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Rubies on Ebay


#1

I’ve designed a jeweled sculpture of a warrior with a club. In his
club, there will be 24 rubies. This sculpture is to be a high ticket
item, and I want the sculpture to pass inspection by the jewelry
outlets that might market it around the world, as well as give the
buyer a product of great aesthetic and intrinsic material value. I
need rubies specially cut in a tapered emerald cut to fit around the
head the club. There are sellers on Ebay, in Thailand and in Sri
Lanka, who are willing to cut these for me, and the rubies they sell
on Ebay are a very bright red almost all the time. I’m sure they are
heat-treated, but I suspect they are also filled. If they are filled,
do I decrease the value of my sculpture by using them? I suppose this
is a subjective judgement call, but I’d like to know if jewelers
today routinely use heated and filled rubies and sell expensive
jewelry made with these? Perhaps it isn’t so important in a
sculpture, vs a ring or a necklace?

Larry Heyda
www.lawrenceheydastudios.com


#2
If they are filled, do I decrease the value of my sculpture by
using them? I suppose this is a subjective judgement call, but I'd
like to know if jewelers today routinely use heated and filled
rubies and sell expensive jewelry made with these? Perhaps it isn't
so important in a sculpture, vs a ring or a necklace? 

This is another subject, which I would like to discuss, simply
because it does not make sense to me. I have no problems with using
heat treated But I am drawing line at fracture filled
ones.

The question that I would like to ask is as follows: suppose the only
gemstones available for a project are fracture filled. Why not simply
use lab grown. In my opinion it is more honest, it is better quality,
it is more durable, and etc. And what should not be over-looked is
that very often lab grown gemstones makes projects possible, that
otherwise would only be nice designs on paper.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#3

Hi Larry;

I'd like to know if jeweler today routinely use heated and filled
rubies and sell expensive jewelry made with these? Perhaps it isn't
so important in a sculpture, vs a ring or a necklace? 

I think you can be almost certain these are glass filled. I never
use those. They’re junk, in my opinion. The cost of good, or even
fair ruby in larger sizes is daunting. That said, the new stuff
coming out of Africa, often called Songea ruby, is much better priced
and the look is fantastic. Plus, the added bonus of knowing you’re
not spending money that will eventually support an oppresive
govenment in Myanmar.

If the cost runs to dear for the project, you might find Chatham lab
grown rubies will do. They’re beautiful, the same chemical
composition and crystal structure as natural rubies, but man made.
Hey, just an aside… the huge ruby set in the Black Crown of
England, it turns out, is actaully a natural red spinel. Too bad
those aren’t perticularly cheap either. I love red spinel, and I’ve
heard there are blue spinel that are lovely, although I’ve not seen
them.

Finally, cabachon rubies are going to be more affordable, if your
design will accomodate them, as they can be made using a material
with less clarity. Be careful to get them from a reliable source, as
there are glass filled version of those too, made by heat fracturing
lab grown rubies, healing the fractures with glass filling, and then
re-cutting them. If you’ve got a tax ID, I can give you sources for
good corundum in all colors. Email me off forum.

David L. Huffman


#4

I don’t know what kind of weight/quality/price point you’re looking
at but you might do well to note that this is not a piece of jewelry
and therefor would likely be judged/accepted on a different basis.
Typically, when people buy jewelry with rubies the rubies are the
focal point, the purpose of the piece, especially given its a suite
of 24 stones. Its the rubies that get the most scrutiny. So therefor
the rubies carry the piece. In a sculpture it might be that the piece
carries the rubies. The rubies are an accent, the purpose is the
warrior, no? Estimate price tolerance carefully. If the rubies move
your piece from the $600 price to the $6,000 area (random numbers),
you might cut down on its appeal and attainability. And I’d think you
do want someone, somewhere to attain this piece ultimately, right?


#5

Assuming that you are in the US…

FTC requires that stones treated by filling are disclosed. You need
to ask yourself if you would be happy selling something with filled
stones.

More importantly. Are the stones actually rubies? Natural ones? Do
you plan on verifying this yourself? I am sure that there are a
number of people on ebay who are willing to supply what you are
asking for. There are also a number of people who will give you a
good price on a bridge if you are looking for one.

I have seen stones purchased on ebay really cheaply which were
advertised as sapphire, but weren’t. The sellers approval rating was
high, because they supplied pretty stones, and I guess not many
people had the skills to put them on a refractometer.

If you are making a high ticket item, pay a few dollars more &
purchase the stones from a local dealer you can trust.

No, not everyone selling stuff on ebay is out to rip you off, but
some are.


#6

Thank you to everyone who gave me sound advice online and offline
regarding my ruby search. Many members gave me the names of excellent
gem suppliers that can be trusted to provide top quality stones. This
is invaluable for me. I have now found a very reputable
ruby dealer in Thailand who provides GIA certification and comes
highly recommended by a number of good sources. Orchid is wonderful!

