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Help locating a source for calibrated faceted Pigeon Blood rubies

rokor

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 30, 2021
Messages
31
Hey all! I've recently taken it upon myself to acquire a ruby bracelet in white gold(karat is yet to be determined) with the very specific Burmese "pigeon blood" hue. I fell in love with the colour when reading up on gems and decided to look into it more, and turns out it's rather in demand and/or rare. I'm looking to set a tennis bracelet with these unheated natural stones but I've been having difficulty nailing down a bulk order source for the roughly 50 stones I'd need(again, carat weight is to be determined by price of both bracelet setting and the stones themselves, but from what I've gathered I'd likely need about 35-50). I can find a ton of vendors on etsy, ebay, and alibaba that advertise their stones as Burmese Pigeon Blood but the price is either too good to be true ($40 a carat) or the hue is noticeably off. Often a combination of the two. I have found one source for these rubies but they are heat treated, which I suppose I can live with if it's the only available option. Pricing seems to be in the range of $200 a carat which is a little more than I was hoping to spend, but at least it seems realistic for natural stones. The vendor is Israel-Diamonds. Has anyone here had experience with them, or any other vendor which potentially has what I'm looking for at a lower price? Even if not cheaper, I'd like the ability to choose and not have to go with the single available source of which I have no expectations of if I don't have to.

Hopefully someone can offer some assistance, it'd be greatly appreciated!
 

rokor

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 30, 2021
Messages
31
The issue is I'm not quite certain at the moment. It's likely going to end up depending on the cost of the bracelet mount if I'm able to find a cheaper source for the stones. I'm currently hovering around the idea of a 5-6ct bracelet, so depending on the setting dimensions that would be about 45 stones making them roughly 3mm each, give or take a few 10ths of a centimeter.
 

rokor

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 30, 2021
Messages
31
Thank you for pointing me her way! I'll contact her to see if she can source a different hue of Burmese ruby(the ones she currently stocks are far too pink for me). I'm a little worried that if she can get what I'm looking for the price would be unattainable for me though, the pink ones are already 3x the price of their heated counterpart in a much more vivid red.
 

whitewave

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
10,837
I hope you have a bazillion dollars for this bracelet lol (joking).

Try Africagems.com and AJ’s in Bangkok. Maybe Ed with wildfishgems can source them? Just trying to think aloud.

But, yes, unheated and untreated is going to cost a bit of coin
 

rokor

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 30, 2021
Messages
31
You're right whitewave, after looking at some of the prices of unheated rubies on those vendor sites this very well may be my most expensive project to date, if I'm even able to afford to start it, haha. I'd still like to peruse my options before calling it quits though. Sureley there's a wholesale site that I've missed that's dealing with these types of stones? I'm in contact with a jeweler who is setting these types of stone into a pearl clasp for me, maybe he'd be willing to offer me a quote for the stones required.
 

MrsKMB

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
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Messages
688
Also, there might be an Instagram vendor with these. Try searching the tag rubymelee and you can see who has sold them in the past, then start hunting from there.
 

icy_jade

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
3,918
Am curious what your budget is. =)2

I saw a suite of unheated Burmese rubies (not pigeon blood) for a necklace last time and the price was quite astounding (6 figs). Granted the stones may be smaller for your bracelet project but unheated Burmese pigeon blood rubies still won’t come cheap...
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Jan 22, 2014
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5,028
The problem you will have is finding 35 to 50 similar sized rubies in the “same” shade/tone/hue as each other.
Wanting them all to be unheated Burmese rubies in the premium colour will add exponentially to the difficulty and the expense.
Nevertheless it will be a fun and fabulous journey for you to create your dream piece.
 

rokor

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 30, 2021
Messages
31
I'll definitely look into instagram vendors, thank you for that suggestion MrsKMB! As for my budget, I don't have one set in steel but I am definitely hoping to end up on the lower end. Ideally it'd be less than the 6 figures those stones cost icy_jade, haha. I suppose I have the option of buying these one at a time and with enough time I'll surely get the right stones, but unlike the diamonds I read about someone else here doing something similar with, pigeon blood rubies are actually a pretty big range of colours these days. You are entirely right Bron, it's going to take some work or a lot of money to get a large set of these stones. I'm patient and don't mind doing the research but I feel as though my well has run dry for matching sets. It's incredibly difficult to source these unheated and untreated let alone a matching lot of them. I was considering buying a larger stone and getting it cut at one point, but that is an economic disaster even if I opt for a bracelet in the 1-2ct range. I'll continue emailing different gem vendors and maybe look into different jewelers in the city once things open back up(we're on lockdown, again).
 

