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This ruby I purchased may be a garnet - What would you do?

roxta

Shiny_Rock
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Oct 23, 2019
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OP
The last time a poster came in here (with their own instruments and a local jeweler) with concerns about stones being misrepresented from a vendor on the PS ‘list for vendor reference’ thread -
They strongly hinted at who it was but never came back to update their findings.

I think I can guess who your vendor is. I really do hope you come back to finish the story, either way.

I guess it depends on what the stone turns out to be and what I end up doing (testing or returning without testing). "Disappointing" email responses aside, it might be pretty unfair to call them out publicly if it's proven to be a ruby as the vendor has insisted all this time. I'm not here to be a difficult customer, I just don't want to be taken for a ride and have to be out of pocket if I was sent the wrong item. I think that's a reasonable expectation when dealing with a recommended vendor.
 

lilmosun

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As several have stated, most here at PS would not invest any further in this stone. Even if it's a ruby, not only does it look like what one expects from a ruby, but it isn't a stone most would find attractive

That being said, your posts suggest a desire to move ahead as long as it's a ruby - regardless of the stones appeal. If that's correct - get the lab report. That way if it is a ruby, you can give the lab report to show this and can be given as part of the gift. If it is not a ruby, you get all of your money back.

I understand your desire to move ahead because it is a lovely thoughtful idea. But please be sure this is something that would be something your friend would want to wear sentiment aside. I think the stone lacks even commercial appeal especially for a ruby.
 

Lakefront

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It would drive me crazy to never know. If you have the money, I’d get it tested. If you really want to build a relationship with this vendor, I see it as the only option. Then you can assess not only the stone but how they react to the whole dilemma. Good luck!
 

nutellakitty

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Not trying to be mean but I found it interesting that people want to build “relationship” with a vendors selling “gems” not even qualify for the basic gem quality and also when the stuff they sell being suspicious. What is the purpose of building relationship for? Do they get you “better” stuff or do they give you priority to pick stones before all other customers? For a what you got I don’t think that is likely to happen. Or do they say they refuse to sell stuff to customers who had items returned?

Your jeweler is 99% likely correct telling you that is a garnet. The Refractive index tells you everything.
If they disappointed u already why why why bother wasting your money on them again? If you really want to build a “relationship” find someone with better quality. There are hundreds of dealers out there.
 
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marymm

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I am confused why your jeweler who was supposed to only set the ruby, went to the time and expense of having a (his?) lab test the gemstone? This seems very strange to me. That seems like it would be an extra service that you the customer would request and be charged for ... not something a jeweler would do on his own dime before setting a customer-owned gemstone. It also seems like something a customer would have to consent to, regardless of who bears the cost? I would not trust a jeweler's in-house lab over a nationally/internationally reputable third-party laboratory, and I would not trust a jeweler who was acting beyond the scope of my order.

Your ruby vendor is backing up the ruby, saying they will pay for the certificate cost if it comes back as anything but ruby. For a $70 stone, I think this is reasonable. I also think it is reasonable that the gemstone vendor say they do not trust the lab your jeweler is using ... personally I don't trust that lab either based on what has been posted so far.

I don't find the ruby irredeemably ugly or unattractive and I know plenty of people that would be very happy to receive a little ruby charm set in high-karat gold as a present.

Since you seem intent on this, get the ruby back from the jeweler, find a lab nationally/internationally recognized as reputable, and submit the ruby. After you get the results, you'll know what to do next.
 
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roxta

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As several have stated, most here at PS would not invest any further in this stone. Even if it's a ruby, not only does it look like what one expects from a ruby, but it isn't a stone most would find attractive

That being said, your posts suggest a desire to move ahead as long as it's a ruby - regardless of the stones appeal. If that's correct - get the lab report. That way if it is a ruby, you can give the lab report to show this and can be given as part of the gift. If it is not a ruby, you get all of your money back.

I understand your desire to move ahead because it is a lovely thoughtful idea. But please be sure this is something that would be something your friend would want to wear sentiment aside. I think the stone lacks even commercial appeal especially for a ruby.

