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Ruby Gemstones

Loose Ruby Gem Stones, Buying Rubies

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Rubies and sapphires come from the same mineral family, corundum. These gems are known for their hardness and durability. While sapphires can be found in many colors, ruby gems are generally a red or pinkish red color. Though the color distinction between rubies and some sapphire colors is not always very apparent, corundum which does not have a reddish or pinkish-red color tone should be classified as a sapphire. This very often is of mere academic interest as every gem buyer would choose a color that pleases them. As long as you get a natural corundum stone with the color that you like, technical specifications really do not mean much.

There are interesting facts about rubies in ancient times. The British conquered many nations and took posession of some glorious 'rubies'. So beautiful and precious were these gems that they went straight to the British Royals. As time went by and gemology became more of a science rather than a mere hobby, it was found that many of ruby gems in the British royal jewels were infact red spinels and not rubies! Good examples are the magnificient Black Prince's Ruby which is infact  not a ruby at all, it is a nice red spinel. Similarly the whooping 352 carat Timur Ruby is a fine spinel.

Ruby gemstones come from various locations, Burma is well known for it's gorgeous Burmese rubies. There has been almost no reduction in demand for loose ruby gemstones for more than a century. Extensive mining operations in the Burmese mines have meant that the best gems have already been dug out. It might therefore be a better idea, to see natural rubies from other origins before paying a premium price just for the (Burmese) name. Thailand, Vietnam, Madagascar and even Tanzania have provided ruby gems for the jewelry and gem stone trade.

Rubies can be expensive especially in sizes of 1.5 carats or more. When you choosing a loose ruby gem, check the color, clarity and size and then move your attention to the price tag. For example, you could get a 6mm round ruby gem stone that has few inclusions and fissures. But if you were choosing a large 10x8mm ruby stone, be prepared to accept quite a few of these natural flaws. Rubies are sold by weight (carat) the price per carat increases sharply as the gem size increases. So bigger rubies are more expensive (per carat) then smaller ones even if, the grade of the stones is the same.

Our entire discussion on loose ruby gem stones is based on the presumption that, the ruby is natural and not a man made fake. When you produce an imitation ruby gem in a factory, the controlled conditions can give you eye clean flawless rubies even in sizes as large as 10 carats! These would not be expensive and should not be compared in beauty or price with natural ruby gems. There is no harm in buying a fake ruby gem, as long as you are aware that it is fake and are being charged the price of a fake ruby. Many innocent gem lovers have purchased 'rubies' from the Burmese market or near the border and found that, it was a worthless piece of junk. Good rubies are quite expensive and looking for bargains on the roadside might not be a good investment decision.

Most of the gemstones that reach the gem and jewelry market today are treated in some way or the other. We can broadly classify the treatments used to treat loose ruby gems into two broad types. The first type of treatment used for rubies is the conventional heat treatment. This process has been used for several decades and does not involve the addition of any chemicals into the oven. Ruby gem stones treated in this way become clearer and acquire a better color. The process does not alter the physical properties like hardness and durability of the gem. You can safely presume that any loose ruby stone that you buy is heat treated, but read the next paragraph related to other ruby treatments before you jump to any conclusion.

As the supply of rough ruby gets tight due to extended and large scale mining, gem manufacturers have come up with other treatments to improve the appearance of ruby gems. A type of heat treatment evolved about 2 decades ago, to keep the explanation simple we will call it the flux method. In this method a chemical is added to the oven where the rubies are heated. The chemical works like a flux and reduces the melting point of the ruby (corundum). As the ruby melts, it flows into the cuts and cracks present within the gem stone. Such a 'healed' ruby looks much better than the untreated stone. A laboratory inspection can often reveal traces of the chemical within the stone. The next process used to treat rubies is very interesting, it actually creates a ruby gem that is a combination of glass and ruby. Silica based salts are added to the oven along with the rubies, these turn to glass on heating. The melted glass flows into the fissures and cracks present in the ruby. The final result is stunning in appearance unfortunately, such a treatment drastically reduces the value and durability of the ruby.

Directstones procures rubies from the Burmese and African mines. We recommend conventional heated ruby gemstones. However if you prefer to have fissure filled or glass filled rubies, let us know and we can procure and custom cut these rubies too. No matter what treatment you choose for your ruby gemstones please ensure that, you have read this report completely and understood the various treatments. If you still have any queries, do email our support experts at sales@kaisilver.com You can do this even if you purchase the gems from another gem or jewelry provider. Few providers care to inform buyers about all details but, we will be glad to clarify all your doubts without making you obligated to make any purchase from us.

Related Resources

Ruby Gem Treatments    Ruby Gems

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