Mrs_Strizzle

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 14, 2018
Messages
881
I can't help with your journey to find unheated "pigeon blood" rubies, but wanted to say another option that is much easier to find is red spinels. I recently bought 6+cts of matching 2.5mm melee. They aren't pigeon blood shade, but perhaps they can be found. I too am thinking of a bracelet with these since it's too many for a ring and they are so pretty I want to be able to look at them!
 

rokor

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 30, 2021
Messages
31
Thank you for the suggestion Mrs_Strizzle, it’d definitely be an easier and more economic option to find a spinel vendor who has my preferred colour in stock. I do have the option of purchasing a parcel of unheated and untreated Burmese rubies but its quite a large size and not the exact colour I’m looking for at the moment. I suppose I have another question though, which I hope can be objectively answered. Is a Mozambique unheated and untreated ruby worth more/of higher potential investment value than a heated Burmese ruby?
 

voce

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 13, 2018
Messages
4,264
Mozambique unheated ruby vs Burmese heated ruby, it depends on the specific quality of the crystal of the rubies you're comparing, and also the size of each individual ruby.* I scoff at the notion of the word "objective", as investment grade rubies are typically rare enough, that each has to be evaluated individually, as they're really not interchangeable.

When you're evaluating the potential investment value, you need to consider not only the potential for price appreciation, which I suspect (all else being equal) is higher for wholesale finest quality untreated Mozambique ruby, but the price YOU the investor can acquire the asset at. In other words, it really does you no good if I say asset A has more potential for growth at the last traded price X if no one is willing to trade it to you today for price X. It's possible that the price they are willing to trade it to you (retail) will represent a lower ROI, which represents a less sound investment.

*For example, Mozambique unheated might cost more currently at the 1-ct mark than heated Burmese, but at the 10-ct mark heated Burmese costs more.

Also, @rokor, I hope you are asking about investment grade rubies separately from your bracelet rubies. A true investment gem, that you intend to buy as an investment, should be kept unset, because as illiquid as this type of asset is, you would be taking risks to set it, and it becomes even more illiquid if it's set (forcing you to sell at a discount if you need the cash flow sooner rather than waiting indefinitely for the right buyer to come at the right price), compared to if you leave the investment grade gem unset.
 
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rokor

Rough_Rock
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Jan 30, 2021
Messages
31
I appreciate the depth of your post voce. I'm only use the word objective in the scenario that both gems have similar enough cost, colour, clarity, size and any other variable that potentially affects the value other than treatment and region. This is of course an imaginary scenario but it would help me to understand a bit more about the value assigned to each region and treatment accordingly. I appreciate the example you provided for smaller vs larger stones, that does provide some insight.

I've also meant to ask about a bracelet mount for these stones. When I do eventually settle on a source I'd like to start work on this immediately, that means getting the right size bracelet mount, and so far my options on public auction sites and other online vendors is limited to getting a bracelet with mounted zirconia or other cheaper gem in 3mm and 4mm, anything more specific will take a number of inquiries and finding a specific size will be very difficult if the gems I acquire aren't something common like 3mm. Does anyone know of a wholesaler that allows the public access to their mounts? I spent some time trying to talk my way into an account with one of the bigger wholesalers online but that only should have ended in an "artisan" designation which prevents me from buying the actual mount I'd need, but unfortunately the files I sent them didn't quite meet the criteria(even though I sent exactly what they originally requested... strange). Any way, hopefully there's a more economical way of acquiring a bracelet than I've come across!
 

voce

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 13, 2018
Messages
4,264

Stuller makes settings for bracelets. Africa Gems and Cecile Raley Designs websites should have Stuller prices you can compare.
 

rokor

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 30, 2021
Messages
31
Stuller is the wholesaler I attempted to make an account with, unfortunately they're very picky when it comes to who they will sell to. I appreciate you directing me to those sites though voce, I'll definitely contact them! I also have a jeweler looking into slightly above commercial grade rubies for me from various suppliers which should run me about $1000/ct, I'm hoping he can source something similar in colour to the one I fell in love with otherwise I'll have to shell out likely 4 times that amount to get my perfect bracelet. I'm not sure I'm in a position to be doing that at the moment, especially when we're talking about 6-10 carats. I suppose I should have expected this to be a long term project even if I cut all the corners and do the work myself, it's just a shame I didn't end up going for a significantly cheaper stone haha.

