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What is the price difference between unheated, heated and other treatments for rubies?

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

Brilliant_Rock
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Apr 22, 2020
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Kind of a silly question but as I am a complete newbie when it comes to rubies I thought I’ll ask, I’m wondering what is the price difference (or premium) for “no heat treatment” over “heat only” over other treatments when it comes to rubies? And is it possible to narrow down a price range (eg is a heated ruby hundreds per carat or thousands per carat)? Also, I read that fracture-filling is a problem because they have no value and buyers can be duped into overpaying, but let’s say that I am offered a fracture-filled stone (at the appropriate price even if it is only a few dollars per carat) is there any downside to buying (if I know what I’m buying)? Are cabochons treated the same way as faceted stones (eg can be heated, fracture filled etc?) What about lab grown rubies - what is the general price range for lab grown per carat, and do they look visually different from natural rubies at a glance?

For context - I am assisting my cousin in designing her wedding jewelry and she loves rubies because it’s her birthstone. Indians don’t put huge value in coloured stones as a rule (exceptions exist) so her budget for the “rubies” in her jewelry won’t be high, and I’m trying to get an idea of what she can expect to find and what are the pros and cons of each decision.
 

LilAlex

Brilliant_Rock
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1,094
For heated vs. unheated, there can be a big price difference in price but the main determinants are still the hue, tone, and clarity. (Meaning most of us would prefer a lovely heat-only ruby of any origin over an unattractive unheated Burmese ruby.)

Fracture-filling, in contrast, is a very long and very slippery slope. Some here don't mind fracture-filling. I would not buy a fracture-filled ruby for any price ever. I am sure some have the faintest trace and some are half lead glass or whatever flux they use.

I have some confidence in the semi-standard grading of emerald oiling and would accept none, negligible, or minor. I know of no correspondingly reliable grading system for ruby fracture-filling since it is such a frowned-upon practice.
 

femmemannequin

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 9, 2021
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58
Kind of a silly question but as I am a complete newbie when it comes to rubies I thought I’ll ask, I’m wondering what is the price difference (or premium) for “no heat treatment” over “heat only” over other treatments when it comes to rubies? And is it possible to narrow down a price range (eg is a heated ruby hundreds per carat or thousands per carat)? Also, I read that fracture-filling is a problem because they have no value and buyers can be duped into overpaying, but let’s say that I am offered a fracture-filled stone (at the appropriate price even if it is only a few dollars per carat) is there any downside to buying (if I know what I’m buying)? Are cabochons treated the same way as faceted stones (eg can be heated, fracture filled etc?) What about lab grown rubies - what is the general price range for lab grown per carat, and do they look visually different from natural rubies at a glance?

For context - I am assisting my cousin in designing her wedding jewelry and she loves rubies because it’s her birthstone. Indians don’t put huge value in coloured stones as a rule (exceptions exist) so her budget for the “rubies” in her jewelry won’t be high, and I’m trying to get an idea of what she can expect to find and what are the pros and cons of each decision.

i've seen everything from those glass filled rubies selling at a few bucks each only. To the premium natural ones that are easily 1000 a carat =p . so thats the difference. I've read that the super cheap glass filled ones are being set into expensive jewelry

some resources/references to read up on
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 22, 2014
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Unheated Burmese rubies can be $10,000 a carat. Top colour is very scarce.
Heated, just heat, is cheaper but again good colour rubies will still be $2,000 to $5,000 a carat, especially in sizes over 2 carats the price just goes skyward.
Heat with Flux / glass filling should be cheap, very cheap, but many try to pass off the material as “good quality” though feigned ignorance or simply don’t disclose it and hope the buyer never has it tested by a lab.
That’s how that debacle with Macy’s came into the news. Right up until caught out they wanted to pretend they were selling a premium product.
They weren’t.
Gems sold as ruby many would call pink sapphire. There is a cultural reason, corundum in any pink to red shade was called rubies by most Asian countries. At some point it was “decided” that rubies had to be red. The “fine line” between pink sapphire and ruby and purple sapphire and ruby can be difficult to navigate, sellers will always prefer to call their gem a ruby as that attracts a higher price.
Rather than buy a highly treated “natural” ruby at an inflated price or be restricted to very low quality rubies (more pink and more opaque than transparent) I’d suggest lab grown rubies. That way you can get the best colour and best looking ruby for cheap. Lab rubies are the same chemical composition as natural but grown / manufactured in vast quantities.
 