Thanks, you've made some great points. Your suggestion about including the lab report with the gift IF I get it tested is something I didn't think of.

So there are two points here: commercial value and sentimental value. For $70 I could get a much smaller, "nicer" coloured ruby instead. But at the end of the day, it would still be a $70 ruby in a much more valuable 18k gold setting. *Touch wood* if BFF was ever in financial distress and needed to sell my gift for scrap (which I am totally OK with), I expect her to get the cash from the gold, not the stone. For $70, whether it's a brownish 4mm ruby or a vivid red 2mm ruby, she would get little back for the stone. The commercial value isn't going to change much unless I increase my $70 budget by a fair bit, which I don't feel is necessary and I'll explain why below. By the way, I may have mentioned that BFF likes to invest in gold - she collects gold bars (no, I'm not telling you where she lives!). Likes silk scarves but cares not about gemstones. :lol:

The sentimental value is receiving this pendant from your BFF (hopefully) not too long after giving birth, with your baby's name engraved and a little ruby which is his birthstone. I don't know if she will like the brownish red colour. But in saying that, she may not like any shades of red, like me. The only way I can know for sure is to ask her in advance and that would spoil the surprise. If her baby wasn't born 3 weeks early, she'd be getting a pendant with a peridot (August birthstone) instead. There was always a chance she may not like the colour of peridot too and she may not wear the piece. But I know that even if she doesn't like the colour or doesn't wear it, it would be a meaningful keepsake to her. And knowing her, I think she'd be relieved I didn't splurge on an expensive stone to go with an 18k setting which she will probably think is too much money for me to spend on a gift anyway.

In summary, I won't know whether she will like the colour of the stone (if it is a ruby) until I give it to her. But that goes for any colour gem, whether it's what PSers find attractive or not. I don't know if she will wear the piece, regardless of what colour it is - but that doesn't matter. I could get a "better" stone for my budget, or increase my budget - but I feel neither would be necessary/ appropriate in this situation. What I do know is she would appreciate the sentiment of including the birthstone, valuable or not, ideal colour or not. And I do know that I will absolutely not give her a garnet-pretending-to-be-a-ruby. So we come back to my pickle here which is: do I even have a ruby?
 

roxta

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Not trying to be mean but I found it interesting that people want to build “relationship” with a vendors selling “gems” not even qualify for the basic gem quality and also when the stuff they sell being suspicious. What is the purpose of building relationship for? Do they get you “better” stuff or do they give you priority to pick stones before all other customers? For a what you got I don’t think that is likely to happen. Or do they say they refuse to sell stuff to customers who had items returned?

Your jeweler is 99% likely correct telling you that is a garnet. The Refractive index tells you everything.
If they disappointed u already why why why bother wasting your money on them again? If you really want to build a “relationship” find someone with better quality. There are hundreds of dealers out there.

By "building a relationship", I don't mean that I want to become best friends and get first pick on their stock or special perks. Simply, if the gem is a garnet (you're saying 99%, I'm saying 50% at this particular point), I won't be shopping with them again. There will be zero relationship.
But if it is a ruby (you: 1%, me: 50%) then I may possibly consider buying from them again in the future. Why not, if I did receive what I ordered and I like their other items and pricing? And if this one stone is less than ideal in terms of colour, it does not mean that the thousands of other stones in their inventory are terrible quality. Of course, after this, they may not want business from me so the whole building relationship thing won't even matter. Who knows? We have to wait and see how this turns out.
 

seaurchin

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Okay, so it sounds like you:

(1) Are fine with the appearance of the stone.

And

(2) Really want to know for sure if it is a ruby or a garnet.

If that's correct, then I believe you have your answer. I'm a bit curious myself now about what the stone actually is tbh.

If you do send it to a lab, please let us know the results!

