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Synthetic Corundum


In July 1953 my father was in Turkey and brought back 3 stones
for me and my mother. I have worn the Ruby since I was 15 and
mother has always wore the other two. I recently was told by a
Jeweler, after testing it in front of me, that it is a Pigeon Red
Ruby @2.5 carats, valued about $4,000 to $5,000. The next day I
took back the other two rings. He tested the ring that Mother
had always called a mood ring. He got rather excited and told me
& my husband that it was an Alexandrite @ 5-7 Emerald cut worth
$20,000 to $50,000 if it was real. He said that we needed to
insure it and make sure that we protected it, possibly in our
safe deposit box. The other was a stone he had never seen in
the 40 years he had been in business, it was a Pink Emerald, it
is over 1 carat. We wanted to know the true value, so he
suggested sending to New York, and insured it for $20,000. And
told us it would cost about $100 to have it valued. We did this.
I called to inqury and was told that New York had to send it to
another Gem Testing Company, and he hadn’t heard yet. Yesterday,
I was told that the company called and said that it was Synthetic
Corundum. After this long store that may have bored you, my
question is, in 1953 was there Synthetic Corundum? I have read
somewhere that Synthetic Alexandrite was done until 1975ish.
Thank you in advance for your time and help in this matter. I
am Charlotte Pate now living in North Carolina, raised in lower
Alabama on the Gulf Coast. Thank you again. Respectfully.

in 1953 was there Synthetic Corundum?

Corundum was first synthesized around the year 1900.


hi charlotte,

i don’t wish to denagrate anyone but i must ask, what were the
qualifications of the jeweler who called a pink beryl
(morganite) a pink emerald that is really synthetic sapphire?
the seperation of beryl from sapphire is a simple one. it was a
call that should not have been missed, gemologically speaking.
please take your stones to a qualified gemoligist. it doesn’t
have to be an american gem society store, there are many
qualified people that aren’t ags, but this will give you
assurance. it may be be the jeweler is a very good and honest
jeweler, but doesn’t have the backround to make gem separations.

ruby was first synthesized in the 1890’s. there has been a
synthetic alexendrite like sapphire (sapphire with color change)
for quite some time, but i couldn’t tell you when it was exactly
when it first came about, but can say with some assurance that
it was well before 1975. i also don’t remember when alexanderite
(a chrysoberyl) was first synthesized, but i do know there are
several on this forum who do.

best regards,

geo fox

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Hi Charlotte,

Ruby was fist synthesized in 1885 by a melt process the
manufacturer was Geneva. Then in 1891 by the flux method the
manufacturer was Fremy & Verneuil. Then in 1905 by the Verneuil
process the manufacturer was Verneuil. Star synthetic corumdum in
1947 by the Verneuil process the manufacturer was linde. Then in
1957 by the flux process the manufacturer was Chatham.

Do you recall the tests the jeweler did? did he took an RI
(refractive index) of the stone? Spinel was synthesized in 1910 by
the Verneuil process the manufacturer was Paris. They come in all
colors. The difference between the 2 (spinel and ruby) is there
refractive index, and one is singly refractive while the other is
doubly refractive.

Alexandrite was first synthesized in 1973 by the flux process
the manufacturer was Creative Crystals. Then in 1976 by the
Czochralski method the manufacturer was Allied Chemical.

Since you do have the stone “alexandrite ???” since 1953 , that
stone is not a synthetic alexandrite. Most likely what you have
is an imitation or simulant alexandrite. Both synthetic corundum
and synthetic spinel have been produced to imitate the beautiful

Can you tell me what is the colour or colours of that stone ?
Did you notice any change of colour in that stone when you wear
it , say during the day and or in the evening ?

Best regards,


Hi Charlotte, Not being able to see the stone this is really
hard to call but you may also have a very good andalusite. But
then again these stone may also be a group of Tourmaline. Please
have a trained gemologist identify, it will be worth the money
you spend to know. Good luck, Nick


Most any decent gemmologist could tell you that synthetic
corundum has been around since about 1885, when there were some
early “Geneva rubies” that were synthetic, but synthetic corundum
began to be produced in volume by the Verneuil process about
1902. Such synthetics are relatively easy to detect under
magnification and if your jeweler had to send this stuff to a
lab outside your city he doesn’t know what he is doing, as the
first thing to do would be to have a local gemmologist look at
it, probably for $30-60 for a simple ID. (An appraisal might be
more.) According to GIA’s course material from 1992 (and their
info should be reliable), better synthetic corundum of a
different type (flux type synthetic) didn’t begin to be marketed
(by Chatham) until 1959. Synthetic Alexandrite was first
produced by Creative Crystals of California in the early
seventies, and by some other companies later in the seventies.

You will find some info on synthetics in Renee Newman’s Ruby and
Sapphire buying guide. Armed with the pictures there and a
microscope with 30x to 50x and a penlight to fool with the
lighting angles, I think an intelligent layman could learn to
identify Verneuil type (also known as flame-fusion synthetics)
synthetics in 30 minutes or less. The tipoff is characteristic
curved striae (curved lines of growth) as well as bubbles and
other typical inclusions. The later synthetics are sometimes
harder to identify.

I would raise heck with the jeweler who got you to spend money
on sending these stones off if they are indeed flame-fusion
synthetics, see if I could get at least some of my money back.
Most jewelers who send these things off (and there are sometimes
good reasons for doing so in cases of difficult identifications)
charge a fee in addition to what GIA or other nationally known
labs charge them. I would try to get the whole fee back less
what it would have cost you to get the things ID’d by a local
person. Failing that, the jeweler should give you back any money
he made, and he can show you the bill to him from GIA or other
lab. Or the lab should be willing to tell you what they charge,
esp. if you explain the situation.

Any jeweler who tells you something is “pink emerald” is
stamping himself as totally ignorant. Emerald is green beryl of
a specific color green. Simply put, lighter green beryl is
called “green beryl” and only darker green beryl is called
emerald. Pink beryl is called morganite. Some people have used
the term “pink emerald”, but it is not an accepted name.
Natural morganite is usually pale, but it could be a fairly deep
shade of pink in an exceptional piece. However, morganite prices
for the best stone would not run over $200/ct, retail, for a one
carat stone. As you may have guessed, morganite is not all that
uncommon. To be in business 40 years and never see one would
mean you didn’t educate yourself and didn’t get out much. I
would say there are some jewelry stores which have not had a
morganite in them in 40 years if they carry only conventional
stuff, but you couldn’t pick up ANY decent gem book without
reading about morganite and you couldn’t go to too many gem shows
without encountering some morganite.

Guys like this give good jewelers and gemmologists a bad name.
Do anything you can to complain (Better Business Bureau as a
start) and find yourself a good jeweler and/or a good
gemmologist/appraiser in your town next time you need help. HTH,
sorry you had trouble. Hope you will enjoy the jewelry from Dad
for the memories it holds — those ARE priceless as is the idea
that he thought of you and your mother and brought you all
something nice from far away.