EDIT: After perusing the sites mentioned by you, voce, I think the most economical option is to get a CZ or similar gemstone bracelet from the likes of ebay or etsy and replacing the stones. Some sellers are very comfortable with the idea of selling the mount separately as well, I was just hoping to avoid such a mark up if possible. Either way, these two options are significantly cheaper than the $1500-$2000 for a Stuller mount. I only hope the quality is fair enough, but I'll be sure to work with a seller who has a great return policy. If anyone has any other suggestions in the mean time I'm definitely open to them!
 
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voce

Ideal_Rock
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May 13, 2018
Messages
4,264
$1500-$2000 seems very reasonable pricing for a Stuller mount. I mean, if you're prepared to spend $$$$ on some real rubies, not lab, you might as well not put them in a (silver?) CZ mount. I wouldn't put much stock in the quality of those. When it comes to jewelry, I don't understand paying a lot for the stone and being cheap with the metal. It affects how you've jewelry is appraised (aka people will assume the rubies are lab or lower quality if the metal is baser). Here on PS with colored stones, it's usually the opposite, with cheaper stones in gold mounts. Has anyone set a top color natural paraiba tourmaline in silver?
 

rokor

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 30, 2021
Messages
31
I should've mentioned the bracelets I'm looking at placing these stones into are either 14k or 18k white gold. The quality being something I can't comment on until I see in person, but my logic is as long as the manufacturer knows what they're doing, and they appear to make thousands of these things at a time, then my bracelet won't fall apart unless it faces a lot of force. I intend to examine the links and over all casting quality before mounting the stones so I do have the opportunity to either return or reject the mount if it's not up to par. I don't intend to use silver for this project, I'm personally a fan of white gold and have a diamond tennis bracelet to compare the prospective mount against for quality control purposes. With all that said, I'm sure there's a quality difference between the Stuller mounts and the $600-$850 ebay mounts. I'm just hoping that quality difference isn't noticeable nor will it affect the lifespan of the finished product.

I did notice that though, voce. Many people tend to put rather ubiquitous stones into well made gold settings. I don't personally get the appeal because the first thing I notice is usually the stone, but to each their own!
 

Arcadian

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
7,896
I don't know of too many vendors selling untreated rubies in top color in parcel sizes of 52 stones at the size you're looking for, and those that have that top color...well you're going to be paying some high 6 figures for it, depending on location. With all the unrest right now in Myanmar, rubies from that part of the world are going to be hard to get.

You might (it could save you money) look at the secondary market. (RubyLane, 1st dibs, etc.) You ) where its very possible to find ruby at a fraction of what some vendors are selling, and, at that point, can even harvest those stones to make your bracelet. You may have to give leeway on some of your parameters.

Africagems might have calibrated stones. You don't know until you ask. Marc is good at helping on color though.

Mastercutgems has some on site but best to ask questions about them Not the parcle size you want though but always good to ask.
 

Mrs_Strizzle

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 14, 2018
Messages
881
OP, have you also considered the labor cost to set so many melee? I only mention it because you may be surprised how it is going to add up. Please don't take this offensively, but I'm a bit puzzled at what kind of project this is with investment grade rubies and then Stuller mount being too much. I'm not judging, as I LOVE a great deal and am known for telling people how cheap I got something (embarrassing hubby at times). Just know that your rubies will absolutely be judged my any jeweler and potential future buyer by the quality of the setting. Especially with a gemstone that needs credible lab reports to prove their value.
 

rokor

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 30, 2021
Messages
31
I plan to do the setting myself Mrs_Strizzle. I'm well versed with a micro motor so this is something that shouldn't be of too much difficulty. I also have a very reasonable quote from a jeweler in case things don't turn out as planned, so that aspect is accounted for. I may be wrong in this assumption, but as long as the same metals are used and the same techniques applied, won't the quality of the two comparative mounts be identical? The only issue I potentially see would be quality control coming out of the ebay seller's mounts, but I'd be sure to opt for a seller with a good return policy and this is if I even do decide to go the ebay/etsy route with preplaced stones. I'm just hesitant to pay $2000+ for a mount that can in theory be bought for a quarter of that, but maybe my logic is skewed. I will also contact some reputable benches for a quote on a custom mount and add that to my list of options, but at the moment I'm still navigating every crevice of the internet for a medium/top grade parcel of rubies in my required number range, which I may have accidentally stumbled upon when looking for local jewelers. I already managed to create an account for their general inventory but if the advertising has anything to say about it I have a direct line to jeweler grade gemstones now. The pros of living in a big city I suppose, time will tell! I'm maintaining a positive outlook until I have reason not to, I'm sure a $2-3k/ct ruby will make me happy in all the ways I was expecting when I first started researching this project.
 

voce

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 13, 2018
Messages
4,264
It's still not clear to me whether you're going for a parcel of calibrated sizes for the bracelet or a single stone. There probably is somewhere in the world you can buy a white gold bracelet mount for $500 but not the USA if you're going for new. You can't use the melt price because the casting takes energy, equipment, labor to do, and in the US labor costs are higher. I don't even think Daniel M, the best low budget custom jeweler, can cast a bracelet from CAD and sell it to you for merely a quarter of $2k.