ETA: In response to something discussed earlier, in my experience, a custom ordered lab ruby runs about $100 per carat, so I don't think it would be any or much more expensive than taking the route outlined above. Also, I can't quite think that very many people would find a brownish stone just as nice as a red one, or that brownish is better because it's for a boy. Since you're putting the effort and money into it, why stop short on the appearance of it? I mean, isn't its appearance pretty much the reason for its existence? And, there are so many vendors out there that I'd be done with this one anyway, after the rigamarole about certificates and such. However, that's all jmho.
 
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roxta

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I am confused why your jeweler who was supposed to only set the ruby, went to the time and expense of having a (his?) lab test the gemstone? This seems very strange to me. That seems like it would be an extra service that you the customer would request and be charged for ... not something a jeweler would do on his own dime before setting a customer-owned gemstone. It also seems like something a customer would have to consent to, regardless of who bears the cost? I would not trust a jeweler's in-house lab over a nationally/internationally reputable third-party laboratory, and I would not trust a jeweler who was acting beyond the scope of my order.

Your ruby vendor is backing up the ruby, saying they will pay for the certificate cost if it comes back as anything but ruby. For a $70 stone, I think this is reasonable. I also think it is reasonable that the gemstone vendor say they do not trust the lab your jeweler is using ... personally I don't trust that lab either based on what has been posted so far.

I don't find the ruby irredeemably ugly or unattractive and I know plenty of people that would be very happy to receive a little ruby charm set in high-karat gold as a present.

Since you seem intent on this, get the ruby back from the jeweler, find a lab nationally/internationally recognized as reputable, and submit the ruby. After you get the results, you'll know what to do next.

This is my understanding of what happened:

The jeweller received the stone, looked at the colour and thought it was "unusual" for a ruby. They were bringing a batch of stones being set to get tested so they included my stone. The jeweller needs to be sure what stone they are working with to know how much heat they can use (because you can seriously damage a stone that is misidentified). The lab is not in-house. They are a standalone lab. Many jewellers use their testing services.

My jeweller didn't get the testing done on their own dime - they test so many gems at the lab and have such a long standing relationship that the gemologist was happy to check my stone for free. It takes a few seconds to test it with the machine. That just tells you what species it is. To test origin, heat treatment, etc, it needs to be checked under microscope by a gemologist. This is what takes the most time and expertise (and what the lab fee mainly covers). The didn't look at my stone under a microscope. The result was garnet and that was it, they didn't need to go further.

Now, if my jeweller was untrustworthy, they didn't have to tell me that it tested as a garnet. They could have kept quiet, set the stone with the appropriate amount of heat and asked to lab to fake a valuation of the final piece to say that it's a ruby. Then everyone gets my money and I wouldn't have suspected anything.

Instead, they contacted me to let know what they had found and asked me what I'd like to do. I said I'm afraid I can't proceed with my order until I sort this out. And here we are. It doesn't benefit the jeweller or lab to say it was a garnet, quite the opposite. It's possible they made a mistake but it wouldn't have been an intentional "mistake". They lost out on my job.

I can't say how accurate the testing machine was, but I don't think anyone including the vendor would be able to dispute the findings from two labs if they both said the stone is not a ruby. Of course the only way to know is to get it tested at a second lab.
 

Rhea

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I am confused why your jeweler who was supposed to only set the ruby, went to the time and expense of having a (his?) lab test the gemstone? This seems very strange to me. That seems like it would be an extra service that you the customer would request and be charged for ... not something a jeweler would do on his own dime before setting a customer-owned gemstone. It also seems like something a customer would have to consent to, regardless of who bears the cost? I would not trust a jeweler's in-house lab over a nationally/internationally reputable third-party laboratory, and I would not trust a jeweler who was acting beyond the scope of my order.
I bought relatively inexpensive gems for a 5 stone ring last year and sent them to DK. I bought 4 as a parcel and 1 by itself. When DK received them he wrote down exactly what they were and what each weighed individually in an email to me.
"Dear Rhea, I have received your xx carat sapphire, diamonds weighing XX, XX, XX, and XX"
I assume it's to confirm and protect themselves. I'm not saying that he tested them, like at a proper lab, but that he at least gave them a look over so that they were as he excepted and not say, glass or an iolite or something.
 

roxta

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I would return the ruby. This is a sentimental purchase and nothing about it feels good to me. Look at other vendors and see what your options are.

