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Ruby Treatment Question (Can anyone help?)

tapio

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I have found a lovely little 1.49 ct Burmese ruby. The first picture is of the stone in natural sunlight. It's very beautiful. I got it checked out by GIA and it came back as Burmese Heated (minor residue). The price prior to having the GIA cert was $8.5k Now the cert has come back I would like to ask anyone in the know: is this Burmese Ruby worth the retail price of $8.5k? If it was Burmese pigeon blood unheated I realize it could go for $15k/carat. I also realize that almost all rubies have some form of treatment and that many jewelers older stock is treated and the jewelers do not realize this. Trade practices change. I'm also aware that finding true Burmese rubies untreated is as rare as hen's teeth. I've enclosed a picture of this stone beside 4 smaller rubies that are GIA certified Burmese Origin Pigeon Blood and no treatment for comparison. I've also enclosed a picture of the excellent fluorescence from all five stones. I'm open to thoughtful opinions. Is this Burmese Ruby worth the retail price of $8.5k?
Ruby copy.JPG 1.49 ct copy.jpg ruby 5.jpg IMG_5271 copy.jpg
 

Dhillon

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It's not only heated but also flux treated to heal fractures and growth tubes. If you insert the GIA report number at GIA.edu you will see a tab saying "treatment" which you can enter to see more information about the treatment.

Worth reading:
 

lilmosun

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What @Dhillon brings to light might be surprising to some but my understanding is that adding flux in the heating process for rubies is a common process - like oiling emeralds. (I think like many, I was surprised when I first learned this).

I think I read somewhere that it's hard to tell that a ruby has been heated without the residue (not sure)....but most reports heated Burmese rubies will have some residue. Heated with minor residue is acceptable by most.

This should not be confused with lead glass filled rubies (which is not considered acceptable by most here)

I don't know anything about ruby pricing but it's very pretty stone! Maybe someone who knows more about rubies can chime in.
 
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LilAlex

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I think I read somewhere that it's hard to tell that a ruby has been heated without the residue (not sure)....but most reports heated Burmese rubies will have some residue. Heated with minor residue is acceptable by most.
We may look at different stuff, you and I, but I think it is rare for a flux-filled ruby to ever make it to a reputable lab. So, no, I do not think it is common to see a top report that describes heating and residue for a ruby. Totally different than for emerald -- and that's mostly oil.

I would not touch a flux-filled ruby with a ten-foot pole -- and especially not with your nice-sized budget. But I would buy a pretty Colombian emerald with up to minor enhancement.
 

lilmosun

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We may look at different stuff, you and I, but I think it is rare for a flux-filled ruby to ever make it to a reputable lab. So, no, I do not think it is common to see a top report that describes heating and residue for a ruby. Totally different than for emerald -- and that's mostly oil.

I would not touch a flux-filled ruby with a ten-foot pole -- and especially not with your nice-sized budget. But I would buy a pretty Colombian emerald with up to minor enhancement.
Here is one article that I posted on another thread. I was surprised myself when I learned of it because I always considered the addition of flux was not acceptable...only to find that today it is basically part of the heating process for most rubies.


I should stay off any discussions on rubies, because I am not an expert by any means. The only I spoke up was to clarify that it is a common treatment today (and I still stand by that it is stated as such in both by my link and @Dhillon ).

I once posted what "minor residues" meant, similar to @Dhillon and got push back for not (correctly) clarifying that this treatment is stable not to be confused with lead-glass filling and other treatments found in low quality rubies. https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/ruby-cocktail-ring.256798/#post-4742205

So while it may not be acceptable to some (just as some want oil only -not modern fillers- in emeralds) it is a treatment that most rubies go through today as part of the heating process.

Maybe someone who has some expertise on ruby treatments, which I do not, can educate us and put this to rest?
 
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LilAlex

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Here is one article that I posted on another thread. I was surprised myself when I learned of it because I always considered the addition of flux was not acceptable...only to find that today it is basically part of the heating process for most rubies.

Rubies: Market Effect of Origin & Treatments, Pricing &Disclosure
That is from a trade publication/website. Nothing wrong with AGTA but it's like a Chamber of Commerce -- they're presumably not in the business of offending their dues-paying constituency.
 