Since you haven't really made public your exact ask as to number of stones and budget for the rubies, I'm not going to share the parcel that I found...

I have a pipe dream to do a custom design (glamorous necklace) with those rubies, and it may happen if I get a nice bonus at the end of the year.
 

rokor

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 30, 2021
Messages
31
I'm sure I've mentioned that I'm going for a parcel of roughly 50-60 stones voce, I assume you got the idea of a single stone when talk of investment grade rubies came up. There is in fact a seller based out of the US who can supply me a 3mm CZ filled 14k bracelet for roughly $500(I'd have to double check, I'm sure it's under $600 though) and the same cost for the mount without the stones. My initial goal was to create a 4ct tennis bracelet, but this gradually escalated to a 6-7ct bracelet when I noticed the popularity of the 3mm setting size. My budget has been clearly stated as non existent, in that I don't have a set number I'd like to stop at once things get close. This isn't to say I have 100k to spend on a bracelet, but I'd like to make a good quality beautiful piece of jewelry and I'm very familiar with the current prices for top colour unheated Burmese rubies under 1ct each. If I was to put a number on the quality I'm aiming for from these stones I'd say a high 6 to low 8 would be appropriate on a scale of 10. I'm even open to the idea of a 4mm mount if I fall in love with a cheaper ruby, but anything past that would be garish in my opinion and be more than what I'd be comfortable wearing daily or for formal events.

Voce, is there any way this particular parcel would suit some of my needs? If so, I'd love to at least take a look at it to consider(I'm assuming the price is rather high) and maybe even offer to split the parcel if enough stones are available for the both of us. I'm definitely intrigued but it may be partly due to the fact you aren't comfortable sharing it with me, haha.
 

Cerulean

Brilliant_Rock
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Sep 13, 2019
Messages
1,523
I don’t mean to be presumptuous or rude - but I am still confused as to why you are seeking such an inexpensive setting for such a lavish project. And furthermore - why would you set investment grade rubies yourself? Are you in the trade? If so - your profile should say so?

I just cannot fathom spending 10s of thousands on investment grade gems and trying to DIY a cheap setting.

I am a painter and know how to do basic woodworking and build frames. That doesn’t mean if I came into a very valuable and very rare work of art that I’d begin to consider attempting an archive-quality mounting and framing job by myself. I also wouldn’t frame it with cheap pine 2x4s, I’d get a beautiful, varnished oak frame that was done by a real professional
 

rokor

Rough_Rock
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Jan 30, 2021
Messages
31
I should have made note of how personal this project is to me, and that I set out to achieve all the steps on my own as opposed to paying a jeweller a bunch of money to get it done for me for a reason. The main thing with the mount is that I’m convinced I can get a level of quality on par with Stuller or similar enough to not become an issue for 25% of the price. If I’m wrong then I’ll go ahead and get the “high quality” mount, but again, same materials and same techniques should in theory cause the same outcome. Im of course assuming those things, but I’m new to the varying levels of quality to be expected from etsy and ebay sellers so I very well may be missing something. I’ve been working on fine and delicate projects with mini motors since I was about 9 years old and Im currently studying art for the third time and have a history in mathematics. I’m comfortable approaching this situation with the delicacy and time it needs, I wouldn’t consider myself just another DIYer. But as I’ve said, I have a jeweller on standby who can take over at any time. I would just really enjoy getting this puzzle put together without a formal professional’s help. Icy_jade, thank you for that bit of information, I suppose it makes sense for smaller parcels as thats what they do when matching pearl strands as well. I’ll see if that leads me anywhere!

In the mean time, does anyone have any first hand experience setting a tennis bracelet? I imagine the tight spaces between the prongs may pose a slight issue but I don’t expect to come across any other difficulties. Please correct me if I’m way off!
 