Larry


#7

I’m so glad to have Leonid suggest lab grown stones. I sometimes feel
like a preacher crying in the wilderness. Lab grown stones are a
terrific value, clean and with perfect color. Why would I spend time
making a stunning piece with a crappy or unstable “natural” stone
when I can do the same work with something beautiful? I’m in the
bunch that has prosperous but not silly wealthy clients. And if they
are very wealthy, often they got rich by choosing the best value,
not the most expensive option.

Enough said, I’m with you Leonid.

Judy Hoch


#8

Hello Larry,

My name is Dan and I’m new to this forum, I was wondering if you
could sendme your list of gem suppliers that you compiled. Hard to
find good ones.

Thanks
Dan


#9
I'm so glad to have Leonid suggest lab grown stones. I sometimes
feel like a preacher crying in the wilderness. Lab grown stones are
a terrific value, clean and with perfect color. Why would I spend
time making a stunning piece with a crappy or unstable "natural"
stone when I can do the same work with something beautiful? I'm in
the bunch that has prosperous but not silly wealthy clients. And if
they are very wealthy, often they got rich by choosing the best
value, not the most expensive option. 

I have to agree with Leonid this time. We make stuff which is
supposed to be pretty at a realistic price point. “Natural” crap is
just that. I might make exceptions for really old dino turds :slight_smile:

I have an engagement ring to size (maybe 4 years old) A diamond was
out of the question then but an aqua was her preference. Stone shows
the years, and a dia would have been far easier to heavy bezel set
in 14K white. Same care in making the ring, I don’t really care what
stones I use, it’s all for the glowing smile I get.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#10
Why not simply use lab grown. In my opinion it is more honest, it
is better quality, it is more durable, and etc. And what should not
be over-looked is that very often lab grown gemstones makes
projects possible, that otherwise would only be nice designs on
paper. 

I’m also with Leonid on this one. In my opinion, lab grown gemstones
are far superior in colour, clarity and quality to inferior examples
of their equivalent natural counterparts. I have had a number of
customers choose lab-grown over natural when given such a choice
between lower quality natural and their lab equivalents (in gems
such as blue sapphires, rubies, emeralds and diamonds, ie the big
four). I use natural when natural is a better choice, however, and
prefer the likes of natural amethyst and peridot to simulants
attempting to look like them - and I use lab-grown when that is the
better choice.

Helen
UK


#11

Why is the choice limited to either great looking lab grown or
"crappy" natural stones? There are really beautiful natural stones
that aren’t terribly expensive.

Personally I love the how natural mAterials make me feel. I get
athrill from how varied and beautiful nature can be. Iike finding
something special. I don’t think I would enjoy my work as much or my
clients would appreciate it as much without that extra thrill. If it
was only about a specific color or multples of the same design that
might be different.

It takes all kinds. Good thing we can all find what we need


#12

How do you explain to your online customer in terms they will
understand that a lab grown stone is chemicaly identical to a real
stone and is not the equivalent of base metals and cheap glass beads
(and is the statement I just made coming from my own bias or theirs)?
How do you convey to them that there are times when this might be the
best choice considering thedesign of the piece and their budget,
when they are purchasing your product online or through a shop where
an associate doesn’t really know much about your jewelry? I have
found that when the word “synthetic” or some similar term is used,
people tend to equate it with lower quality or have a lack of
understanding about what it means.

I have been discussing using lab stones in some pieces but I’m not
sure what it will do to the perceived value of my work. Same thing
with copper or brass. I recently took a chemical etching class using
brass and copper.

I really enjoyed exploring the technique and have been wondering
ever since how adding these materials to my work would be perceived
by the average customer. I know I can etch silver using nitric acid,
but I’m not sure I want to go there right now because of the
chemical issue. I found the etching process to be such a wonderful
opportunity for creative expression, that I would really like to
incorporate into some of my jewelry.

I consider my pieces to be artisan jewelry, focused on a customer
who does not want to purchase costume jewelry, but doesn’t want to or
can’t afford to purchase more expensive pieces (over $500). My work
is designed to sell for $40 to $300 with the highest focus between
$50 and $150. I have been using sterling and 14K gold-fill with an
occasional copper accent for color, but even gold-fill is getting
expensive to use for pieces in my lower price ranges. I pay myself a
fair wage and do not intend to undervalue my work or the work of
other artisans by selling for nothing.

Does the average consumer understand or care about the specific
materials used in a purchase of this amount (short of nickel, and
cheap plated base metals sold at craft stores) as long as they are
purchasing quality workmanship and the appropriate materials have
been protected/sealed to avoid issues with skin discoloration and
severe tarnishing?

Most people make a decision to buy a piece jewelry in this price
range because they see it and love it. Is there even a need to
explain the quality of the materials or is this whole thing coming
only from my perception and past experiences?

