Pakistan needs to boost trade in treated gemstones: WealthPK

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ISLAMABAD: Promotion of trade in treated gemstones offers great economic benefits to Pakistan as the country is blessed with abundant deposits of both precious and semi-precious stones.
“As some gemstones have a few natural flaws, they need to be treated to enhance their quality. More than 80% of gemstones traded in the market are treated in one way or another,” said Shakirullah Orakzai, who is in charge of gemmology laboratory at National Centre of Excellence in Geology, University of Peshawar.
Talking about the industrial value of treated gemstones, he told WealthPK during an interview that enhancement in appearance colour or clarity added value to real gemstones with natural flaws like cracks, porous filling, and less fluorescence. “The treatment process consists of multiple processing techniques like irradiation, heat, dyeing, oiling, quench crackling, impregnation, and metal foiling.”
He said the demand for gemstones had captured a big market share, and stressed that it was important for Pakistan to focus on the sector. “It will not only help enhance the gems and jewellery industry in Pakistan but also open new business opportunities,” he added.
Shakirullah Orakzai said traditionally, naturally-found gemstones were transformed into many shapes and outlines. “Beyond the outmoded cutting and polishing, gems are often treated to enhance their quality. Treatments have multiple impacts – permanent, long-lasting or short-lived. It can be said that treated gemstones need special care to handle for a long-lasting life.”
“The type of treatment – synthetics or imitations – should be clearly declared when gemstones are traded. Countries around the world do formulate outlines when they sell treated gemstones to consumers in order to ensure their careful handling.”
The researcher at University of Peshawar said that treated gemstones were cheaper than the untreated or pure ones. “They are available in a variety of sizes and colours in the market. They are mostly used in the fashion industry.”
Shakirullah Orakzai said Pakistan’s mining sector had vast potential, especially in the gems and jewellery segment. Attention to lapidary, synthetic gem making and gem treatment can bring huge economic benefits to Pakistan. “Through development of the sector, Pakistan can earn a lot of foreign exchange provided proper orientation workshops are held for start-ups, entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises.”