Cerulean

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
1,523
I should have made note of how personal this project is to me, and that I set out to achieve all the steps on my own as opposed to paying a jeweller a bunch of money to get it done for me for a reason. The main thing with the mount is that I’m convinced I can get a level of quality on par with Stuller or similar enough to not become an issue for 25% of the price. If I’m wrong then I’ll go ahead and get the “high quality” mount, but again, same materials and same techniques should in theory cause the same outcome. Im of course assuming those things, but I’m new to the varying levels of quality to be expected from etsy and ebay sellers so I very well may be missing something. I’ve been working on fine and delicate projects with mini motors since I was about 9 years old and Im currently studying art for the third time and have a history in mathematics. I’m comfortable approaching this situation with the delicacy and time it needs, I wouldn’t consider myself just another DIYer. But as I’ve said, I have a jeweller on standby who can take over at any time. I would just really enjoy getting this puzzle put together without a formal professional’s help. Icy_jade, thank you for that bit of information, I suppose it makes sense for smaller parcels as thats what they do when matching pearl strands as well. I’ll see if that leads me anywhere!

In the mean time, does anyone have any first hand experience setting a tennis bracelet? I imagine the tight spaces between the prongs may pose a slight issue but I don’t expect to come across any other difficulties. Please correct me if I’m way off!

Okay, so as a fellow artist and technician of sorts I would expect you to appreciate that there are varying levels of skill and craftsmanship and price differences aren’t just about arbitrarily increased margin...buying a mount and “DIYing”, whether you have related experience or not, is still just DIYing to me. You are not a professional jeweler. It takes years of specialized training. I’m puzzled by the whole approach frankly but I wish you the best of luck on your endeavor.
 

rokor

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 30, 2021
Messages
31
It comes down to shaving a small crevice into each prong and then applying a bit of pressure all the way around, it’s really that simple and it’s covered a dozen different ways in a 40 minute youtube video. I’ve been watching these videos and reading up on everything else prong related when I exhausted that specific topic’s field of references after a few hours because there just isn’t that much that goes into it. I’ll probably even take the precaution of acquiring a magnified lens even though I likely won’t need it. I’d have more trouble stringing a set of pearls(something I’ll be undertaking next week). Please don’t take this the wrong way Cerulean, but you're being almost cartoonishly over dramatic when it comes to a task like this. I’d really wish a skilled jeweller could chime in and offer an opinion on the matter just to lay it to bed, surely we have some regulars on this forum? But I’ll take your comment whole heartedly and thank you for wishing me luck, which is something I do need if Im going to source these stones without paying a broker or jeweller for the service.
 

voce

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 13, 2018
Messages
4,264
I'm sure a $2-3k/ct ruby will make me happy in all the ways I was expecting when I first started researching this project.

My confusion comes from your own words. You say a (singular) $2-3k/ct ruby will make you happy, then say you want a parcel of 50-60 stones. The parcel I had in mind is roughly 24 stones, 21 calibrated marquis and 3 of another shape near the 1-ct mark. The entire parcel is more suited for a necklace imo than a bracelet, and I would not want the larger rubies if you take the smaller ones, it would be all or nothing for me, as I would either use it for a custom necklace, or not at all. By practical considerations, such as the fact that they are marquis and more difficult to set, while you want to set them yourself, and that you'd have stones left over, I don't think that this parcel is for you.

Word of advice? If you want to DIY with setting, get a batch of calibrated rounds. The larger the rounds, the fewer you'd have to set, but the more difficult to find. 2mm rounds are fairly common. Rounds are easiest to set.

Also, if you've already got a 14k CZ bracelet mount you're going to repurpose, you need to know what size/shape the CZ is. It wouldn't look good to have rounds or ovals in a bracelet designed for rectangular CZ, for instance. And supposing the bracelet is designed for round gems, the gems you buy are ideally the same diameter as the gems you are replacing, as even with tweaking the most experienced jewelers can only make the setting work if your sourced rubies are within 0.5mm of the original stones the bracelet was designed for.

You have to realize you are doing things the exact opposite way that connoisseur American consumers on PS would. We would get the stones first, looking for the stones within a stated budget, then find the setting, and we're willing to pay for quality custom work, in order to showcase the stones to the greatest effect.

You're coming in here with all these constraints on how much you're willing to spend on the setting, without having locked down the stones to fit your setting. With your approach, you should be sourcing some lab rubies, as natural rubies are rare enough that nobody can assure you that a parcel of 50-60 natural rubies well matched in color EXISTS in the world that fits your bracelet mount, if you cannot provide hard specifications such as the dimension and shape you need for each calibrated ruby.
 
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