It gives one great pleasure to handle precious stones. There it is the joy of holding a beautiful object, knowing that it has enormous value. Even more satisfying is the knowledge that its appearance and therefore its value can be improved by scientific methods.
The Indian market for diamonds and coloured stones is enormous, perhaps the largest in the world. Indian customers buy gems to ensure good fortune, happiness and health. Unfortunately, the advice jewelers often give them is governed mostly by the necessity to make a sale. A survey of views from across the world on the effect of gems on men and women is therefore useful.
There have been various attempts by the local trade to improve the appearance and therefore the value of gemstones and these have resulted in a considerable loss of precious stones. Some guidelines are given about the enhancement of diamonds and gemstones.
My affair with gemstones began in the early 1970s when on a sunny day, my friend, Shripal N. Desai walked into my office in the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre to ask about colouring diamonds by radiation. Several attempts had been made earlier but they failed because of the fear that expensive diamonds might be ruined. This time we took a chance and decided to put them in Apsara, the swimming pool reactor at the Bhabha Atomic research Centre. The results were spectacularly good and so started twenty years of work on the enhancement of diamonds. This naturally led on to experiments on the effects of heat and radiation on other gems.
As Consultant for Research and Development in the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, but strictly forbidden to alter the appearance of diamonds, I began to investigate methods to improve the value of ruby and sapphire. Heat treatment of ruby and sapphire was done regularly outside India but the credit for encouraging the technique in India must go to Rajendrakumar A. Shah who persuaded the Council to initiate a small research programme.
When I felt that the knowledge gained after tow decades of experimenting with diamonds and other precious stones would be valuable to the industry and to customers, my agent and editor, Ramya Sarma persuaded me to write a book on my work on gemstones. She went through my manuscript, corrected many errors of spelling, grammar and language, and chose a reputed publisher who has been urging me to finish the book for the last year. I also acknowledge the assistance of Vimala Sarma who patiently tolerated my long sittings with the computer to produce what we hope is a useful informative volume on precious stones that a reader with no scientific background can read.
Back Of The Book
Gems have fascinated men and women since the beginning of time. Once warn for simple adornment, they soon attained supernatural status because of their colour, brilliance and rarity. Gemstones have been valued for their widely believed therapeutic and medicinal values and their association with astrology. The book investigates all these connections and describes the properties of diamonds, various other mineral and organic gemstones, and their locations on earth. It provides simple methods to identify and select a good gem and also describes the results of the author's research on gem enhancement, particularly diamonds, rubies and sapphires.
Dr. Nataraja Sarma, as a research scientist, has specialized in reactor physics, nuclear and high-energy physics at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai. Since 1971, he has pioneered research in India on the effects of radiation and heat on diamonds and other gemstones. He is a consultant for Research and Development to the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India and continues to take an interest in modern methods of gem enhancement.
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