What is the Unheated | Untreated approach at Lei è?
A sentiment that you will hear repeated throughout the ranks at Lei è, is this idea of natural, untreated gemstones.
We've always believed it to be a misguided attraction within the jewellery industry of the need to heat gemstones to a desired colour, or treat them to a desired look. We feel that a gemstones intrinsic beauty lies within it's natural flaws and appearance, void of any alteration or treatment.
So let's start with 'Why' you heat a stone. Once we begun on the journey of hunting down unheated and untreated stones, we were consistently hit with the same justifications of stone heating & treatment - common expression among gem suppliers, 'it enhances & improves colour and clarity'. After seeing the natural stones in their raw state, we felt there was nothing being enhanced or improved upon in the slightest. To us, it was a piece that was now shuffled into line with the rest of the market, made uniform, unique and dull. Not dull in colour, but dull in value and appeal.
Take Tanzanite for an example. Prior to heating Tanzanite, they are this beautiful pale pastel colour, with unique texturing and fragmentation of colours. Post treatment, we have a solid bright uniformed purple hue.
What will generally trail the first statement of 'enhancing and improving' the gemstone, will be the phrase that has frustratingly plagued the industry, which is, "this is just industry standard".
Ways that in which stones are heated or treated:
- Heated to intensify or create uniformity of colour
- Heated to change colour entirely
- Diffusion treated
- Impregnation of colourless oils into stones such as Emerald, to remove inclusions and fill in small natural cracks
- Radioactive irradiation and subsequent heating of diamonds to 'improve' colour
- Dying of opaque stones, such as turquoise, to 'improve' colour
- Pearls will be bleached and colours changed permanently by irradiation
With all these treatments comes a diminished value, but more importantly, a lack of individuality and unique natural beauty.
On average, 95% of all sapphires available in the market today have been through some sort of treatment (source: GIA) and only 5% are unheated Sapphires.
So are those that are not treated, left as dull and unappealing stones?
This couldn't be further from the truth, which is what initially surprised us about this bizarre industry standard.
We could first direct you to our current available stones - all amazingly vibrant and unique colours.
One of the primary purposes for heating a gemstone, is to achieve that consistency of colour. This is done simply as high volume, large jewellery retailers cannot have such variation on their stones, as when a customer orders a 'London Blue Topaz' as seen online, they are expecting that fluorescent blue. As we can very much appreciate this reality, it is just not something we want to be bowing to.
Where others have resorted to those "industry standards" of enhanced (unnatural) colour, we have made it our mission and promise to you; to source all natural unheated gemstones from across the globe.
Our stock we always contain a small collection of individually hand chosen, unique stones. The hero of your Bespoke Design, will be the gemstone sitting front.
As I we said on the outset, Lei è might not be for you.