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GRS Pigeon’s Blood

VividRed

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 25, 2018
Messages
180
Hi All,

In my search for the perfect vivid red ruby, I stumbled across a few GRS certified Burmese (Mong Hsu) Pigeon’s Blood pieces. Heated woth insignificant reaidue, 1-1.5 ct. priced anywhere between 5-9k / ct. so not cheap.

I read somewhere that GRS is somewhat generous in giving the bird’s blood pedigree, but was still expecting to see VIVID RED! All of them where red, to be sure, and fully saturated - but dark. A little too dark in fact, only the full blast of incandescent light would bring out that nice red. In daylight...eh, fluo helped a bit to lighten up otherwise dark stones.

I may have a wrong understanding of what Pigeon Blood is but most seem to agree that it is the best color a ruby can achieve. So I wonder, is the legendary burmese color a myth or did I just see overly dark stones? And if the latter is true, has anyone else experienced dark GRS certified pigeon bloods?
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Apr 22, 2004
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37,042
There was discussion a few years back that GRS doesn’t take tone into consideration, hence some really dark stones aka generous descriptions.
 

ChaiK

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 8, 2018
Messages
886
Yes. My pair of GRS earrings. They look vivid on the cert.

And the seller described it as fantastic.

I bought it for the shape and well, they are unheated.

But they do lack that kick because they do not have flourescence. And they are dark.

I had them set with yellow gold round the rubies to lighten them up. Still, they are dark.

I enjoy them. Just pointing this out. They can look garnet-like if they are dark without flourescence.
 
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ChaiK

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 8, 2018
Messages
886
Now that I have experienced Pigeon blood twice :roll:oops:and both times sellers told me how great they are without flourescence, I am going to go for rubies with flourescence.

I do love my rubies. Very lovely. But now I want a different shade of red.
 

Burmesedaze

Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Oct 9, 2016
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3,590
These are my monghsu rubies. Unheated. Not pigeon blood but they are a better red than the Mogok rubies I have. Under various light sources.

Not a fan of pigeon blood tbh but differ strokes for different folks. There are also dark monghsu rubies I've seen in the local market and pigeon blood ones by local definition tend to run dark.

20180621_142440-1.jpg 20180621_142548-1.jpg 20180621_142509.jpg 20180621_142433-1.jpg 20180621_142521-1.jpg
 

ChaiK

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 8, 2018
Messages
886
Pigeon blood with flourscence unheated is lovely.

So, if you are going for pigeon blood, go for also flourescence.
 
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Nick_G

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 7, 2018
Messages
88
I've always understood that to qualify as 'pigeon's blood' a ruby must have very little or no iron to quench fluorescence. So by definition these rubies should be strongly fluorescent.

I collect rough crystals and mineral specimens rather than cut stones but I do have a couple of specimens in marble which have great colour and light up like a laser under a UV torch. As to whether they are 'pigeon's blood'? I've no idea.
 

voce

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 13, 2018
Messages
2,309
Each lab has a different standard for stating whether a gem is pigeon blood or not, which is why I personally think the term is worthless. Labs tend to grade "pigeon blood" on the tone or hue of color, and not by any assessment of iron content. If you care about fluorescence, which imo is really important for ruby, definitely ask the vendor for a pic under UV before buying.

The ruby in my avatar was described by a trusted vendor as brighter than pigeon's blood, so my guess is that the concept of pigeon's blood involves a higher saturation of color, which can look dark.
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Apr 22, 2004
Messages
37,042
If it becomes too dark, it should be priced less. Or rather, I would either negotiate or keep looking. As you can see in the chart, I do not believe that a top red should be overly dark in tone. Top to bottom is tone, right to left is saturation.

download.jpg
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 22, 2014
Messages
3,615
C2DF0970-541E-4978-93E0-55699002BB5B.jpeg Colour is very subjective. I think buying a “label” ie “Pigeon blood red” can be a mistake if it isn’t the tone you love. The gems I’ve seen for sale as “Pigeon blood red” are too dark for my preference, and I wouldn’t buy a ruby without fluorescence because to me that is the whole point about rubies, that magic glow.
This wee one of mine is antique but it possesses the attributes that I think make Ruby Queen of the gems. Even in poor light, it can’t help but glow.
So my advice, buy what YOU love and don’t be led astray by a label!
 