I'm still open to returning it, I really am. I just want to weigh out all my options before taking a hit through no fault of my own because a trusted vendor has sent me a garnet-looking ruby. I will feel no bad juju or negativity attached to this stone if it is a ruby and I do end up keeping it. I just want to know what this stone is lol. :eek-2:
 

roxta

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Okay, so it sounds like you:

(1) Are fine with the appearance of the stone.

And

(2) Really want to know for sure if it is a ruby or a garnet.

If that's correct, then I believe you have your answer. I'm a bit curious myself now about what the stone actually is tbh.

If you do send it to a lab, please let us know the results!

ETA: In response to something discussed earlier, in my experience, a custom ordered lab ruby runs about $100 per carat, so I don't think it would be any or much more expensive than taking the route outlined above. Also, I can't quite think that very many people would find a brownish stone just as nice as a red one, or that brownish is better because it's for a boy. Since you're putting the effort and money into it, why stop short on the appearance of it? I mean, isn't its appearance pretty much the reason for its existence? However, that's jmho.

(1) and (2) and both correct. I really do want to know but do I want to spend that money to know? Hmmmm....

Re: the colour..... I'm getting quite sad that everyone is HATING on the brown tone when I didn't. Is there something wrong with me? Do I have bad taste? :lol:

I feel like BFF would prefer a brownish natural stone to a bright red lab. I mean, if the baby was conceived through IVF then sure, it might be cool to go with lab ruby for the symbolism behind it: like, behold the marvels of modern science and what amazing things it can create! But for now, I'm still just open to lab as a backup last resort.
 

roxta

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I bought relatively inexpensive gems for a 5 stone ring last year and sent them to DK. I bought 4 as a parcel and 1 by itself. When DK received them he wrote down exactly what they were and what each weighed individually in an email to me.
"Dear Rhea, I have received your xx carat sapphire, diamonds weighing XX, XX, XX, and XX"
I assume it's to confirm and protect themselves. I'm not saying that he tested them, like at a proper lab, but that he at least gave them a look over so that they were as he excepted and not say, glass or an iolite or something.

That's a nice thing for him to do. I work with a few jewellers and I know that damaging a customer's stone is their worst nightmare. A little too much heat and some gems can chip, crack, even explode. I believe many do test stones before setting just to be sure they are what the customer thinks they are, and especially so if the colour or the lustre doesn't look quite right. Most people just don't realise it because most of the time, the results are what would be expected. It's only when the jeweller gets a surprise that they need to deliver the bad news to the customer. This is my first surprise..... and I don't like it!
 

roxta

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And, there are so many vendors out there that I'd be done with this one anyway, after the rigamarole about certificates and such.

Also, please feel free to share where else I can find a 4-5mm princess cut ruby for under $70? If all this goes south and I can't find a replacement, I'm going to have to change up my entire design - which would suck because I really like my current design..... :((
 

seaurchin

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Also, please feel free to share where else I can find a 4-5mm princess cut ruby for under $70? If all this goes south and I can't find a replacement, I'm going to have to change up my entire design - which would suck because I really like my current design..... :((

Please see my earlier post re the cost of lab created rubies and the cutters that seem popular on here.
 

JewelledEscalators

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@roxta,

If I were 'you', I would get the gem tested by the lab recommended by the vendor.

I wouldn't do it if it were me, but I'm not you, and I get the feeling that deep down it's what you want to do =)2

Your dilemma is that you can't justify the cost of losing out on the cert money in case it turns out to be a ruby.

So the solution maybe is to look at it another way.

Think of the cost of the cert not in terms of it being an additional cost for your $70 stone, but a future payment towards buying the other stones you have your eye on with confidence - I'm sure the cost of a 4ct tanzanite for example, would justify that.
 

