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Antique Store Ruby Bargain?

lapin

Rough_Rock
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Aug 23, 2023
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Hello everyone! After reading posts here for years, I finally took the plunge and made an account.

So, I was browsing one of my regular local "stuff" stores (antiques, art, clothes, jewelry, etc.) and they have a vendor who resells estate jewelery at very reasonable and often negotiable prices. Most of it is beautiful but rather un-noteworthy, though I have bought some beautiful solid gold pieces.

This time though, he had an old deco-ish platinum ring, set with small diamonds but centering the *sparkliest* deep scarlet ruby. Since he flips estate gems and jewels, the info he gives is fairly minimal. He claims it is a 1.34 carat natural ruby, but there's no cert, origin, or details outside of that. I don't think he certs anything because this a side hustle hobby, but the ring is so pretty. I am NO ruby expert, but I know this one leans a lil deep and maybe purple-y? But my goodness does it sparkle, so much so that it made me suspicious. What do you guys think of the color from what you can tell?

2023-08-23 09_52_46.237-0500.jpg

Priced at a cool $1500, which is enough to be expensive, but low for even a modest ruby of similar size.

2023-08-23 09_53_54.318-0500.jpg

This and a diamond navette are the two most expensive items he currently has. I wish I had grabbed more pictures, but this is all I can give for now, and he doesn't have a regular storefront/phone. I can't get it out of my head, but the price seems to good to be true, even if its heated, but the shop and guy are good people.

2023-08-23 09_56_42.677-0500.jpg

Would love to hear everyone's thoughts on the ruby itself! I keep daydreaming that its just some undiscovered heated burmese or thai ruby, but its just as possible its some heavily treated mystery stone too!
 

glitterata

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 17, 2002
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That's so pretty! It's not a terrible price for the setting alone. I would very seriously consider it myself if I came across it. It's not at all abraded, despite the wear to the setting, which suggests it's a hard stone (or a recent replacement). Rubies are very hard. On my screen the color looks more purple than I'd expect from a synthetic ruby--synthetics tend to be brighter and redder (because they're trying to match the most desirable color). Do you have access to a UV flashlight? Or a cheap electronic diamond tester? Rubies often (not always) light up red under UV light, so that might give you a sense of whether it's a ruby and not, say, a garnet. When you test rubies and sapphires with an electronic tester, it gives a high reading, up in the orange range, nearly as high as diamonds; things like garnets stay much lower.
 
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glitterata

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Could you buy it, send it to GIA for a report, and specify that if it comes back from GIA as not a natural ruby, he would give you a refund? GIA charges less than $100 to identify small loose or mounted colored gemstones:

0.01 to 1.99 ct $70
2.00 to 4.99 ct $95

The charge is a bit higher to include an origin report:
0.01 to 1.99 ct $85
2.00 to 3.99 ct $165
(Assuming he's right that it's in the 1.35 ct range, that's just $15 more.)

 

ItsMainelyYou

Ideal_Rock
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Hard to say. It could also be a spinel or purple sapphire, as well. Pretty ring.
 

marymm

Ideal_Rock
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Based on the photos, I wouldn't have guessed it was a ruby; it gives off major rhodolite/garnet vibes to me.

Honestly, if there's no return policy, I suggest passing.

If there is a return policy, I'd ask the guy if he'd take it back for refund if you send it in to GIA and it comes back not ruby or if it comes back glass/composite/flux-treated ruby -- if he says yes, get it in writing (email/text/whatever) since, even if you send it off immediately, it would be some weeks before GIA would send it back with report.
 

Mreader

Ideal_Rock
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Rhodolite was the first thing that came to my mind based on the color. It is a pretty piece. Even if there isn't abrasion that could just mean that the center stone isn't as old as the setting...also rhodolite is a relatively sturdy gem as well (7-7.5 mohs).
 

Lisa Loves Shiny

Ideal_Rock
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4,796
It's a very pretty ring. I once bought an inexpensive ruby from Multicolor gem in this color so it is possible it is a ruby. The stone is likely a newer addition to the setting because it does not have visible abrasions.
 

lapin

Rough_Rock
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Thank you for everyone's responses so far! If it makes any difference, it was under warehouse-y fluorescent lighting, and I found the color to be more decidedly red to the eye than it photographed.

