Jewelry Guide: Ruby Information & How To Shop for
Rubies are made of the same
mineral as sapphires, namely corundum,
and measure a 9 on the
you’re shopping for ruby jewelry, keep in mind that the
more pure and vivid the ruby color, the more valuable (and expensive)
ruby. Rubies from
the Mogok Valley
for example, are
known for their quality
and ‘pigeon blood’ color and are quite
very important ruby jewelry shopping tip:
Unlike sapphires, where a natural, untreated
sapphire is readily available provided you can afford one, a search for
natural, untreated ruby may be more difficult.
Read on to find out why – it’s important that you
understand the why before you buy.
Mohs gemstone hardness scale (second only to
diamond). Ruby color quality is judged on three factors - hue
saturation (the strength or weakness of the color), and tone (the
darkness of the color).
acknowledged fact (acknowledged, in fact by the Gemological Institute
America) that the majority of
have undergone heat treatment to improve their clarity
and/or color. A
heat-treated ruby can only be detected by a
gemologist and even if heat treatment isn’t detected, it is so
prevalent in the
industry that it is assumed that
jewelry has been heat treated.
treated rubies are no less stable than untreated rubies;
however, should your ruby jewelry ever require repair or altering, it
important to let your jewelry know that your ruby jewelry is heat
prevalent ruby treatments include surface diffusion, fracture-filling
or epoxy resin) and cavity-filling (with epoxy resin or glass).
(heating the ruby to a very high temperature in the presence of a
agent) applies a shallow layer of red coloring in an otherwise light
colorless sapphire (remember, rubies are the same thing as sapphires,
red). The resultant
red color of
surface-diffused rubies is stable and permanent under normal conditions
be damaged and destroyed if the gemstone is recut or repolished.
is used on occasion to improve a ruby’s clarity.
Using colored oil or resin to fill minute
fractures in the ruby also enhances its color.
The resultant stability of a fracture-filled ruby is
exposure to heat and chemicals can damage or destroy the filling agent
the ruby and an oil filling agent will probably discolor and dry out
improves a ruby’s clarity by hiding
cavities. This ruby
treatment is fairly
common and results in a ‘fair’ stability rating, as heat and chemicals
damage or destroy the filling.
What is a
Lab-Created Ruby? What is a Synthetic Ruby?
lab-created or synthetic ruby, like other lab-created gemstones, has
chemical properties and physical characteristics of a natural ruby and
be distinguished from a natural, non-lab-created ruby, by a trained
gemologist. And, as
with natural gemstones, lab-created
gemstones can be of high quality or lesser quality.
are two predominant methods by which
lab-created/synthetic rubies are made:
Flame fusion and heat flux.
fusion is a
quick and cheap method to produce lab-created rubies.
Because our focus is ruby jewelry rather than
gemstone chemistry, we won’t go into the details of the process, except
stress this: Flame
fusion produces lower
quality lab-created rubies, suitable for costume jewelry, class rings
and lower-end fine
Heat flux, which
can take up to six months to produce a gemstone, results in
lab-created/synthetic gemstone-quality rubies.
several times throughout this website, the FTC
(Federal Trade Commission) requires that
a jewelry dealer disclose any enhancement treatments your ruby jewelry,
other gemstone jewelry, has undergone.
The FTC also has strict definitions for what
lab-created/synthetic gemstone. If
want to read more, check out our Jewelry
Reference Links page. These
strict requirements, by the way, are
known and understood by reputable jewelry dealers, who will clearly and
disclose any enhancement treats undergone by the ruby jewelry or other
jewelry you buy.
- Look for clear, unclouded
rubies with deep, vivid color. Avoid clouded stones.
- Know that
your ruby jewelry has probably undergone some kind of enhancement
process. Make sure
you clearly understand your ruby’s enhancement treatment and the
subsequent care you need to take with your ruby jewelry
rubies have the same properties as natural rubies and are more
affordable. If you
opt for a lab-created or synthetic ruby, be sure you know by which
method your ruby was produced (see above, flame
fusion v. heat flux). By and large, reputable
fine jewelry dealers will clearly disclose any and all information you
need to make an informed ruby jewelry purchase.
If not, just ask!
If you get no response or an unsatisfactory
response, move on!