JewelledEscalators

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(1) and (2) and both correct. I really do want to know but do I want to spend that money to know? Hmmmm....

Re: the colour..... I'm getting quite sad that everyone is HATING on the brown tone when I didn't. Is there something wrong with me? Do I have bad taste? :lol:

I feel like BFF would prefer a brownish natural stone to a bright red lab. I mean, if the baby was conceived through IVF then sure, it might be cool to go with lab ruby for the symbolism behind it: like, behold the marvels of modern science and what amazing things it can create! But for now, I'm still just open to lab as a backup last resort.

Yeah, I wouldn't go for the lab option either. I get that it's important for you that it's a ruby, not whether it's a pretty ruby or not, it's the symbolism that counts.

On that issue, you can always go with symbolism separate from the birthstone (e.g. a stone that protects the wearer, symbolises love/friendship) which might give you wider options in terms of stones.
 

MillieLou

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Has the vendor actually told you their "approved" lab yet? Maybe post it on here if / when they do, so people in the know can advise if it's actually reputable or liable to give the answer the seller wants. Unfortunately this can be a problem with disreputable labs. Obviously not GIA / AGL etc... But they would be charging a lot more than that, so...

They could always claim your jeweller mixed up the stones and it wasn't the one they sent you.

I just really doubt they are going to stand by their promise of paying the lab report and full refund if it comes back as garnet. Only do it if you don't mind writing off the whole lot.
 

MissSarah

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Do you have a long wave uv light? Take the stone into a dark room, hold it in your hand, and test it there. If it fluoresces even a little, you'll know it's not a garnet. Also, a super strong "rare earth' magnet can help in identification. This site has lots of info on it: Gemstone Magnetism.

I've had enough negative experiences with more than one jeweler and gem seller that if it mattered for peace of mind, I'd send something to an unaffiliated lab for identification. If I were in your shoes, I'd probably begrudgingly send it to an independent lab because I'd need to know if I had to find a new jeweler or a new gem supplier.
 

Grymera

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Also, please feel free to share where else I can find a 4-5mm princess cut ruby for under $70? If all this goes south and I can't find a replacement, I'm going to have to change up my entire design - which would suck because I really like my current design..... :((

Unfortunately I don't think that's possible for a new stone. Rubies are so, so expensive. If she had had an August baby, you would be fine to do that with peridot, but not a July ruby baby.

If you think your friend would prefer a mined stone, I think the best, most beautiful budget option would be to buy something vintage from a reputable seller and have it checked out (or test it yourself). You won't find many people here a fan of the dark brownish red color of the loose stone you have. If they'd want that, they would pay less for a garnet.

For example, some vintage options on ebay (not sure what the total budget was with with gold setting, but do some looking):

s-l1600.jpg

$210; 18k gold, ruby

s-l1600.jpg

$300, 18k gold, ruby and diamonds
 

seaurchin

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Has the vendor actually told you their "approved" lab yet? Maybe post it on here if / when they do, so people in the know can advise if it's actually reputable or liable to give the answer the seller wants. Unfortunately this can be a problem with disreputable labs. Obviously not GIA / AGL etc... But they would be charging a lot more than that, so...

They could always claim your jeweller mixed up the stones and it wasn't the one they sent you.

I just really doubt they are going to stand by their promise of paying the lab report and full refund if it comes back as garnet. Only do it if you don't mind writing off the whole lot.

Yeah, it kinda sounded like a blow off to me too.

Unrelated to the above- Now I'm wondering if this actually IS a ruby, even if it does test as corundum in a reputable lab. "Ruby" is the term we use for RED corundum, correct? And then all other shades of corundum are termed "sapphire." So would brownish-red corundum be considered "ruby" or "sapphire?" Just curious.
 
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nutellakitty

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Yeah, it sounded like a blow off to me too.

Unrelated to the above- Now I'm wondering if this actually IS a ruby, even if it does test as "corundum" in a reputable lab. "Ruby" is the term we use for RED corundum, correct? And then all other shades of corundum are termed "sapphire." So...?

