A common bad treatment filling numerous major fractures with glass creates a great looking gem, but the gem is really greatly weakened in strength, durability and easily chip, crack and split. The lead will react to cleaning products, chlorine, salt (sweat, ocean), etc. Lead oxide is toxic and was banned in paint years ago. This treatment is also used on many other gems.
Pic 1. White Lead oxide leaching from treated Ruby.
I have seen very few media reports on this unethical practice, though there is some exaggeration is this story, “90% glass” is an over statement, (closer to describing another treatment that involves coat a gem with glass to improve colour and size).
This story was done a few years ago and the treatment has improved greatly. They also don’t mention the glass is coloured to improve the colour.
With the huge drop in people with a real qualification in jewellery shops (online or bricks & mortar) in the last 30 years, treatments are often sold undisclosed with misleading names or dodgy/fake certificates. It’s hard for anyone to understand the massive increase and extent of unethical treatments (often several can be used in one item of jewellery), sadly these are not picked up with valuations.
Many offer huge cost saving measures and/or massive profits (or both) of up to 50 – 95%, and so has become common in Australia, other countries and especially online (almost impossible to follow up legally.
You should disclose this to any jewellers asked to do any work on your jewellery or it will be your responsibility. Qualified jeweller receives 40 hours of gemstone training, our job is to make/repair jewellery, not identify gems and treatments. This is a separate field requiring years of studying and constant training to keep up with the changes and new treatments.
THE GOLDEN RULE – When you pay your 1st deposit, you must ensure every aspects of the jewellery & Gems (including Diamonds) must be written on your receipt, trying to prove it later is very difficult. The problem for customers is knowing what needs declaring on receipts. With new treatments, enhancement and sales/marketing descriptions changing all the time, there are no standards for description.