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The intense oiling of Chinese minerals
  
  Index -> Incorrect classification and fakes
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nitana2000




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PostPosted: Oct 17, 2008 18:35    Post subject: The intense oiling of Chinese minerals  

Some days ago I published photographs about inclusions on a Chinese quartz following the advice of Mr. Alfredo Petrov: http://www.mineral-forum.com/message-board/viewtopic.php?t=323
and when I cleaned the sweetened water with a toothbrush and alcohol, the inclusion disappeared and now, the Quartz sees to be more fractured. It is possible that this liquid inclusions was an oil drop inside quartz, then the alcohol dissolved the oil and that's why the crack lines now are more visible. I publish a series of photos to show the process and also I translate a text published by Mr. Carles Curto in the Spanish Forum about this phenomena. Here it is:

The oiling of Minerals, consists in something as simple as put grease with oil (literally), with a rag or a brush, on a parts of a minerals is lined or have blows (sometimes is submerges all mineral mainly if this not have matrix, in this case the oiling "sing too much")
In the case of some minerals that have the exfoliation lines too noticeable like The fluorite or the calcite, the oil gets to slide inside of the mineral, increasing the intensity and the uniformity of the color.
Some retailers apply oil to the mineral to such an extent, that when you take it the fingers are dip in grease. Others dry the crystal face and this apparently is dry.
Some of these oiling minerals with the changes of environmental pressure and temperature "sweat". In all case and with the time the minerals looks aging their aspect(them return to be as they were before the oil application)

Best regards. Juan de L.



false_oil_inclusion_104.jpg
 Description:
The drop of oil? before cleaning with alcohol.
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false_oil_inclusion_104.jpg



inclusion_movil_on_cracks_111.jpg
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After a first cleaning with alcohol, still a movil inclusion but not a drop, and some crack lines already visible.
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inclusion_movil_on_cracks_111.jpg



oiling_minerals_312.jpg
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The Quartz after a second cleaning with alcohol, with the crack lines very visible.
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oiling_minerals_312.jpg


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Pierre Joubert




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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2015 01:46    Post subject: Re: The intense oiling of Chinese minerals  

I wanted to start a new one on this topic and found this one. I hope Nitana does not mind me continuing this thread ( I am surprised that no one commented on this topic). I have spoken to a few people and it seems to be a common practice to oil specimens. Silicone and vegetable oils are used (amongst others). I know that it is used on some Riemvasmaak fluorites as well as on some KMF inesites. I tried it once on a dull Neu Swaben smoky quartz specimen, but fortunately the process was not successful. My question, is this an acceptable practice, even if declared? How long before the oiled specimen looses it's luster? To what extent is this practice used in the mineral specimen industry?
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James
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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2015 03:47    Post subject: Re: The intense oiling of Chinese minerals  

Pierre

Sadly it is very common in many places, and is often not declared. People joke about stands that are dripping oil or have specimens sat in pools of oil. I have been told of many different oils being used, but I guess they look for ones that do not smell too much.

In my experience cleaning them gets rid of it, but one loses luster. I do not think of it as acceptable practice, even though it is common. So one has to use the touch (rub specimen with thumb then rub thumb and forefinger together - does it feel oily) and smell test a lot, especially if suspicious. But I have seen many dealers, from the most basic to most prestigious, selling oily rocks.

In the end many specimens have been worked on (trimming, repairing, consolidating, heating, etc) so you need to set your own criteria, aware that others may have another one. I have consolidated material I collected and even repaired, but that it always on the label.

James
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Riccardo Modanesi




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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2015 05:14    Post subject: Re: The intense oiling of Chinese minerals  

Hi to everybody!
Oiling treatment is very common for quartzes (including amethyst, smoky and rock crystal) and for beryls (expecially emerald). Emeralds which have not been treated with Opticon oil almost do not exist, but for raw crystals whose value is just as a collection mineral and it's not worthy to submit them to a cut operation.
Full disclosure should be advisable and at mineral shows I wonder why it is not compulsory! As a collector I have many synthetic and/or treated gemstones and raw crystals, but I knew what I bought and I think everybody has the right of knowing what he/she is buying!
Greetings from Italy by Riccardo.

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Hi! I'm a collector of minerals since 1973 and a gemmologist. On Summer I always visit mines and quarries all over Europe looking for minerals! Ok, there is time to tell you much much more! Greetings from Italy by Riccardo.
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Fiebre Verde




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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2015 08:56    Post subject: Re: The intense oiling of Chinese minerals  

Riccardo Modanesi wrote:
Hi to everybody!
Oiling treatment is very common for quartzes (including amethyst, smoky and rock crystal) and for beryls (expecially emerald). Emeralds which have not been treated with Opticon oil almost do not exist, but for raw crystals whose value is just as a collection mineral and it's not worthy to submit them to a cut operation.
Full disclosure should be adviceable and in mineralogical bourses I wonder why it is not compulsory! As a collectionist I have got many synthetic and/or trated gemstones and raw crystals, but I knew what I bought and I think everybody has the right of knowing what he/she is buying!
Greetings from Italy by Riccardo.


Sadly, the treatments mentioned by Riccardo are now commonly used on matrix specimens too - even low quality ones.
Useless to say that treatment disclosure for specimens is an unknown practice in the Bogota market.
To this day, I am officially the happy owner of untreated emerald specimens exclusively :-)
GÚrard
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Joseph D'Oliveira




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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2015 10:04    Post subject: Re: The intense oiling of Chinese minerals  

It only takes a day or two at the Tucson or other large mineral show to realize how specimens are manipulated to improve their value. Oiling is probably one of the most obvious, the most common being the oiling of fluorites, emeralds, kyanite, corundum, I've even seen some of the zeolite specimens oiled to improve luster.

The question to ask is, where do you draw the line? Many dealers are currently using micro-abraders to remove saw marks from specimens that are trimmed, the use of glue products to weep into fractures to stabilize crystals, irradiation and dyes also used to enhance color is common. Many of these manipulations are not identified at the purchase point and I have seen instances of this from dealers of all nationalities and specimens in all price ranges.

We must remember, if not for some manipulation of the natural specimen, we wouldn't have the large Pala tourmalines, some of which are reassembled after removal. We would have fewer of the amazing cubic pyrite specimens in matrix from Spain or the fantastic green fluorite specimens from the Rogerly Mine to name a few.

As a dealer I try to identify any repair when I sell a specimen, as a collector I am extra vigilant to look for repairs when I am purchasing a specimen. Personally, I accept that trimming or sawing to remove excess matrix is necessary to bring the best of a specimen and have some in my collection that have been trimmed or abraded. Even in the case of oiling, I try to imagine what the cleaned specimen will look like and make my decision on that basis. I am far less accepting of irradiation and dyeing and simply choose not to purchase these specimens.

The bottom line, while I prefer a completely natural specimen I accept that those are uncommon and that is why some specimens can command the prices that they do. Everyone has to identify their own level of acceptance to modifications of a specimen and be vigilant to look for imperfections or modifications before they make a purchase. You must also be willing to accept the fact that if you are a collector, you will be fooled from time to time. Accept it and move on. I know I've had my share of "surprises" over the years.

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Peter Van Hout




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PostPosted: Apr 26, 2015 06:20    Post subject: Re: The intense oiling of Chinese minerals  

A few years ago I complained to the show organization here at a local show in Antwerp about some fluorite pieces that were literally dripping with oil at a Chinese dealer's booth. The committee was laughing with me and said that oiling was completely normal with Chinese dealers!

Peter
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alfredo
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PostPosted: Apr 26, 2015 08:22    Post subject: Re: The intense oiling of Chinese minerals  

Not only oiling, but also "color enhancement". A few years ago at the Sainte Marie show there was a sudden and violent thunderstom. A chinese dealer had his wares outdoors in plastic trays, which quickly filled up with water. After the storm ended I saw him pour pink water out of one tray, green water out of another, etc.... Food dye?
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Rei




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PostPosted: Apr 26, 2015 09:34    Post subject: Re: The intense oiling of Chinese minerals  

Nothing wrong with enhancement... so long as the seller is open and honest about it. Unfortunately they rarely are, and there's no consequences.

You know, I don't know why these sort of things don't fall under standard consumer protection laws. Telling consumers that they're buying one thing when they're actually buying something else, that's fraud.
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Pierre Joubert




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PostPosted: Apr 26, 2015 12:57    Post subject: Re: The intense oiling of Chinese minerals  

All fantastic contributions! The problem is that as dealers, we may sell specimens, purchased in good faith, that have been enhanced and often we may not even know it.
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Rei




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PostPosted: Apr 26, 2015 14:05    Post subject: Re: The intense oiling of Chinese minerals  

Pierre Joubert wrote:
All fantastic contributions! The problem is that as dealers, we may sell specimens, purchased in good faith, that has been enhanced and often we may not even know it.


It varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but there's different types of misrepresentation. For example, in UK law, there's fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, and innocent misrepresentation. Fraudulent is where you know something isn't what you're saying it is but you say it nonetheless. Negligent is where you have no personal knowledge that your statements are false but you have fair reason to suspect that they might be. And innocent is where you believed your statements were true but they actually turned out to be false.

In the case of innocent misrepresentation, no punitive actions are possible against the person who engaged in misrepresentation, although agreements made under such false information (such as sales) can be voided.
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Joseph D'Oliveira




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PostPosted: Apr 27, 2015 19:46    Post subject: Re: The intense oiling of Chinese minerals  

Pierre, that is a problem we face as dealers and it is almost unavoidable these days. Most people understand if an honest mistake is made and usually let it slide if the dealer addresses the situation immediately. I don't deal in rare minerals, I imagine that verification of a particular specimen is a huge problem, especially when you are dealing with a few specks on a matrix piece.

In the end, whether you are a casual collector or mineral dealer, the internet can provide most of the information if you question the validity of a specimen. Anyone who's been around the hobby for a few years has a fairly good understanding of which minerals are most tinkered with and are generally more cautious with them. The old adage still applies "if it's too good to be true, it probably is".

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Jesse Fisher




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PostPosted: Apr 28, 2015 00:32    Post subject: Re: The intense oiling of Chinese minerals  

One of the things I see missing from this, and most discussions of "specimen treatments" is the role and responsibility of the collector. I have been involved in the hobby and business for around 40 years and and have seen enormous changes in both the requirements of the end user (i.e.: the collector) and those who are trying to make some sort of a living in the mineral business. The big "paradigm shift" has been the trend toward focusing almost exclusively on "perfection" of specimens. This, coupled with the recent influx of well-monied "investment" collectors has created a huge specimen preparation industry that did not exist 30 years ago, geared toward providing the image of perfection that the market now demands.

Nature is rarely "perfect" in the sense of human aesthetic requirements, and this has resulted in a drastic rise in the value of the few such specimens. It has also enabled the development of advanced preparation techniques aimed at returning (or reforming) specimens to this ideal of perfection, and a lot of paying customers are happy to look the other way when it comes to this. For anyone involved in mining or selling specimens for a living, the cost of doing business is ever increasing, and the bottom line to staying in business is providing the paying customers with what they will pay money for. As someone who has been foolish enough to get into specimen production I will say that the cost of doing business is very high. This means that if we don't find and sell enough stuff at a reasonably high price, then we can't continue to do so. I'm not independently wealthy.

Given the current market requirements, I know that many collectors, despite their protestations concerning "treated" specimens, will not accept or purchase anything that does not approach this ideal of perfection (perhaps, unless it is dirt cheap). Where does this leave the miners and dealers who need to sell the stuff in order to make a living? Using my project as an example, we almost never find perfect palm-sized specimens without damage - which seems to be the current market requirement. Typically, we will have a large rock, maybe 5-10 kg (or more), with a patch of crystals on one part of it. These must be reduced to an acceptable size and usually a trimmer will not do the job, so they must be sawn. People object to saw cuts so we need to use a pneumatic scribe to rough up the saw cuts. Additionally, any damaged portions of the specimen must be removed or made inconspicuous. This all adds time and money to the process. In the end, most specimens end up being heavily manipulated in order to make them salable, and I will bet that this is the case for most other specimen recovery projects these days.

It's very easy to complain about nefarious mineral dealers trying to pass off treated specimens to the unsuspecting public, but if the public were not demanding an unrealistic level of perfection at a bargain price, then I suspect things might be different. And when attending shows with an international host of participants, one might bear in mind that there are often widely variable levels of acceptable behavior between different cultures when it comes to how to market and present one's goods. At least with oil, one can easily remove it with detergent or a solvent such as acetone.

Cheers!
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Susan Robinson




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PostPosted: Apr 28, 2015 12:27    Post subject: Re: The intense oiling of Chinese minerals  

Many years ago, a mineral dealer told us that he noticed three levels of fakery/enhancement of minerals: clumsy, clever, and you-can't-tell. So, buyer beware!
Susan Robinson

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Pierre Joubert




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PostPosted: Apr 29, 2015 14:20    Post subject: Re: The intense oiling of Chinese minerals  

Thank you Rei, Joseph, Jesse and Susan. It is a topic with interesting angles. It is all about honesty isn't it?!
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