From a lab testing perspective, the Chromium has to be high enough to reach a threshold to be identified as Ruby. Different labs have different standards and some Very Vivid Hot pink sapphires can be tested as pinkish rubies or hot pink sapphires.
 

seaurchin

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From a lab testing perspective, the Chromium has to be high enough to reach a threshold to be identified as a Ruby. Different labs have different standards and some Very Vivid Hot pink sapphires can be tested as pinkish rubies or hot pink sapphires.

Thanks, nutellakitty. Interesting.
 

PrecisionGem

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If you can get a refractive index reading, it is very simple to separate a ruby from a garnet.
Any time you use your refractometer you should be taking 4 to 6 readings rotating the stone each time until you work your way 360 degrees around the stone. Write down each reading. You should also have a polarizing filter on your eyepiece. A garnet is single refractive and will give the same reading all all orientations, where a ruby is double refractive and you will read a high and low reading as you work your way around
 

MagpieMama

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I would send it to the vendors approved lab - the curiosity would kill me!
Even in the (unlikely) case the stone turns out to be a ruby, I would chalk the cost up to thoroughly vetting a new vendor.
Although, based on their response I would surely proceed with caution ordering a more expensive stone from them.

Even if the stone is a ruby, I would likely return in. For something that is being worn as a birthstone (rather than just an interesting stone) I would much rather have something smaller and more indicative of the variety of stone it is.
Maybe a pendant of the baby’s first initial in gold with a tiny melee ruby set in it would be cute and sentimental? Also, easy to pass down to the baby either to be worn as a pendant, or converted into a lapel pin?
Just my $.02
 

pearlsngems

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Not to pile on about the color, but regarding men and preferred ruby color: my husband's birthstone is ruby and he loves vivid red stones. Just saying....
 

roxta

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Please see my earlier post re the cost of lab created rubies and the cutters that seem popular on here.

I meant natural, like what my stone is supposed to be. I cannot justify spending the same amount of money on a lab created replacement that is the same size/weight as my $70 natural stone, whatever it may be. Even a natural garnet is worth more than the equivalent flame fusion ruby material (the cheapest option that is likely to come under budget once you include the precision cutting cost).
And although I don't have an issue with lab created, I prefer to save lab created stones for myself - I know what I have and I'm not pretending it's something else. I wouldn't give my BFF a lab stone and pretend it's natural, I'd have to disclose it to her. At which point maybe it would be better to just give her a nice gold pendant with her baby's name engraved and forget about the stone altogether. Hence, I'm considering lab created as a last resort, and even then, it would have to be 1/4 or 1/3 the price of this natural brownish ruby (if it's a ruby). Alternatively, I'd put my $70 towards another natural ruby that is half this size.
 

roxta

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@roxta,

If I were 'you', I would get the gem tested by the lab recommended by the vendor.

I wouldn't do it if it were me, but I'm not you, and I get the feeling that deep down it's what you want to do =)2

Your dilemma is that you can't justify the cost of losing out on the cert money in case it turns out to be a ruby.

So the solution maybe is to look at it another way.

Think of the cost of the cert not in terms of it being an additional cost for your $70 stone, but a future payment towards buying the other stones you have your eye on with confidence - I'm sure the cost of a 4ct tanzanite for example, would justify that.

Well put. If the stone is a ruby and the vendor is vindicated, I would have spent $30 more than returning the stone without knowing what it is. Perhaps I would continue to buy from the vendor and perhaps one day I may even purchase this 4ct tanzanite. And even if I added the $30 to the price, it would still be a good price.
Though I think the majority of those in this thread are convinced it's a garnet anyway so.... :-o
 

Tourmaline

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In the second picture of the stone, the pinkish tone doesn’t look anything like almandine garnet, which can be brownish red or wine red. If it actually is that pink, it could be rhodolite garnet or it could be pink sapphire, which usually gets away with being called ruby (red corundum is ruby and pink corundum is sapphire).
 
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