Arcadian

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I personally don't find flux acceptable, which is why I have so few rubies! I won't buy a ruby without a report but then again I have a total of 1 ruby which is is a cab, was old stock when I purchased, opaque but no heat) If disclosed, you now have options to decide what you find acceptable or not, so its an individual thing.

No disclosure is where I have the biggest issue.

Prices of rubies are all over the place.
 

lilmosun

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I think it is rare for a flux-filled ruby to ever make it to a reputable lab. So, no, I do not think it is common to see a top report that describes heating and residue for a ruby. Totally different than for emerald -- and that's mostly oil.
Apologies if I sound defensive if I keep disagreeing --I am as interested in better understanding this as the OP because I remember being surprised to learn this...although it seemed to be confirmed by many sources.

Would you consider AGL as an authority?

Another topic that came to light was the manner or description in which the healing of fissures during the heating process of rubies was being handled. This topic has been a contentious one for more than a decade. As part of the heating process for rubies, it is common practice to coat the stones in a variety of fluxing agents.


I personally don't find flux acceptable, which is why I have so few rubies! I won't buy a ruby without a report but then again I have a total of 1 ruby which is is a cab, was old stock when I purchased, opaque but no heat) If disclosed, you now have options to decide what you find acceptable or not, so its an individual thing.

No disclosure is where I have the biggest issue.

Prices of rubies are all over the place.
I prefer spinels over rubies for much the same reason....and personally would not spend this kind of money on a flux treated stone. But IF I really wanted a 1+ carat faceted ruby, I would personally consider a well priced heat treated with minor residue as unheated is out of my budget. Personally I would not spend $7K/carat for a flux treated stone, but that's outside of my budget for most stones and as @Arcadian said ruby prices are all over the place.

But like anything it is a matter of personal preference combined with budget as to what is is acceptable and what is not. As such, I think the value in PS is to share knowledge and let folks decide for themselves.
 
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2Neezers

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For a price reference, here‘s a Burmese Ruby that’s heated with moderate residues from Gemfix (the GIA report is linked to their listing).
I once purchased a ruby that was believed to be heat only, but when sent in to AGL ended up having residues. I was initially troubled by it, but spoke directly with the rep at AGL and was told that it is quite common to find residues in rubies. The AGL rep told me that flux is put in the crucibles when heating rubies so they don’t stick together, and the flux then gets trapped in larger fissures that the rubies may have. She said it is a step down from heat only, but is completely different from glass-filled or other treatments that majorly devalue rubies. After speaking with her I did my own research and found that many of the reputable sellers that send rubies off to the labs are selling rubies that are heated with residues. I believe it’s common and generally acceptable outside of PS, but you would have to decide how you feel about it. I do think the price of your stone is on the high side.
 

LilAlex

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Apologies if I sound defensive if I keep disagreeing --I am as interested in better understanding this as the OP because I remember being surprised to learn this...although it seemed to be confirmed by many sources.

Would you consider AGL as an authority?

Another topic that came to light was the manner or description in which the healing of fissures during the heating process of rubies was being handled. This topic has been a contentious one for more than a decade. As part of the heating process for rubies, it is common practice to coat the stones in a variety of fluxing agents.
I'm sure you can find any number of references to this practice. It is widespread. Do you think that AGL is advocating for this? Or merely pointing it out?

Is your point that it's common? Of course it's common.

Or is your point that it's "OK"? It's OK and expected in "mall" jewelry. Most here would say that it is not OK for an informed consumer. If you have an $800 budget, you're gonna get flux-filled. If you have an $8,000 budget, you'd be nuts to buy that, imo.

I don't think that's what you want to hear so you can keep combing the internet to learn how widespread this practice is. I will stop now. =)2
 

lilmosun

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I'm sure you can find any number of references to this practice. It is widespread. Do you think that AGL is advocating for this? Or merely pointing it out?

Is your point that it's common? Of course it's common.

Or is your point that it's "OK"? It's OK and expected in "mall" jewelry. Most here would say that it is not OK for an informed consumer. If you have an $800 budget, you're gonna get flux-filled. If you have an $8,000 budget, you'd be nuts to buy that, imo.

I don't think that's what you want to hear so you can keep combing the internet to learn how widespread this practice is. I will stop now. =)2
Please do not speak for me or suggest that one needs to stop because of "what I want to hear".

