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TV Show and Majority of Auction Website Rubies

I felt this needed to be addressed since many auction website vendors and especially gemstone/jewelry TV networks seem to be misleading the consumer when it comes to these rubies they are all pushing.

There is nothing wrong with these rubies as long as you know what you are actually buying! These rubies are fracture filled/clarity enhanced. This is a treatment where special glass is used to fill the cracks, fissures, holes, etc. in the material to make it look like better material. Typically they use lead glass to do the filling. There are various stages of filling though!! Some are minor, most of your higher end clarity enhances rubies, and very little glass is used, just enough to clean things up. There are medium level ones, where quite a bit of glass is used to fill in larger holes or missing chunks of material.

Then there are the lower grade/heavily filled stones, these are the ones we have experienced from the cheaper auction site rubies as well as the TV shows. These lower end filled rubies are basically, and should be considered, more of a composite stone then they are an actual ruby! They are so filled with glass that they are often numerous smaller pieces of corundum(ruby) glued together by the glass to form whole stones. These rubies are not very stable and can break/fracture easily if hit on anything, put in a sonic cleaner, exposed to any sort of acid based chemicals and possibly other chemicals as well, etc. While these are still viable products and can be quite stunning in the right piece of jewelry, one must take special care wearing and cleaning them.

The problem here is the TV shows and auction sellers are playing these treatments off and down like they barely cause a decrease in value or durability or anything else, and this is just NOT true! Actually, it is the furthest thing from the truth! These lower end filled rubies can be bought for $2-$10/ct. Anything over $10/ct and you should shop elsewhere as that is too high. The lesser filled rubies can sell from $12-25/ct. The very high end filled rubies that have little glass in them can sell for as high as $35-$50/ct.(I would NEVER pay this much personally except in very large carat weights) in larger sizes and little glass filling, but you will not likely find these on any TV shows or on any foreign auction sellers. These will be found in more higher end stores or from higher end sellers. If you find one in a custom or higher end commercial cut, the value will be considerably more, but again, these will be at higher end stores and sellers, not the TV shows and not the typical overseas auction sellers with the .99 cent to $7.99 starting auctions.

Keep in mind that many of these US auction sellers simply buy from the overseas auction sellers and double/10x their money making you think it is a US cut/bought stone. So be on your guard! Don’t be afraid to ask questions and confront the seller! Ask them if that ruby is fracture filled! Ask them to what extent! Ask them if they are a Gemologist! Ask if they were formerly trained! Don’t fall for the AJP being a gemological trained title either!

So, this fracture filling treatment is a very good method of bring affordable rubies to the market. But please do not fall bait or into their supposed rarity, lack of supply in the market, the material being very valuable, being no lesser then untreated or heated rubies, etc. Because it is all a bunch of unscrupulous hype! It is far from rare, supply is as abundant and one can get as much of this material as one wants, it is not overly valuable, and it is worth nowhere even close to it untreated or heated relatives!! This material can be had by retailers from many different countries and in, literally, any quantity desired! In some wholesale markets/towns it can be had in every office and on every street corner, it is that abundant. Even our soldiers in Afghanistan can buy it on almost any street corner, lol.

Now, if you just want a nice affordable ruby to stick in a sterling silver or 10K gold pendant or ear rings then this is your material. But I would NOT use it in a ring personally, unless it is a ring that is only worn on special occasions as it will not hold up well in a ring that is worn daily!

One thing to avoid, and this can typically be seen in the pictures on the auctions/websites or in the video on the TV, are stones that show a lot of strange looking “flow” lines, patterns, or dull areas on the tables and crowns, especially near the edges/girdle and directly in the center of the table. These patterns/flow lines are the glass and where it flowed when it was put over the stones. Near the edges of the crown/the girdle, this can cause the stone/glass to fracture upon setting of the stone in a prong setting. Directly on the table leads to durability issues down the road because it will wear quicker and the stone will lose its beauty much faster. Most definitely do NOT use these stones in a ring setting!!! You want to make sure the crown and table have a nice smooth glossy finish on each of the facets and none of these flow lines/patterns on them.

I will be posting a link to some articles later on with images and tests showing the different levels of filling. They exposed/submerged the rubies into acid to dissolve the glass so you can see what is left when it is gone. It is a really scary sight on the more heavily treated stones! At that point I would much rather have a nice higher end cut synthetic ruby instead!

Link to PDF Article:
http://www.giathai.net/pdf/Ruby-Glass_Composites.pdf

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