I agree that it has garnet vibes, but in a video I took, it has certain flashes of red that felt more true to ruby. Great point to you all on pointing out the lack of abrasion, definitely deepens the mystery!

I like the idea of chatting with them about a purchase with GIA result exception. I think if you want to put "natural ruby" on a tag, thats not an unreasonable ask. I know the folks who run the actual shop and manage the consignments fairly well and they've been around for decades, so I'd be shocked if they would let someone get bamboozled, but I know it happens often.

 

canuk-gal

Super_Ideal_Rock
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HI:

Very pretty ring! My instinct went to RG--as others have mentioned.

I am glad you have trust in this vendor: that said "trust but verify". BC a bargain isn't a bargain if you don't get what you want (or imagined it to be). By the same token, if the vendor suspected it was a ruby--then why wouldn't they send it to have it verified? If they could get more/x the price, why wouldn't they make the effort?

cheers--Sharon
 

Timor

Shiny_Rock
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It does not look like a ruby to me (I am no expert) but it is certainly a very pretty ring! Echoing all the others to doublecheck the return policy, or if the price is low enough for you that you don't mind even if it's just for the setting.
 

pearlsngems

Ideal_Rock
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I'm no expert on rubies, but my very first impression was rhodolite garnet.
 

Avondale

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I'd imagine any vendor who sells estate pieces with coloured stones would have a gem tester at their disposal and be able to identify if the stone is ruby or not. So that's something you can ask about, how they were able to tell it's a ruby.

Sadly a gem tester can't tell you if it's synthetic or treated. But if the vendor agrees to take it back if lab testing confirms the stone to be not as represented, then the main risk you take is the money you'll spend getting a lab report for it.

To be honest, I don't think the price is that outrageously low. It doesn't have the colour that usually commands higher prices. The red is a bit orangish, combined with the overall dark tone it shows some brown. You'll often hear people here say to not buy garnet looks for ruby prices, but in this case the price is fair for the looks. And you seem to really like it. So, provided you can agree on testing, go for it.
 

VividRed

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It seems fairly priced. That ruby frankly isn’t worth a whole lot based in color and tone from the pictures. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that every ruby has to be expensive. Most are just outrageously overpriced (ask me about my first unheated Burmese ruby purchase :lol:).

I think this one is fine and appropriately priced, but not a bargain. if you like it, go for it :)
 

RRfromR

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@lapin , the setting is absolutely gorgeous. Is it platinum?
 

lapin

Rough_Rock
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Thank you all for your insights! You all have definitely added some great perspective relative to the price and color if it is indeed a ruby. I do think my Android camera/white tube lights didn't do it very good justice, but I know rubies need to stand up to all sorts of light! (and that my memory might be romancing it)

That being said, I still feel a pull towards it. Something about it being deep in color and still sparkly feels mysterious, and the old filigree setting makes it look like an evil eye. It dazzled me amongst all the other gems on display that day! The lady who helped me that day had said a lot of people had asked to just buy the ruby and not the setting, which seems tragic to me!

I think it is definitely worth a return trip to ask about their policies, how they determined it was "natural" or even a ruby, and maybe if we could take it out into the sunlight! I think I am definitely leaning towards going for it if they'll accept a return. Appreciate you all!
 

lapin

Rough_Rock
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@lapin , the setting is absolutely gorgeous. Is it platinum?

It is! It has a somewhat stepped-like height variation, openwork sides, and fine milgrain that didn't register well on camera, but glimmers in person :)
 

Redwoods-hiker-girl

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You can buy a small UV flashlight on Amazon or elsewhere and have it in hand quickly, and that would show you whether the stone fluoresces like a ruby should.

Very pretty ring, regardless!
 

Cerulean

Ideal_Rock
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It’s not really a bargain IMO. Buy it if you love it, not because you think it’s a deal. Even if it IS a ruby, it looks like a garnet. Don’t get sucked into a fantasy of having found some hidden treasure! It’s pretty - but again - buy it if you love it for what it is!
 

Daze

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Apr 14, 2021
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I agree with the above comments.

I rarely have money to spend on sparklies so have often fallen into the trap of jumping on something because I like finding a ‘bargain’.

