Faded glory: Gemstone simulants and enhancements

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Whalley, Joanna;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 57, Number S1, p.313-321 (2012)


A survey of gem materials began at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2003. Key information includes not only the identity of the gem and the style of cut, where possible, but also the presence of any additional materials used for the enhancement, or in the simulation, of gems. The occurrence of enhancements and simulants was unexpectedly high and the materials used relatively unstable. This paper introduces the most commonly encountered historical techniques in order to aid the conservator in their identification, and thus inform decisions regarding the suitable treatment, storage and display methods for gem-set objects.