We all love rubies. Americans often love rubies with pinkish tones, because Americans often love the color pink.
In parts of Asia, the deep red, almost black ruby, called 'pigeon blood' can be more desirable than diamonds and
command crazy prices.
Rubies are revered, viewed with awe and attributed with supernatural powers in many parts of the world.
#4764. These earrings actually come from Burma. No arguing about their origin. The stones are rubies and sapphires.
What is the difference?
For years the ruby of the English Crown Jewels was much admired. It took a few hundred years for modern technology to reveal
that the ruby was actually spinel. Laugh not: would you know the difference?
Another gem that is often confused with ruby is rubellite - actually a form of tourmaline. Good quality rubellite will
also command higher prices than your garden-variety of tourmaline.
#3850 Rubellite bracelet.
A while ago, I walked past a necklace that simply flashed at me. Deep red colors drew my eye into the depths of the beads
and then shot out again with the light. Quite a stunner!! While it was clearly not an antique necklace, I was smitten.
The seller told me that the necklace was made of Burmese rubies. I bought it. I sent it to my appraiser. An appraiser
with years and years of experience and she gave it a glowing report.
However, without a huge laboratory like the GIA has, we could not claim the Burmese origin.
I waited a while and finally, last week, I took the necklace to the GIA to identify and confirm the origin of my ruby
necklace. Yesterday, I had a call: the rubies are spinel. They might be from Burma, but they are not rubies.
The necklace is no less beautiful. Spinel is beautiful and commands very high prices today, but it is not quite in the
same league as the ruby.
#4998 Spinel ring. Gorgeous color rivals the best ruby.
Like rubies, the value of the spinel is not fixed, but goes according to the scale of the quality of the spinel. It makes
total sense that a better quality will be more valuable than a poor stone.
Synthetic rubies have been made for centuries. In the old, old days, they were so difficult to create that they were often
more valuable than the real deal. Paste and immitations abound, but even the layman can usually distinguish this from a
real gem. And don't get too snooty: there is nothing wrong with good paste. I have seen beautiful French jewels in 18k gold,
with magnificent workmanship, set entirely in paste.
Sometimes used instead of rubies, garnets come in all different colors. They don't only range through the pinks and the deep
reds, but run the gamut through greens as well. They deserve a post of their own.