I never said it was "okay" or that the price was okay...but merely disagreeing with your statement that it was "rare" or "uncommon" because I found that was misleading. Okay is in the eyes of the beholder.
 

LilAlex

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I never said it was "okay" or that the price was okay...but merely disagreeing with your statement that it was "rare" or "uncommon" because I found that was misleading.
I did not say that flux-filling was a rare practice. It is not.

I said this:

"We may look at different stuff, you and I, but I think it is rare for a flux-filled ruby to ever make it to a reputable lab. So, no, I do not think it is common to see a top report that describes heating and residue for a ruby."
 

Bron357

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Untreated rubies are rarer because most rubies can and are improved with heat. Especially more recent Burmese finds as the quality for the most part is lower than in the past.
Level of treatment is a sensitive subject. It can be difficult to quantify, how minor is minor? For this reason purists will only accept an untreated ruby and because these are rare, the price reflects it.
Is an unheated Pigeon blood Burmese ruby “worth“ $10k or $20k a $50k a carat? People pay these prices.
Are they crazy?
If you want an “investment” Ruby you want unheated Burmese over 2 carats (preferably over 5 carats) of top colour. These are very rare and very very expensive.
If you want a beautiful Ruby in a ring to wear and enjoy you want heat only OR a lab grown ruby. The reason for this is that highly treated “natural” rubies aka glass filled are total rubbish.
As for the ruby in question, if you love it and that’s a price you’re happy to pay, why not. A second lab report (AGL, Swiss Lab, Guebelin) might be advisable, GIA isn’t known as a coloured gem specialist.
 

minousbijoux

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I'm sure you can find any number of references to this practice. It is widespread. Do you think that AGL is advocating for this? Or merely pointing it out?

Is your point that it's common? Of course it's common.

Or is your point that it's "OK"? It's OK and expected in "mall" jewelry. Most here would say that it is not OK for an informed consumer. If you have an $800 budget, you're gonna get flux-filled. If you have an $8,000 budget, you'd be nuts to buy that, imo.

I don't think that's what you want to hear so you can keep combing the internet to learn how widespread this practice is. I will stop now. =)2
Hi @LilAlex: I'm sure your intentions were good in writing this, but sometimes it's hard to correctly read the tone when it is written. To me, your post came across as a bit ascerbic and pointed, whether you meant to or not. Thought you might appreciate the feedback.

Over the years of being on this forum, I have known of quite a few PSers who sent rubies off to the lab and found them to have minor residues. No one seeks out stones with minor residues, but I think one of @lilmosun's points was that sometimes stones get tainted by the process used in heating, whether or not they warranted treatment. (Not too dissimilar from when some corundums were testing positive for Beryllium because of residues left behind by other stones - don't know if this still happens these days).
 

LilAlex

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Hi @LilAlex: I'm sure your intentions were good in writing this, but sometimes it's hard to correctly read the tone when it is written. To me, your post came across as a bit ascerbic and pointed, whether you meant to or not. Thought you might appreciate the feedback.
I suspect you read it correctly. Thank you for the feedback.

Over the years of being on this forum, I have known of quite a few PSers who sent rubies off to the lab and found them to have minor residues. No one seeks out stones with minor residues, but I think one of @lilmosun's points was that sometimes stones get tainted by the process used in heating, whether or not they warranted treatment. (Not too dissimilar from when some corundums were testing positive for Beryllium because of residues left behind by other stones - don't know if this still happens these days).
I don't think this is likely to be correct. I strongly suspect that this explanation gets tossed around a lot, though -- accidentally got some beryllium and/or flux on my corundum. My bad! Makes 'em look way better -- oops! If I knew this would knock 90% off the value of my product, I would probably be somewhat careful. Maybe I'd even keep one of my many crucibles clean for this very purpose.

There is clearly a never-ending arms race between the sellers in the mining markets/locales and the third-party grading entities (GIA, AGL, etc.). It is exactly like the doping and anti-doping forces in professional sport. You do what you can get away with until you can't.

You have a lot more posts than I do.You may be less familiar with how almost every other unregulated international industry works. Nothing happens by accident to enhance the appearance of the merchandise =)2
 

tapio

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It's not only heated but also flux treated to heal fractures and growth tubes. If you insert the GIA report number at GIA.edu you will see a tab saying "treatment" which you can enter to see more information about the treatment.

Worth reading:
Thank you. This is informative.
 

tapio

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Thank you everyone for your comments. They are valid and I appreciate various perspectives. This is a difficult and contentious issue. I continue to be open to more comments to help my understanding of rubies.
 

PieAreSquared

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That is from a trade publication/website. Nothing wrong with AGTA but it's like a Chamber of Commerce -- they're presumably not in the business of offending their dues-paying constituency.
Well, @LilAlex, I'm sure we would all like to know what your superior credentials are, since you obviously know much more than laboratories, trade organizations, photographers, etc...

It's dogmatic statements like the ones you make that give the rest of PSers a bad reputation.
 

LilAlex

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Well, @LilAlex, I'm sure we would all like to know what your superior credentials are, since you obviously know much more than laboratories, trade organizations, photographers, etc...

It's dogmatic statements like the ones you make that give the rest of PSers a bad reputation.
See, this is way nastier than anything I would ever post. Where's minousbijoux now?=)2

This type of "dogmatic statement" you refer to is known as a "fact." They're still out there.

I did not say that I know more than AGTA. Please re-read what you wrote and what I wrote. And look up what a trade association is. You seem to think it is a public service. AGTA describes itself this way: "The American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) is an association of United States and Canadian trade professionals." It is an organization comprised of gem sellers. It is not an independent lab like GIA or AGL. You think the AGTA represents the buyer's interests? Like every other "inside" trade association, they hope to keep the industry just clean enough so that people are reasonably comfortable buying more stuff.

I don't think I know "much more" than everyone else here but I'll venture that I know much more than a few ;)2. I know a little about business and a little about photography. And color and light. And science. Why does that make you so angry and why do you take this so personally? I don't understand.

Anyway, thank you for your efforts to police the integrity of PS.
 

PieAreSquared

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:confused: Angry? Nope. :)

Glad you "know a little about business and a little about photography. And color and light. And science." That puts you in the same boat as everyone else, doesn't it? No reason to get defensive when some don't agree with your "facts". ;)2
 

deorwine

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I did not say that flux-filling was a rare practice. It is not.

I said this:

"We may look at different stuff, you and I, but I think it is rare for a flux-filled ruby to ever make it to a reputable lab. So, no, I do not think it is common to see a top report that describes heating and residue for a ruby."
I guess I am wondering, what is a reputable lab and what do you mean by "rare"? Because @minousbijoux has mentioned cases where she knows of rubies with residues making it to what she thinks are reputable labs (she doesn't name them, but I assume GIA/AGL).

In any case, to the original question, here is a comp from Mastercut Gems. This one also has an AGL report which I assume counts as a reputable lab -- which also gives the lie to your statement that it's rare for these rubies to make it to reputable labs (IDK, maybe you mean a brief isn't generally what you get for a top ruby, but then maybe say that?) -- in fact, I suspect (though this is only my personal opinion based on seeing residues more often in the stock of sellers I respect) that we're seeing this more often now because a lot of old stock without such residue has been sold.

This comp is 1.07 ct for $1850 with residues. Dana is a very honest guy who isn't going to be gouging anyone; in fact he sells on very much the lower end of retail, so I'm going to go out and say that this is on the low side of what you might expect to pay these days for a 1-ct ruby WITH CLARITY RESIDUES. (Sure, no one would think this would be reasonable ten years ago. Alas, those days are gone.)

Extrapolating to OP's ruby is a bit difficult because of differences in carat and color, but I would think maybe $4-5k would be reasonable? $8k does seem a bit on the high side unless you're paying for curating (e.g., that seems more reasonable for a known curator of beautiful gemstones, like All That Glitters). I'd be interested in seeing a better comp closer to OP's ruby, if anyone has one.
 

LilAlex

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:confused: Angry? Nope. :)

Glad you "know a little about business and a little about photography. And color and light. And science." That puts you in the same boat as everyone else, doesn't it? No reason to get defensive when some don't agree with your "facts".
You came on this thread to contribute nothing and simply meta-comment on how smart I think I am. Do you remember? Your only addition to this thread was to insult me and say I give PS a bad name (whatever that means). Please just block my posts so we can both be spared from this.

I'm not defensive -- you just have a short memory. You asked for my credentials (scroll up a little). In lieu of that, I made a general statement. Facts don't require credentials. You can look them up. Love the ironic Einstein quote ;)2. Cheers, mate!
 

LilAlex

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This one also has an AGL report which I assume counts as a reputable lab -- which also gives the lie to your statement that it's rare for these rubies to make it to reputable labs (IDK, maybe you mean a brief isn't generally what you get for a top ruby, but then maybe say that?) -- in fact, I suspect (though this is only my personal opinion based on seeing residues more often in the stock of sellers I respect) that we're seeing this more often now because a lot of old stock without such residue has been sold.
One instance makes it not rare? Giant blue diamonds aren't rare -- I saw one at the Smithsonian. =)2

Sellers are not dumb. They know what they have. They generally do not submit their flux-filled rubies for prestigious reports -- because who wants to confirm adulteration? Buyers almost never submit their purchases for independent reports -- and for buyers who buy cheap flux-filled rubies, it has to be near zero. So buyers are unlikely to do it and so are sellers. So who else is gonna submit all these flux-filled rubies?

Forum members here have got to be the most OCD consumers when it comes to their colored stones -- and I would venture that most of us have never personally submitted a stone for a report.

I'm sure there are hundreds or thousands of reports of flux-filled rubies -- but that's a minority of top-tier reports.

The prevalence of reports confirming flux-filling has no bearing on whether it is "acceptable" practice or not. The point upthread was that just because trade associations describe this as "common practice" does not make it acceptable. There was a time when it was common practice to roll back odometers -- everyone in the industry knew it. A decade or two ago, it was common practice in China to adulterate infant formula with poisonous melamine to increase the "protein" content. Trade associations and their publications serve useful purposes. I do not rely upon them for an unbiased assessment of trade practices -- but you can.
 

MollyMalone

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As a FYI: GIA is a member of the Laboratory Manual Harmonization Committee. Here is the LMHC Information Sheets regarding the standardized nomenclature to be used to describe corundum with residues (non-glass - LMHC has a separate guide for describing glass-filled fissures/cavities) from the heating process in healed fissures-filled cavities:
The text and diagrams on the second page better illuminate GIA's notation of "minor residues" in the lab report that @tapio posted than simply saying "flux-filled" does.

* * * The prevalence of reports confirming flux-filling has no bearing on whether it is "acceptable" practice or not. The point upthread was that just because trade associations describe this as "common practice" does not make it acceptable. There was a time when it was common practice to roll back odometers -- everyone in the industry knew it. A decade or two ago, it was common practice in China to adulterate infant formula with poisonous melamine to increase the "protein" content. Trade associations and their publications serve useful purposes. I do not rely upon them for an unbiased assessment of trade practices -- but you can.
That's one helluva stretch. Rolling back odometers is deceitful. Surreptitiously lacing pet food and infant formula with melamine powder was deceitful and health/life-endangering. The person who paid almost $69,000 USD a couple of years ago for this ring -- with a ruby that SSEF described as "indications of heating, minor residue in healed fissures"-- was not deceived. Nor did taking possession of the ring jeopardize the buyer's health.
While you, and many of us here, would not consider buying such a ruby, people don't all have the same preferences, priorities, and amount of disposable income for non-essentials. I don't consider the availability of enhanced stones to be an unacceptable sin against society. But I also don't view the existence of moissanite, cz's, and man-made diamonds as "unacceptable," and maybe you do.
 

tapio

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I guess I am wondering, what is a reputable lab and what do you mean by "rare"? Because @minousbijoux has mentioned cases where she knows of rubies with residues making it to what she thinks are reputable labs (she doesn't name them, but I assume GIA/AGL).

In any case, to the original question, here is a comp from Mastercut Gems. This one also has an AGL report which I assume counts as a reputable lab -- which also gives the lie to your statement that it's rare for these rubies to make it to reputable labs (IDK, maybe you mean a brief isn't generally what you get for a top ruby, but then maybe say that?) -- in fact, I suspect (though this is only my personal opinion based on seeing residues more often in the stock of sellers I respect) that we're seeing this more often now because a lot of old stock without such residue has been sold.

This comp is 1.07 ct for $1850 with residues. Dana is a very honest guy who isn't going to be gouging anyone; in fact he sells on very much the lower end of retail, so I'm going to go out and say that this is on the low side of what you might expect to pay these days for a 1-ct ruby WITH CLARITY RESIDUES. (Sure, no one would think this would be reasonable ten years ago. Alas, those days are gone.)

Extrapolating to OP's ruby is a bit difficult because of differences in carat and color, but I would think maybe $4-5k would be reasonable? $8k does seem a bit on the high side unless you're paying for curating (e.g., that seems more reasonable for a known curator of beautiful gemstones, like All That Glitters). I'd be interested in seeing a better comp closer to OP's ruby, if anyone has one.
Thank you for these thoughts. All the opinions are important and I respect them.
 

tapio

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As a FYI: GIA is a member of the Laboratory Manual Harmonization Committee. Here is the LMHC Information Sheets regarding the standardized nomenclature to be used to describe corundum with residues (non-glass - LMHC has a separate guide for describing glass-filled fissures/cavities) from the heating process in healed fissures-filled cavities:
The text and diagrams on the second page better illuminate GIA's notation of "minor residues" in the lab report that @tapio posted than simply saying "flux-filled" does.


That's one helluva stretch. Rolling back odometers is deceitful. Surreptitiously lacing pet food and infant formula with melamine powder was deceitful and health/life-endangering. The person who paid almost $69,000 USD a couple of years ago for this ring -- with a ruby that SSEF described as "indications of heating, minor residue in healed fissures"-- was not deceived. Nor did taking possession of the ring jeopardize the buyer's health.
While you, and many of us here, would not consider buying such a ruby, people don't all have the same preferences, priorities, and amount of disposable income for non-essentials. I don't consider the availability of enhanced stones to be an unacceptable sin against society. But I also don't view the existence of moissanite, cz's, and man-made diamonds as "unacceptable," and maybe you do.
Wow, this is interesting stuff to learn about. The Christies' ruby going for 62K Swiss francs is incredible. That's a lot of money. Someone correct me if I'm wrong--I get the impression there is stock from the eighties onward that was treated somehow--retail purchased it either knowingly or unknowingly and now the treatments are becoming widely known and a certain segment of the public has become wary and the connotation from the public is deceit (which may or may not be the case). I'm finding the links people provide very interesting and informative. Thank you very much Pricescope members. The link with the 1 carat ruby from Master Cut Gems is interesting. In the end, it seems, someone takes a hit for these treated rubies. On a side note, think of how disappointed QE II must have been when she found out The Black Prince's Ruby was a spinel. No wonder she wouldn't let most of her gems be tested. Imagine if her ruby parure turned out to be all heat-treated gemstones. I'm interested in learning more, please. If people have more resources, opinions, etc. I welcome them.
 

tapio

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As a FYI: GIA is a member of the Laboratory Manual Harmonization Committee. Here is the LMHC Information Sheets regarding the standardized nomenclature to be used to describe corundum with residues (non-glass - LMHC has a separate guide for describing glass-filled fissures/cavities) from the heating process in healed fissures-filled cavities:
The text and diagrams on the second page better illuminate GIA's notation of "minor residues" in the lab report that @tapio posted than simply saying "flux-filled" does.


That's one helluva stretch. Rolling back odometers is deceitful. Surreptitiously lacing pet food and infant formula with melamine powder was deceitful and health/life-endangering. The person who paid almost $69,000 USD a couple of years ago for this ring -- with a ruby that SSEF described as "indications of heating, minor residue in healed fissures"-- was not deceived. Nor did taking possession of the ring jeopardize the buyer's health.
While you, and many of us here, would not consider buying such a ruby, people don't all have the same preferences, priorities, and amount of disposable income for non-essentials. I don't consider the availability of enhanced stones to be an unacceptable sin against society. But I also don't view the existence of moissanite, cz's, and man-made diamonds as "unacceptable," and maybe you do.
Dear MollyMalone, The sheet you linked to is excellent. I believe I have seen it either with GIA or GRS. I don't remember which. For me, this knowledge is important as I like to know what it is I'm buying and if it is stable throughout the stone's lifetime. I consider myself a bit of an academic so this is all interesting to me. Thank you for your information.
 
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    The Original: Princess Raiyah Of Jordan
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