jewelers rate them as only worth about 1/10th of the value of untreated stones.
The diffusion process works like this:
- Put the sapphire in a crucible packed with titanium oxide and maybe other metal oxide crystals.
- Heat to almost melting
- Lather, rinse, repeat
- Deepen the color
- and maybe even change the color
- Increase the brightness and sharpness of the star
- Smooth out inclusions and faults within the stone
My first trip to Thailand in 1975-77 was before the diffusion process was popular, mostly because it had to be done to one stone at a time. My second trip in 1989 the process was popular in Bangkok, but not in Chanthaburi, at the gem exchange where I was buying them. In 2005, every little Chanthaburi gem shop had its own Hello Kitty Bulk Diffusion Kit.
I did not know about this process until after I returned, and the little bubbles prompted me to ask a gemologist if I had been sold glass beads with stars. She gave me the scoop on diffusion, was kind enough to check a couple of my sapphires. She declared them natural, diffusion processed stones. And worth maybe twice the $2 each I'd paid for them. As opposed to the same-sized totally natural stones in my collection, which are worth about $20-$75 each.
diffusion stones are prettier, and to a non-collector who just wants a stunning star sapphire, they are worth more (a see on eBay sales) So I'll sell them at a starting price of maybe $5, and see what happens.