I would really appreciate thoughts and insights on this from others
who might have been down this road.

Tracy Arrington


#13
and is the statement I just made coming from my own bias or
theirs? 

Tracy lays out the quandaries quiet well, I think. Personally, I buy
small rubies locally or at times from Stuller. Fine stones I walk
into one of a couple of dealers and look at them in person. Ebay’s
not an option.

… A friend of mine is locked in battle with a major department
store over their policy of selling flux-filled rubies, just out of
principle, not as a buyer - he was their QC man until it hit the
fan. He was on TV about it, even.

But the larger issue of, essentially, telling the customer what to
like, is deeper. In my experience people don’t want synthetic
stones, and it’s not so much a stigma as that they want a product of
Mother Nature. Certainly there are various marketplaces for them, but
fine or finer custom or handcrafted jewelry isn’t one of them,
generally. People spending $20 on some pretty earring studs mostly
aren’t going to care. This has been gone over before here on Orchid,
endlessly… The mystique of gemstones is just that - a
mystique and a wonder at what nature can produce, and a desire to
have a bit of that. It’s not just a colorful product, it’s a natural
stone that’s beautiful. Trying to overcome that with the buying
public is the proverbial uphill battle, IMO.


#14

I know that there are many lovely, lab grown stones. However, there
is so much customer resistance to them because, as Tracy pointed
out, customers equate them with low quality.

I used some really lovely lab grown alexanderites in a piece. The
customers were delighted with the strong color change, were on the
verge of purchasing the piece, but as soon as I told them that the
stones were lab grown, they totaly lost interest in it.

As there is such a strong bias against synthetic stones, I don’t use
them. There are enough lovely inexpensive natural stones to choose
from. What is interesting, is that customers will accept treated
stones such as dyed or heat treated ones, as long as the stone is a
natural one, but a lovely lab grown stone is rejected.

Alma


#15

very interesting i have purchased many rubies on ebay.they are mostly
leaded glass inclusion filled. (also called flux filled) very nice for
price.

zev

ps also have purchased small sapphires, some BE (deep diffused with
beryllium) treated, most not. also very nice for price pss for
consistent calibrated quality small blues, i use small mom and pop
company.


#16
Why is the choice limited to either great looking lab grown or
"crappy" natural stones? There are really beautiful natural stones
that aren't terribly expensive. 

We’re talking about a price point. For a certain budget, the choice
is often “crappy” natural OR great looking lab grown. If there were
really beautiful natural stones within your budget, then you
obviously wouldn’t need to look at lab grown, but for certain stones
and at a certain budget, that’s not always possible.

Helen
UK


#17
I have been discussing using lab stones in some pieces but I'm not
sure what it will do to the perceived value of my work. 

Why do we associate value of our work with value of the material?
Let’s put the jewellery aside and talk about paintings.

What is painting? Just an old piece of cloth with some paint smeared
all over it, right ? Why then some old masters selling for millions ?
Because there is something else is present. Make it part of your
work, and you should not worry about materials.

In jewellery, we must use precious metals to insure comfort of the
wearer. But that is where it ends. Stones is simply a design
requirements. If you can get natural ones, that great, use it by all
means. But it should not become a barrier to making.

There are plenty of important historical jewellery made with glass.
A lot of jewellery that we observe on Oscars and similar events are
not real. Insurance requirements are such that the real one in the
safe, and person wears copy made with lab grown stones.

To paraphrase Faberge - the value of jewellery is not in gemstones
and materials, but in efforts expended on its manufacturing.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#18
I have found that when the word "synthetic" or some similar term is
used, people tend to equate it with lower quality or have a lack of
understanding about what it means. 

I have made this very same point on Orchid, probably over a year ago.
But sadly, my point of view was dismissed out of hand by some of the
people in the know. They said that the word “synthetic” is a widely
recognised word within the jewellery industry, and as such it
shouldn’t pose a problem. However, my point was that it is not a
widely recognised word when it comes to the buying public. They don’t
understand the definition with regard to gemstones - just to things
like fabrics, where “synthetic” simply means man-made, ie not
natural.

In answer to your question, perhaps an page on the
website, where such things are explained. They would need to be not
too wordy, so that people might actually read them. They could be
linked from the home page by highly visible buttons. Even in a brick
and mortar store, not all customers stick around long enough to ask
about the differences between the natural vs lab grown emeralds, etc.

Helen
UK


#19
How do you explain to your online customer in terms they will
understand that a lab grown stone is chemicaly identical to a real
stone 

It might interest you to know that many customers are neither stupid
not ignorant, and can understand the concept of synthetics quite
easily.

The stupid and ignorant ones just think it’s pretty.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


#20

John,

Flux filled rubies ??? Makes me think of lime jello with baby
marshmallows. Where is the line between calling it jello or
marshmallows ?

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand