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Most likely synthetic ruby - to GIA or not

Alkonost

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
8
Hi guys,
first post here, would be interested to see your opinions.

I bought a ruby online, which looked vaguely included in the photos and video for 200 dollars, 0,65 Ct. However when it arrived, it looked too clean and translucent. And I think I see bubbles in the photo? myruby.jpeg
I let the seller know that it looks way too flawless to be real, especially for that price, and he offered me to return the stone for a refund.

However. Around the same time the seller listed another ruby, also from Mozambique, also absolutely flawless looking, about 1 Ct, and that one was certified by GIA as a natural, no heat ruby. This one is listed for over 2000 USD. Picture included
2000ruby.jpeg
I called out the seller on not trying to list my 200 dollar ruby for a rather similar in the thousands price since they are so similarly flawless, and he said that before he sent the 2000 USD ruby to GIA he showed it to two different gemologists in Thailand who 'were not able to conclude for certain if the ruby was natural or synthetic', which is why he sent it to GIA who reported it's natural.
When I mentioned the possibility that I might send mine to GIA as well and that I'd expect a refund AND to be compensated for the gem report cost if it indicates the stone is synthetic or heavily treated, the seller did not object and said he would be willing to compensate both.

Now I am pretty torn. If I just send the stone back and something goes wrong in the process, I can start a Paypal dispute to be refunded. If I also go through with the GIA certification and the stone is synthetic, I can't be sure I actually will get compensated for the cost of the report and the rather expensive shipping involved.

What would you do in my situation? Return the stone and ask for the refund, or send it to GIA?
 

peacechick

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2013
Messages
1,427
Can you try taking photos of this stone yourself so we know what you’re seeing? From the face up directly, not at an angle. Vendor pics usually show stones at an angle that hide flaws.
 

Alkonost

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
8
Please excuse the horrible photography. We were planning to buy a microscope possibly next week so if anyone can read inclusions I could see if I can take microscope photos. The stone is rather small, 6x5 mm. Looks eye clean except for 2-3 minor specks that could be bubbles, but since I don't have a loupe can't be sure if this is what they are. I'd say it's eye clean.
1.jpg
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 22, 2014
Messages
5,150
If you raise a dispute with PayPal for “not as described” you are likely to need to “prove” it isn’t as described. This would require a gemologist report or similar saying the stone isn’t natural. Arguing over treatment levels might be a bit more complicated. If PayPal finds in your favour they will refund you the amount you paid to the vendor. PayPal will not require the vendor to cover any extra costs ie the cost of a gem report. That will be entirely up to the vendor and you to sort out.
No vendor sells a $2,000 ruby for $200.
It is most probable that your stone isn’t lab created more likely a glass filled ruby or possibily even a doublet (that a sliver of ruby stuck to red crystal bottom section). Both types of “gems” produce tell tale round shape air bubbles. It could also be tourmaline, in the absence of any documentation it could be anything.
Your vendor will deny any wrongdoing, he will say he was told it was natural, thats it’s a complete surprise to him that it’s glass filled!
Nope, he knows, otherwise it’s a $2,000 ruby which he would sell for $2,000.
it’s up to you but I would contact the vendor and ask for a straight refund.
 

Alkonost

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
8
Nutellakitty, just mine looks like a tourmaline or both? If it was a tourmaline (a rubellite, for specifically) I'd keep it for that price anyway cos I was planning to buy one :) Would be stupid to send it to GIA though in this case...

What color is it supposed to change to under UV light? Synthetics don't change under UV light?
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 22, 2014
Messages
5,150
You can get a uv flashlight for $6 and see if the color changes under that light. If not likely a synthetic ruby.

Lab grown rubies and heavily treated rubies will still fluoresce under UV light so you can’t differentiate between natural, lab and treated rubies with a UV Light. It can rule out Garnet or Tourmaline as they don’t fluoresce under UV.
 

Alkonost

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
8
Bron357, I was thinking along the same bottom lines as you. Just out of interest, if this turned out to be not a synthetic but a glass-filled ruby or a doublet, what would it be worth?
 

nutellakitty

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 5, 2021
Messages
83
Bron357, I was thinking along the same bottom lines as you. Just out of interest, if this turned out to be not a synthetic but a glass-filled ruby or a doublet, what would it be worth?

Synthetic/BE heat/Glass filled ruby are like $20 per carat.
 

MjK1

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 29, 2021
Messages
282
Synthetic/BE heat/Glass filled ruby are like $20 per carat.

AND they are junk. They are not stable, in a couple of years you could have a tiny pile of red powder...
 

peacechick

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2013
Messages
1,427
This is not a pleasing stone, whether natural or not. There is a huge window that will not be improved by setting. By windowing, I mean you will see through the middle at all times as the depth is too shallow. Imo it is not worth the money it takes to send to GIA.

I would return it, no questions asked.
 

lilmosun

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
1,870
Sometimes you have to go with your gut.

If you trust the seller and his/her knowledge -and- love the stone, I might risk it. But it doesn't sound like this is the case.
 
Last edited:

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 22, 2014
Messages
5,150
If the seller has a similar but certified ruby for $2,000, why didn’t/doesn’t he spend the $85 odd dollars for a gem brief on that one so he can sell that one for say $1,750 instead of a mere $200?
He doesn’t want to spend $85 on a gem brief to know it’s worth $20.
Hes pretending ignorance so he can get $200 instead of $20 and not because he wants to sell you a $1,750 gem for only $200.
glass filled / lab grown, $20 a carat at best.
There is nothing wrong with lab grown btw, its The exact same material as natural and at a much much more pocket friendly price BUT you want to be paying for and knowing what you are buying.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
10,663
@Daisys and Diamonds, absolutely will do and thank you! I am also really glad I found this forum and I think I will be lurking here from now on.

Ive only been here a short time but everyone is so generouse with shearing information and are also really freindly
Its been a really enjoyable way to fill in some time durring lockdown etc
 

MissSarah

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Messages
223
AND they are junk. They are not stable, in a couple of years you could have a tiny pile of red powder...

I have to disagree on this. While lead glass filled ones are definitely a high risk for damage because it is a clarity enhancement and disguising fractures, Be is a color enhancing treatment that hasn't been shown to affect the durability of a stone and isn't used to fill fractures. Be stones get a bad rep because it was not properly disclosed in the past, but there are some reputable vendors who do sell gems with that treatment. And, according to GIA, a combination of Be color enhancement and lead filling is rare because Pb + Be + heat can create highly toxic gas.
 

MjK1

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 29, 2021
Messages
282
I have to disagree on this. While lead glass filled ones are definitely a high risk for damage because it is a clarity enhancement and disguising fractures, Be is a color enhancing treatment that hasn't been shown to affect the durability of a stone and isn't used to fill fractures. Be stones get a bad rep because it was not properly disclosed in the past, but there are some reputable vendors who do sell gems with that treatment. And, according to GIA, a combination of Be color enhancement and lead filling is rare because Pb + Be + heat can create highly toxic gas.

The problem I have is the consumer can't tell what percent ruby and what percent filler they are getting. I have seen rubies so badly fractured they are barely holding together filled and look like a fairly nice stone. What happens when the stone gets knocked ? Is glass as durable as ruby? Nope.
The problem with disclosure has mostly been fixed when dealing with rep vendors. Buy off ebay and god knows what you are getting, but that holds true with many things I guess.
If I want a glass stone, that is what I will buy, realizing that it is not going to be as durable as corundum.
 

MissSarah

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Messages
223
The problem I have is the consumer can't tell what percent ruby and what percent filler they are getting. I have seen rubies so badly fractured they are barely holding together filled and look like a fairly nice stone. What happens when the stone gets knocked ? Is glass as durable as ruby? Nope.
The problem with disclosure has mostly been fixed when dealing with rep vendors. Buy off ebay and god knows what you are getting, but that holds true with many things I guess.
If I want a glass stone, that is what I will buy, realizing that it is not going to be as durable as corundum.

Oh yeah. I understand what you're saying about filled stones. But I felt it was important to point out beryllium diffused ones (Be stones) shouldn't be lumped with glass filled stones- as they are as durable as any other high heat sapphire or ruby.

Be corundum isn't filled, but is heated in the presence of beryllium (usually with chrysoberyl) to modify the color. To be honest, for people who don't have a problem with the natural color being dramatically altered, Be stones can be a really affordable substitute for someone who wants a ruby that specifically is not glass filled. They're actually a way to not to end up with a pile of red dust in a few years.
 
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