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Are they Rubies?


#1

Hello all. I am a beginner at metals, and have been selling the
dreaded “strung bead” jewelry for 3 years. Usually I am afraid to
post but my curiosity has got me. Recently I bought a short strand
of lovely red briolettes from a vendor I have used successfully in
the past for I was told they were rubies, but the price
was quite low… about $3.50 each. I said, “These can’t be rubies
at this price” and the woman on duty assured me that they were
indeed rubies. Oh well, I thought, they are so pretty, I don’t care
if they are “real” or not. But now I am wondering. Are they glass?
(I don’t see any bubbles). Or just really crummy

Thank you,
Rebecca


#2

If you email me a photo I’m sure I’ll be able to tell you what they
are.

@Cap_n_kirk


#3
  If you email me a photo I'm sure I'll be able to tell you what
they are. 

That’s quite an astonishing talent. Most of the rest of us would
need microscopes, specific-gravity tests, refractive-index
measurements, and other assorted assists to know for sure.

Tas
www.earthlywealth.com


#4

Kirk, I don’t want to offend you, but I don’t know how you can say
"I’m sure I’ll be able to tell you what they are" based on an
emailed photo. I am a Graduate Gemologist (G.I.A.), with 32 years
experience in the gem trade, and I would not say with certainty what
a red ‘stone’ was even if I could examine it with a loupe. I could
make a very educated guess, but I would want to use a microscope,
refractometer, Specific Gravity test, etc., before I would make such
a definitive statement.

David Barzilay
Lord of the Rings
607 S Hill St Ste 850
Los Angeles, CA 90014-1718
213-488-9157


#5

funny I am not a graduate of anywhere and have been in the trade a
short time but that is exactly what I thought when I read that
reply. I won’t sell anything unless I am sure what it is and I have
a pile of stones set aside waiting for me to afford testing or some
better equipment. I don’t care what a supplier says he sent me I
test everything that comes through my door.

Teri D


#6
That's quite an astonishing talent. Most of the rest of us would
need microscopes, specific-gravity tests, refractive-index
measurements, and other assorted assists to know for sure. 

Wait til you work this stuff with your hands and eyes for the 40
years I’ve done and you’ll see what I mean. Also, don’t go through
any borders with illegal substances because you’ll discover that the
customs men don’t need much instrumentation either…to get ya.


#7
Wait til you work this stuff with your hands and eyes for the 40
years I've done and you'll see what I mean.

Well I’m closing in on 36 years of handling colored stones and I
wouldn’t guarantee an identity of anything without instruments (of
course I’m not the captain of the Starship Enterprise). In today’s
world of synthetics, simulants, etc. you can’t tell what you’re
looking at from a picture, even if you’ve had a 100 years of
experience. Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.

Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
@Daniel_R_Spirer
www.spirerjewelers.com


#8
    Wait til you work this stuff with your hands and eyes for the
40 years 

Even most jewelers will take-in a piece with a diamond listed as “a
white stone.” Not especially good for insurance purposes, but most
jewelers of my acquaintance, especially the ones who are lettered
gemologists would never sight ID a gemstone, much less ID one from a
photo.

Police and border guards who find illegal substances on search will
list them as “a white powder” or "a suspected illegal substance"
until those substances are laboratory-tested. No court or jury in
the US can convict a person on a border guard’s photographic
evidence. I suppose you could be convicted leaving the US with such
little evidence going to, say, Mexico, but who in their right mind
would expect to make a profit by EXporting illegal substances to
Mexico?

No matter if I’ve been working with gems for a thousand years, I’d
be more than extremely hesitant to ID a ruby as, for instance,
natural vs. synthetic by an emailed photo. But then again, I have an
academic designator to uphold.

James in SoFl


#9

I can’t decide whether it’s arrogance or ignorance that would make a
jewelry professional in today’s market assume that they could
identify anything based on seeing a photo of something. Even with
the latest tools, synthetics, treatments, and amazingly good
simulations can be hard to detect. And the newest generation of
"lab-grown" material that is molecularly identical to the naturally
occurring stone complicates identification further.

And as for those “customs men” (and women)… many use highly
trained dogs to help them screen, which is roughly equivalent to you
and me using a microscope & specific-gravity test to identify stones.
BUT, no matter how accurate their “screening” might be, they rely on
lab tests to confirm that the substances found are, indeed, the ones
they suspect they might be. And they DO suspect wrongly from time to
time; more frequently than you might imagine.

