How To Not Be Fooled While Buying Rubies
From the Sorcerer’s stone in Harry Potter to the Red Woman’s necklace in The Game of Thrones and even the Slippers of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz; rubies surely possess a magical beauty! The deep red color and the gorgeous reflection of light makes this July birthstone simply magnificent.
We love the ruby gemstone too and almost every one of us owns this stone. So in this article, I will answer SEVEN questions that I am frequently asked about the stone so that you can buy better rubies in the future.
1) Is it possible to make ruby rings in about Rs3/4000?
Yes, it is. But is it worth investing any amount of money in such rubies? Absolutely NOT!
The ruby that you are most likely to get in such an amount is the Indian Ruby (image below) which doesn’t have a great color, has lots and lots of inclusions and hence is absolutely opaque! Or your next option is a synthetic (lab created) or highly treated ruby.
2) What are Burma and Mozambique Rubies?
These are nothing but names of the places where these rubies come from. There are some people that further distinguish between The Old Burma rubies that come from the Mogok mines in Burma and New Burma rubies that come from the mines in Mandalay. While Mozambique rubies come from the country called Mozambique. Burma is now called Myanmar and is in Asia and Mozambique is in Africa.
3) Which rubies are better – Burmese or Mozambique?
Where a ruby comes from is no guarantee of value or quality as even the best mines produce material of low-quality.
Burma used to be one of the only places where rubies were mined earlier. Hence the place was said to have the best-colored rubies available. However today some beautiful rubies are also mined from Mozambique and some may even be of a better quality than the Burma rubies. See the images below just for an example.
Some extra info
The gemstone Spinel is also mined in Magnok mines in Burma which looks very similar to Ruby and has many similar properties as well, hence sometimes even regular buyers could get fooled into buying Spinels instead of rubies. That being said, Mozambique rubies, could be a safe bet!
4) Is it alright to buy a treated ruby?
Today most of the rubies in the market have undergone either heat treatment or glass filling. It is simply because the color of a natural ruby may not always be the most appealing. Secondly, a rough ruby stone has a lot of fractures inside which results in breaking of the stone while cutting and polishing. This not only improves the color, luster, and clarity of the gemstone but also the strength.
These treatments are not permanent and such a stone may be damaged if exposed to chemical jewelry cleaners or high heat while making or resizing jewelry. So, yes you can buy treated stones, but make sure that you know that they are treated.
5) How do I know if a ruby is treated?
1) If you turn the ruby near a light source and see flashes of blues and oranges, it is most likely a treated ruby.
2) Look out for cracks and holes on the surface of the stone. The glass enters the stone from the surface, so such holes are indicators of glass treatment.
3) You can look into the ruby and search for gas bubbles. They are an indicator of synthetics or glass-filled rubies.
6) How to determine the value of a ruby?
Just like every gemstone, a ruby is graded by its cut, color, clarity, and carat.
Explanation on the 4Cs
A deep cut ruby is priced higher than a shallow cut one as a deep cut ruby will have more weight and even a better color and brilliance. Other than that the shape of the ruby and the precision of the cut also plays a role.
The best ruby is color is Pigeon Blood Red. The closer a stone is to this shade, the more valuable it is. The stone loses its value as it goes towards a paler color or more orangish.
A ruby is bound to have inclusions. If you see a very transparent ruby, please ask a lot of questions about its origin, weight, inclusions treatments etc before you make a heavy investment in it. Such stones (if in a large size) will definitely be above $700. Inspect that clarity of the gemstone.. the lesser the inclusions, the better the quality. Always hold the ruby against bright light and inspect its clarity.
Lastly, the carat weight of the stone comes into consideration. Gemstones under 3 carats are moderately priced, but the prices shoot up significantly from 1ct to 3 ct as well. The price will increase drastically as the carat weight increases. Eg you may get a 1ct Ruby for Rs5000/ct but you may get a similar color and clarity ruby of 3cts for Rs 8000/ct. making the total value of the stone Rs 24000.
7) How do I know if a gem is a ruby?
It is very difficult to distinguish a ruby from some of its simulants for a layman. The best method would be to get the ruby certified from a laboratory. However, here are a few tests that you could try at home:-
1) Try to scratch it with a coin. Rubies are one of the very hard stones and will not be scratched.
2) Rainbow test- Keep the ruby as close to your eye as possible (without touching your eye) and move it towards a light source. Move it between your fingers until you see light patterns. If you see a rainbow pattern it is a ruby and if you see yellow and green shades it would mostly be a garnet.
There you have it! All the information you need to have about rubies. Let me know in the comments below if you this information was new/useful for you. Don’t feel shy to share it with your friends 🙂
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