Ruby buying guide

by Asha Haridas

Ruby without inclusions are the rarest. Most rubies have inclusions which are not visible to naked eye. Such inclusions do not reduce the value as long as there is brilliance. High value rubies are those with intense medium red.

Summary:Ruby without inclusions are the rarest. Most rubies have inclusions which are not visible to naked eye. Such inclusions do not reduce the value as long as there is brilliance. High value rubies are those with intense medium red.

RUBY - THE BIRTH STONE FOR JULY

The most costly gemstone - the Ruby, is one of the world's rarest stones and is the red variety of corundum (Aluminium oxide) with traces of chromium. Highly valued Ruby having a bluish tint is called pigeon-blood-red. Less costly ones have brownish or yellowish tint. The best quality ruby is obtained from Burma, while commercially important ones are from Indonesia. Indian rubies are not of high quality, but the Indian star rubies have a huge demand. .

TIPS FOR BUYING RUBIES

Ruby

Once you have decided to purchase the magnificent gem - Ruby, the affordable price range should be fixed. First of all, you should have a brief idea of imitation, synthetic and natural gems. While selecting a gem from a jewelry shop give importance to color, size, cut, carat, clarity, hardness and brilliance including the material used in jewelry.

Gather all the information about the ruby you like most. They come in a wide range of tones from Pigeon-Blood red to Crimson Red. Red ones without the tint of purple are the best. Even if there is an overtone of orange or pink, it should be saturated enough to appear as red. A ruby should be eye clean i.e., without any visible inclusions. Ruby without inclusions are the rarest. Most rubies have inclusions which are not visible to naked eye. Such inclusions do not reduce the value as long as there is brilliance. High value rubies are those with intense medium red . Imitation rubies are often designated as synthetic rubies by the sellers.

This malpractice should be properly taken into consideration while selecting the rubies. There is a distinction between imitation and synthetic rubies. Red glass can be converted into ruby which is truly an imitation. Imitation rubies do not have the composition, structure, refractive index, and brilliance as original or synthetic rubies. The synthetic rubies on the other hand have the same chemical composition, structure, refractive index and brilliance as the original rubies. In fact some of the synthetic ones are more beautiful and costlier than the original rubies. Many gems are sold in the market using misleading terms.

Red Garnet is sold in the market as Arizona rubies or Cape rubies. Garnet or Rose Quartz is sold in the market as American ruby. You have to be on guard about such misleading terms.. To determine the tint of the ruby, view the ruby under both, the daylight and the incandescent light. It is interesting to note that the appearance of ruby will be affected by weather, cloudy sky, clear sky and the like. During Sunset or Sunrise when the light is dim, a light colored ruby looks attractive. In the same way the dark colored ones may look magnificent in bright light. The same ruby shows different tint at different places due to intensity of light and amount of blue spectrum.

If you find it hard to decide, select the ruby with a certificate from a recognized gem testing lab. The cut of the stone is the next factor to be looked into. Scratchless symmetrically cut ruby is the ideal one. Gem cutters (lapidaries) cut stone into faceted gems; the angle between the top set and the bottom set is fixed depending on the refractive index. The aim is to get most of the light entering the top facet to be reflected by the bottom facet to provide brilliance. A properly cut ruby is set to have ideal cut. Such rubies appear to have an inner glow . So, when viewing a ruby, if dark patches are found at the center or if the ruby shows a washed out appearance it is better to leave it out because the cut may not be perfect..

The most common cuts are oval, cushion or round. Heart cut and Emerald cut rubies are also available but they are not common. In the case of a star ruby, the quality is judged by the sharpness of star, symmetrical rays and the color of the body. A ruby that is filled with the needle-like rutile (silk) inclusions is called a star ruby. Such a ruby may be cut in a 'domed' shape producing six - legged star. The star effect is caused by the silk inclusions. High quality star rubies come from India and Srilanka. It is essential that you obtain all the details of a gem from the seller. Most of the stones sold now-a-days have been subjected to low heat treatment to increase the color. Such treatment does not affect the quality of the stones or their value It is the duty of the seller to disclose anything connected with treatment of the gems. Heat treatment of the gem in the presence of a flux cures fractures and openings. Oiling or staining is another treatment.

These treatments affect the stability and hence the value of the stone. It is better to obtain a CGI certificate which ensures that the color, size and the treatments if any, are according to the standard. Rubies in sizes more than one carat are considered ideal. Those with more than three carats are hard to find. Untreated fine quality rubies above 5 carats belong to superior class. If a seller mixes different rubies and pile them together, each draws color from the other. Under such a circumstance spread them and view them after placing on a white paper so that color of one will not affect that of the other. Background color will also affect the color of the stone. Many sellers place the ruby on a yellow background so that low demand purple-red stone may appear to be more reddish.

It is better to place the stone on a white background for proper identification of color. Finally you have to go through the certificate issued by the approved gemologist. Such a certificate will reveal the following:

1) how good the polish is

2) how good the symmetry is

3) the exact location of the inclusions and the blemishes

4) the ultimate result of the test on the basis of 14 parameters apart from the four C's(cut, color, clarity, and carat)

Some certification companies even offer inscriptions on the stone by means of laser micro-inscription The price of a gem is directly related to quality, weight and rarity. Market factors too can have as much, or even greater, influence on prices as does quality. We can conclude that the prices are influenced by quality, weight and market factors. In fact the main factor can be attributed to rarity.

 
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