Antique Jewelry Ruby 2 - post 174
Care of and buying rubies.
We have learned a lot about antique ruby jewelry. Now, for the nitty gritty and how it affects your buying choice and how to look after it.
#5293. Rubies with other gems in a magnificent brooch.
Taking care of your ruby jewelry is not very difficult.
Antique jewelry featuring rubies might be a little worn and scratched. A good lapidiary can re-polish your gems, but it is questionable whether this is desireable at all. It is your choice. A lot of purists do not wish to alter the effects and signs of hundreds of years of wear by generations of previous owners. However, some people want a cleaner, shinier look and it is their prerogative to get it. Think carefully, and then do what is right for you.
Periodic checkups and washes are all that is necessary in caring for your ruby jewelry.
Check prongs and security of settings or have your jeweller do it for you. If necessary, have settings tightened.
While rubies can withstand enthusiastic cleaning, other gems in the jewel might be more vulnerable. Wash your ruby jewelry in luke warm, soapy water - see our post about cleaning jewelry. Rubies are tough, so there is little chance of damaging them. There is a chance of them falling down the garbage disposal, so read our advice carefully.
#4910 ruby and pearl bangles.
What to look for in a ruby is highly personal. We have already mentioned that in the East, size trumps all. For many people, the clarity of the stone is what really counts, but then you have to ask: was it treated? What about the bling or shine and glint of the stone? Is it grey and dull? Color, cut, clarity are all elements of a rubie's quality, but they are not the only ones and ultimately, it is your choice of what you like. Are you particularly fond of pink or does the deep red 'pigeon blood' talk to you more? Ox blood? Books are written on the subject. I would suggest talking to lots of people and looking at a lot more rubies before making your decision. It's your taste and you are going to enjoy your jewelry if you go with what you like and not according to a trend or theory.
#6116 Antique brooch.
What sort of ruby are you looking for? A large statement piece? A collection gem? Something to go with your latest outfit? An antique jewel that includes rubies, but not exclusively? For each of these situations, the criteria will be different. You probably know what you want, but it's a good idea to make an amorphous idea concrete. "I want .....". Then, think about the color of the ruby you would like to wear and own, the size, the quality and shape of cut, the clarity and all of the other characteristics. Does your budget stand up to your requirements? mmmm - maybe we need to go back to the drawing board and maybe we can move forward.
Now, where do you look? There is no shortage of options and I have written about the pitfalls of buying from sources that we assume are safe versus the advantage of buying from someone who is tried and tested safe, if not so famous. Of course, it's a great advantage if you can see the jewelry in person, but in today's world, that is not always possible, so give online sources a chance with logical and reasonable conditions eg the right to return - again, see my posts that have talked about returns.
Look around and look around at lots of examples. Ask lots and lots and lots of questions. Don't worry if you annoy the seller. It's his/her job to answer and if he/she does not answer, read the writing on the wall.
I wrote a series of posts about successfully buying antique jewelry (or anything else) on the internet. Please scroll back and read them.
Finally, I repeat..
We have pointed out some of the pitfalls of buying rubies. From look-alikes, to treatments and fakes, a prospective buyer should be very sure of their source. Buying from a reliable source is the most important step in protecting yourself when purchasing antique jewelry, or any jewelry for that matter.
Buying from a 'big name' source is not always a safe bet. Big names are often a horrible trap. They can and do make mistakes and certain chains of shops in the USA are guilty of misleading customers. Big auction houses do not always supply a full description. Relevant information is left out. And shockingly, they make many errors. I have bought items from the most well-known, elite auction houses in the world. Almost every time, there were omissions and they Never refund you. Truly, buyer beware..
Ask a lot of questions from as many sources as possible. Educate yourself. Knowledge is money.
Your next source of protection is to request a written receipt stating that the ruby is natural. Don't go overboard and demand detailed gemological analysis for a tiny stone, but larger purchases should have something in writing to fall back on should a dispute arise.
#5257 French crossover ring with rubies.
Serious gemstones should have a GIA or other big lab report. These reports cost time and money, so do not expect a full GIA report, including origin on a tiny stone. Be realistic.
Finally, always buy the best quality you can possibly afford. Stretch for even better. The money will be forgotten very quickly, but the pleasure of enjoying beautiful antique jewelry lasts a lifetime and beyond.
#4255. Ruby bangle.