It’s taken me until recently to learn that a bargain is not really a bargain at all when you do not absolutely love it - if you don’t the price is irrelevant and instead of a good deal it just ends up being an expensive compromise….and I have a few of those sitting in my jewellery box mocking me with their inadequacies!

That said though the setting is lovely and garnet looking or not if it does indeed speak to you then that is all that matters.
 

lapin

Rough_Rock
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Appreciate everyone here! I work amongst very fine antique and contemporary jewelry in my day to day life, so I am grateful for the chance to see some incredible 6 and 7 figure stones on a daily basis that I could only dream of having, but ironically, this experience is showing me how much work I need to do to understand gems at all levels. I know that the one I posted about didn't look like the Bulgari or the unheated Kashmir the store I work in has, but from there, I wasn't sure how to evaluate it, so you guys have helped me start a new learning journey!

That being said, I think I really do love the ring after all. Upon going back to look, it still charms me. It's not as dark/brown in person and has a soft glow in the sun, but its still on the darker side, but to me that just makes it a goth ruby. Turns out that vendor is having an end of summer sale on all his wares, so the ring is currently priced at $1250! Me thinks I must :bigsmile:
 

lapin

Rough_Rock
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I agree with the above comments.

I rarely have money to spend on sparklies so have often fallen into the trap of jumping on something because I like finding a ‘bargain’.

It’s taken me until recently to learn that a bargain is not really a bargain at all when you do not absolutely love it - if you don’t the price is irrelevant and instead of a good deal it just ends up being an expensive compromise….and I have a few of those sitting in my jewellery box mocking me with their inadequacies!

That said though the setting is lovely and garnet looking or not if it does indeed speak to you then that is all that matters.

I love this message, very well said! I think at my heart, I'm a treasure hunter, and live to find "the deal" in a lot of what I do, but you're right, what good is a deal for something you don't truly want (or if its not a deal at all).
 

RRfromR

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Not to be more of an enabler, but I saw settings alone at that price on etsy, and it's a very wearable, low profile antique. I also like it a lot.
 

Slickk

Ideal_Rock
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Me thinks I agree!

There's another way to look at it as well. Will you regret it if you miss out on it? To me it sounds like you probably will.

This is the way I like to think things through. Would I be heartbroken if I miss out? It’s beautiful and very wearable. And I love me a sale!! Lol
 

minousbijoux

Super_Ideal_Rock
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This is the way I like to think things through. Would I be heartbroken if I miss out? It’s beautiful and very wearable. And I love me a sale!! Lol

I totally agree! My variation on this is if I walk away and over the next few days or weeks cannot get it out of my mind, that is when I know it must be mine!
 

glitterata

Ideal_Rock
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Go for it! (If you don't, then tell me deets so IIIIII can buy it!)

And then send it to GIA and report back so we'll know what it really is--DYING of curiosity!
 

Cerulean

Ideal_Rock
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Sep 13, 2019
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Appreciate everyone here! I work amongst very fine antique and contemporary jewelry in my day to day life, so I am grateful for the chance to see some incredible 6 and 7 figure stones on a daily basis that I could only dream of having, but ironically, this experience is showing me how much work I need to do to understand gems at all levels. I know that the one I posted about didn't look like the Bulgari or the unheated Kashmir the store I work in has, but from there, I wasn't sure how to evaluate it, so you guys have helped me start a new learning journey!

That being said, I think I really do love the ring after all. Upon going back to look, it still charms me. It's not as dark/brown in person and has a soft glow in the sun, but its still on the darker side, but to me that just makes it a goth ruby. Turns out that vendor is having an end of summer sale on all his wares, so the ring is currently priced at $1250! Me thinks I must :bigsmile:

It's a lovely ring and I'm excited for you. Your love for this ring is palpable and that's what matters above all! Hand shots once she's all yours!!!
 

Daze

Rough_Rock
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Apr 14, 2021
Messages
36
Me thinks in that case it would be rude not to ;-)

I think the video shows a lot more of the rings true character and I think it’s very pretty.

+1 for hand shots once it’s with you!
 

voce

Ideal_Rock
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5,172
An afternoon sun video, if anyone was interested! :sun:


That video gives me red spinel vibes. Hope for your sake that it is a ruby!
 
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