So you might want to think of your “I’ll take a look” approach as
the initial “hmm, what is that white powder?” screening. But you
can’t really tell whether it’s baking soda or cocaine until you do
further tests.

Karen Goeller
@Karen_Goeller


No Limitations Designs


#10

Century upon century of visual experience convinced scientists and
philosophers that the sun the stars and the planets revolved around
the earth. Then came instrumentation.

Cheers
Hans Durstling
Moncton, Canada


#11
Century upon century of visual experience convinced scientists and
philosophers that the sun the stars and the planets revolved
around the earth. Then came instrumentation. 

For more than 10,000 years people have been enchanted, mystified and
edified by Gemstones; for under 100 years now we’ve had
’instrumentation’…are we better now for it? Do we love and honor
precious stones even more now…?


#12

Rebecca -

Your post engendered alot of discussion regarding the tools and
expertise needed to ID a stone. But no one answered your question.

It may be true that the only way to accurately identify what your
briolettes are is to take them to a gemologist who has all of the
tools. But you can use a couple of low-tech tools, your own eyes
and your common sense to determine whether they could possibly be
rubies.

Rubies are dichroic, meaning that they display two colors, usually
red and orange or purple. Sometimes you can see this with your
unaided eye. More reliably, you can use a dichroiscope - a small
and relatively inexpensive item available at a jewelers’ supply
store. If you don’t see two colors or a light and dark of one
color, you don’t have a ruby. If you do see two colors, you could
have a natural or synthetic ruby or a tourmaline. [If you only see
one color, garnet or spinel are likely.]

The second useful tool is a good 14 power loupe. Most synthetics
will have growth lines that look like the rings in a tree. These
are easiest seen with a microscope, but I have seen them with my
trusty 14X “GemOro” loupe.

You’ve already exercised common sense by noting your scepticism
about them being rubies because of the price. Most likely they’re
garnet or synthetic ruby or synthetic spinel.

Finally, visit your favorite bookseller, add to your personal
reference library, and learn as much as you can.

Thanks for having the guts to post your question. It gave me,
another “beader-learning-more-advanced-skills”, the guts to get
involved with Orchid by posting this reply.

Dale Molloy
Fall River, MA


#13
For more than 10,000 years people have been enchanted, mystified
and edified by Gemstones; for under 100 years now we've had
'instrumentation'...are we better now for it? Do we love and honor
precious stones even more now...? 

Sure, we love em. But we also have to be realists. Most of us
hopefully have come to understand that if you’re contemplating driving
home after a few too many drinks, hanging an amethyst around your
neck isn’t going to help fix the drunken state, nor will it impress
the cops or the courts. And so it goes. We love and honor gems, and
enjoy their traditions and the heritage that ties us to gem lovers
throughout the ages.

But if we’re reasonably intelligent, we also understand that much of
what was “known” about gems in times past isn’t true. Makes fun
stories, but we need to understand what is traditional and fun,
versus what is real world and true.

We also understand that two hundred years ago, there were far fewer
fake options for that costly looking ruby that we had to be on the
lookout for. Now, for better or worse, there are lots of synthetics
for which we do indeed need more than just our eyes, to be sure of
what we’re paying good money for. The aforementioned amethyst is a
good example. Without instrumentation and modern knowledge, the
common synthetic looks identical to the finest natural. If indeed
the distinction needs to be made at all between natural and
synthetic or just plain fake, these days, instrumentation at some
level is part of daily life in gem dealings.

Does this make gems less appealing? In some ways. But knowledge is
power. Knowing more about the gems than did people in times past
gives us a basis on which to appreciate the stones in ways our
forefathers did not. Is it more, or less? who knows. We still love
the things.

Peter.


#14

I am reasonably good with “Visual Optics” developed by Alan
Hodgkinson’s method…

Yes one can sort with this method any variety of stone from another
easily. This is without equipment other than a single light source.
Using the dispersion color spectrum and a measured RI. But very
happy and secure at a dinner party to name any stone in any ring.
Using the light available or use my key ring LED as a source. The
caveat is the stone must be reasonably clean and transparent. One
needs to see the transmitted spectra so opaque stones cant be
identified with the method… One would find it hard to mistake a
diamond, ruby sapphire spinel from a CZ…

I personally wouldn’t name a stone on a photograph (especially with
the state of photoshop).