VividRed

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 25, 2018
Messages
180
C2DF0970-541E-4978-93E0-55699002BB5B.jpeg Colour is very subjective. I think buying a “label” ie “Pigeon blood red” can be a mistake if it isn’t the tone you love. The gems I’ve seen for sale as “Pigeon blood red” are too dark for my preference, and I wouldn’t buy a ruby without fluorescence because to me that is the whole point about rubies, that magic glow.
This wee one of mine is antique but it possesses the attributes that I think make Ruby Queen of the gems. Even in poor light, it can’t help but glow.
So my advice, buy what YOU love and don’t be led astray by a label!
THAT is what I am looking for :)

The last one I got was described to me as exceptional. And in all fairness it does fluoresce strongly but with a dark tone it just isn’t enough. I won’t mention the vendor because he/she was really helpful and came my way on price, but the online picture was a little too optimistic compared to what the ruby achieves under normal lighting conditions.

In the end I think that if a reputable lab gives out a trade name such as Pigeon’s Blood, which I believe beefs up the ask price, it should only be used for the very best.

Lesson learned for me.
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 22, 2014
Messages
3,615
9C52BB0B-A7ED-411F-83B2-CC3B64062B58.jpeg Yes Dawn the Ruby is wee (1.10) and being old stock is a little worse for wear (a few nicks to the table) but a little superstar and I think epitomizes what a good ruby should look like. I don’t think good rubies are coming out of Burma anymore, I think Madagascar is the best current source.
 

Attachments

Nick_G

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 7, 2018
Messages
88
9C52BB0B-A7ED-411F-83B2-CC3B64062B58.jpeg Yes Dawn the Ruby is wee (1.10) and being old stock is a little worse for wear (a few nicks to the table) but a little superstar and I think epitomizes what a good ruby should look like. I don’t think good rubies are coming out of Burma anymore, I think Madagascar is the best current source.
That is stunning! What a vivid glow! Is that from Madagascar?

My specimens are from Pakistan and Afghanistan. The one in the three pics below is thought to come from Jegdalek, Afghanistan:

Gemmy ruby 2.JPG

Gemmy ruby 3.JPG

Gemmy ruby 5.JPG

The last photo with the ruby backlit shows a small zone of violet sapphire in the top crystal.
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Jan 22, 2014
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3,615
That is stunning! What a vivid glow! Is that from Madagascar?

My specimens are from Pakistan and Afghanistan. The one in the three pics below is thought to come from Jegdalek, Afghanistan:

Gemmy ruby 2.JPG

Gemmy ruby 3.JPG

Gemmy ruby 5.JPG

The last photo with the ruby backlit shows a small zone of violet sapphire in the top crystal.
No, antique Burmese unheated.
 

Nick_G

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 7, 2018
Messages
88
No, antique Burmese unheated.
Even better! It actually looks like the pics of vivid fluorescent red 'Jedi spinel' from Man Sin that Vincent Pardieu wrote about.
 
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strawrose

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 24, 2014
Messages
886
9C52BB0B-A7ED-411F-83B2-CC3B64062B58.jpeg Yes Dawn the Ruby is wee (1.10) and being old stock is a little worse for wear (a few nicks to the table) but a little superstar and I think epitomizes what a good ruby should look like. I don’t think good rubies are coming out of Burma anymore, I think Madagascar is the best current source.
:kiss2: That glow.

Pardon me for asking. I am still learning about colored gemstones. What does “old stock” mean?
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Jan 22, 2014
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3,615
:kiss2: That glow.

Pardon me for asking. I am still learning about colored gemstones. What does “old stock” mean?
I bought at auction, by accident essentially, some gem stock of a deceased jeweller (he died in the late 1980s early 1990s). So his gems would pre date the Ruby embargo so not recently out of either the ground or Burma.
 

strawrose

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 24, 2014
Messages
886
I bought at auction, by accident essentially, some gem stock of a deceased jeweller (he died in the late 1980s early 1990s). So his gems would pre date the Ruby embargo so not recently out of either the ground or Burma.
Thank you! I see “old stock” in the vendor websites, so I was curious.
 

Anne111

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 30, 2017
Messages
325
Does 'vivid XY' not mean simply 'as little other than XY', or 'as pure XY as possible'? For vivid red that would mean no purple, or pink etc. but pigeon blood is a special combination of red with .... uh, I actually don't know. hence vivid red would not necessarily mean pigeon blood?
 