The challenge arises if one needs to verify that the stone is a
natural or made made of the same variety. Or if it has been treated
or filled…


#15
    Your post engendered alot of discussion regarding the tools
and expertise needed to ID a stone.  But no one answered your
question. 

Hi Folks…

One useful tool that can be home brewed…and that’s a polarizer
set… You need a pair of polaroid type sunglasses, or a couple of
old photo polarizers, or if you’re lucky you can find some surplus
polarized plastic… You need two pieces of polarizer material…

Figure out a way (hanger wire, old linen magnifier frame, whatever)
to hold the polarizer material about 3 inches apart…afix the
polarizer material at crossed (darkest) position…

When you stick a doubly refractive gem between the polarizers, with
a light source coming through…it lights up… A singly refractive
gem will stay dark… Note…you may have to check the gem at more
than one axis…

Garnet, glass, spinel, CZ, and diamond are singly refractive…most
everything else commonly run across gemwise is doubly refractive…

Easy to tell ruby from garnet this way…

Also…some of the new glass simulants are achieving higher RI than
used to be possible…or, their RI is crafted to be in the range of
what they’re simulating…

The polarizers will sniff 'em out, though…

Gary W. Bourbonais
A.J.P. (GIA)


#16
for under 100 years now we've had 'instrumentation'...are we better
now for it? Do we love and honor precious stones even more now...? 

Love and honor weren’t the question. Identity was. And many people
love and honor the price of the gem more than its intrinsic beauty,
or otherwise we’d be satisfied with glass and synthetics.

Tas
www.earthlywealth.com


#17
 Do we love and honor precious stones even more now...?

We may not love & honor them more, but we don’t love & honor the
fakes.

Dave


#18

Very good! Rebecca merely would like her question answered. Whether
or not all the credentialed gemologists with their high-priced
equipment want her to pay for it. ID’s shouldn’t be charged for in
my estimation. Appraisals, yes.


#19
ID's shouldn't be charged for in my estimation. 

Well by this standard you would put most of the gem labs in the
world out of business because what they do is ID the gems. I can’t
believe that is your intent in this statement, but it appears that
you think that someone who has invested a significant amount of time
and money into both a proper gemological education and the equipment
necessary to back it up should not be compensated for this. It’s
also a little bit like saying a doctor shouldn’t be paid for his
diagnosis of the disease you have, only the treatment.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
@Daniel_R_Spirer
www.spirerjewelers.com


#20

Hi, All -

When my Mother graduated from High School in the mid 40’s, her
father gave her a sapphire ring for her graduation present. The ring,
a lovely and large stone set in white gold, was purchased by my
grandfather from a jeweler he knew and trusted.

Many years later, it was given to me. For insurance purposes mostly,
and also a bit of curiosity I make no apologies for, I wanted to
have it appraised. I took it to a certified gemologist. I was
informed that to the naked eye and by several other means it
appeared to be genuine. But under close inspection via the methods
and equipment mentioned in this thread (refractometer, etc.), it was
indeed found to be a “very lovely, tough to detect, high quality
synthetic”.

Did it matter to me? Well I admit I wondered if my grandfather (no
longer living) had been ripped off. Was it worth less in $?
Considerably. Do I care about that part? A little, but it retained
what was most important to me, great sentimental value.

But there is a difference, and it can and does and will matter to
many people. When someone asks to have a stone identified, do they
not want to know for certain, regardless of their desire to have it
appraised? Otherwise why ask? Anyone could tell you it may or may not
be a ruby. But that would be a best guess, wouldn’t it? Or in what
situations would it move up to an educated opinion? There can be a
fine line between them, but when there are scientific means by which
to provide an answer, and we live in a world that unfortunately has
people who sometimes take advantage (going back further than my
grandfather’s purchase, I’m sure) then of course people are going to
get heated about the topic. To what degree of certainty would depend
on the equipment used and the expertise of the person viewing it.
Just my humble opinion.

Since that event, when I want to know more about a stone, I ask in
one of 2 ways - 1) the old “your best guess without the proper
equipment, and I won’t hold 'ya to it” or 2) a request for an
appraisal.

This ring and it’s story was what led to my interest in gemstones.
Which of course is what led me here… :o)

Sincerely,
Mary Beth in NH