VividRed

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 25, 2018
Messages
180
9C52BB0B-A7ED-411F-83B2-CC3B64062B58.jpeg Yes Dawn the Ruby is wee (1.10) and being old stock is a little worse for wear (a few nicks to the table) but a little superstar and I think epitomizes what a good ruby should look like. I don’t think good rubies are coming out of Burma anymore, I think Madagascar is the best current source.
You wouldn’t be willing to sell it, would you? :geek2:
 

VividRed

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 25, 2018
Messages
180
Does 'vivid XY' not mean simply 'as little other than XY', or 'as pure XY as possible'? For vivid red that would mean no purple, or pink etc. but pigeon blood is a special combination of red with .... uh, I actually don't know. hence vivid red would not necessarily mean pigeon blood?
Vivid red is the highest satiration of red. No pink (which is essentially red with lower saturation), but a secondary hue such as blue (hence, purple) is possible and still you would have vivid saturation - it would be slightly purplish red with vivid saturation. But that is not enough, even a vivid color looks dull if the tone is too dark, or pastel-like if the tone is too light.

The ideal red for me has Vivid saturation (no pink), no secondary hue, and medium tone. I haven’t found one yet other that in a woman’s ring at Gübeling or Cartier for 60k, which is i) not good for me (man), and ii) beyond what I am willing to spend on a 1.5 carat stone

@av you told me I was in for a ride...you did not lie!
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Apr 22, 2004
Messages
37,042
Pink is a lighter toned red, which is why vivid (hot intense) pink exists.
 

Anne111

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 30, 2017
Messages
325
The question where pink ends and red begins is extremely subjective. For example, IMHO and on my monitor, your avatar Vividred has a good deal of pink in the red, less that Chrono's avatar for example.
 

VividRed

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 25, 2018
Messages
180
So are you saying that there isn’t a scientific way of differentiating pink from red? Unsaturated pure red is pink, right?
But pink can be fully saturated and therefore vivid...Help :mrgreen:
 

voce

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 13, 2018
Messages
2,309
So are you saying that there isn’t a scientific way of differentiating pink from red? Unsaturated pure red is pink, right?
But pink can be fully saturated and therefore vivid...Help :mrgreen:
I would say that saturation and color tone are different things. I think of saturation as the concentration of trace elements in the crystal and the evenness of color distribution. Tone, on the other hand, is more about what frequencies of light are transmitted to your eyes. Tone is related also to the concentration of the trace elements, but is more about interactions with perhaps other trace elements that modify the color you see.

Suppose that we are not talking about a pure single element affecting color in the crystal structure. Chromium causes red in rubies. I think of saturation as the concentration and the evenness of distribution of chromium. On the other hand, other trace elements could be present in the ruby, like iron and titanium.

Iron causes a brownish mask, and (I'm not as sure about titanium, but I think) titanium causes a grayish mask. These elements interact with the photons, to modify the wavelength of color your eye sees, which affects the tone.

I'm not a chemist by profession, but the university I attended gave me a very good education in the basics of science and engineering. If what I have said is wrong, someone please correct me from the scientific point of view. I find it very interesting that there are very saturated reds and very saturated pinks.
 

VividRed

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 25, 2018
Messages
180
Thank you @voce that’s very interesting, I always struggle to separate tone from saturation from a chemical standpoint (I know what they are in theory but not how they act in practice). So basically - in ruby - saturation is driven by concentration of e.g. cromium tone is driven by other trace elements that make the stone appear darker such as iron and titanium.
 

voce

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 13, 2018
Messages
2,309
Thank you @voce that’s very interesting, I always struggle to separate tone from saturation from a chemical standpoint (I know what they are in theory but not how they act in practice). So basically - in ruby - saturation is driven by concentration of e.g. cromium tone is driven by other trace elements that make the stone appear darker such as iron and titanium.
I think in the non-technical talk of the trade, it's easy to get confused about it. That's why I came up with something that makes sense to me.

I define saturation as the concentration and distribution of the color-causing trace element, and tone is more complicated. Tone is also determined by other non-primary trace elements that interact with the primary color inducing trace element to modify the band gap frequency of photons in the crystal structure. I define tone as the frequencies your eyes detect when those photons teach your eyes.

This is my theory that helps me think about the difference between saturation and tone. Different people probably understand the distinction differently.

I'm going to run with this as my understanding of the difference between saturation and tone, unless an expert is able to shed more light on the subject.
 
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