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

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Thank you sooo much @LilAlex @femmemannequin and @Bron357 - this was super helpful.

So from what I can understand, heat-only natural rubies are still very expensive at thousands per carat (and if they're cheaper then they wont be good colour).

A lot of the rubies you see in India are pinkish-purplish and very low quality to look at. The ones being sold there as heat only that are priced in the range of 200-300 USD a carat are more pinkish or brownish than true red, but they still have a nice glow. There seems to be a distinct difference between those in terms of glow as opposed to either the really cheap rubies (which just look dull and cloudy) or some sellers that sell ruby at ~100 usd a carat and claim its good quality but it looks like those super cheap cloudy ones I mentioned earlier. Do the flux-filled rubies still have a "glow" (I wouldn't want her to go for those 200-300 USD rubies if they're still likely to be heavily treated and would suggest lab grown instead at that point)?
 

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

Brilliant_Rock
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Apr 22, 2020
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These are glass filled. Gorgeous looking irl. I think really cheap too. I was actually slightly tempted to buy one to play with after seeing them.

B0CC6A49-D806-4958-9071-E7D9B6479887.jpeg
8DE31533-70B4-417B-8BAC-83D31AC95BDA.jpeg
C0C37DD4-81A6-4BBA-8E2E-CC50BF442917.jpeg

Oh my. Those are lovely! I wish the treatment was more stable - I’d go for these in a heartbeat depending on the price!!! But cleaning these would be a nightmare from what I’ve read... I guess worth considering if they’re cheap enough.

What were the per carat price on these btw out of curiosity?
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
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37,869
To answer your question about cabs: yes, they can be heated, filled, and etc.
 

icy_jade

Ideal_Rock
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May 1, 2009
Messages
4,192
Oh my. Those are lovely! I wish the treatment was more stable - I’d go for these in a heartbeat depending on the price!!! But cleaning these would be a nightmare from what I’ve read... I guess worth considering if they’re cheap enough.

What were the per carat price on these btw out of curiosity?

Gosh really can’t remember. Low 100s depending on size of stone?
 

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

Brilliant_Rock
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Apr 22, 2020
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Gosh really can’t remember. Low 100s depending on size of stone?

Okay so those 200-300 usd reasonably glowy rubies I saw most probably are the flux treated ones.

I think I’d recommend lab grown rubies to my cousin (since they would also be priced low and are way more stable) or if all else fails, flux ones if she can negotiate the price even lower and knows what she’s getting into. Thank you!!
 

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

Brilliant_Rock
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Here's what one of the pricing programs I use comes up with. These are wholesale prices for this color ruby at a 1.5 ct size.

RubyTopColor.png

Prices are per carat

Glass filled: $32
Heating with residues (flux): $5950
Heating only: $9900
No Heat: $19,800

This is soooo helpful!! Thank you so much :D

It’s insane what the difference is! Illustrates just how important to know exactly what you’re buying.
 

fredflintstone

Shiny_Rock
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Jul 18, 2020
Messages
288
Rubies prices can be apple and and oranges. You will always pay a premium for unheated rubies. How much of a premium depends on origin, quality, size, and the seller. Anywhere from 25% to 50% or more. There is no science to it. No way really track it to come up with a common denominator. It is all over price wise. A stone is only worth what a buyer will pay for it.
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 22, 2014
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5,210
The big problem is that while glass filled rubies should be a few tens of dollars a carat, vendors often don’t disclose the level of treatment (or pretend they don’t know... ”my supplier assured me the ruby was only heat heated!”) and charge hundreds if not thousands for a gem realistically worth less than $50.
Glass filled rubies still glow and can still look beautiful but they aren’t necessarily stable. Certainly a Jewellers torch or pickling will damage /melt out the glass filling.
The benefit of lab grown ruby is they are what they are, ruby grown in a lab. They still have the same characteristics are natural ruby, still glow, still wear well but are sold at an appropriate price.
 

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

Brilliant_Rock
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The big problem is that while glass filled rubies should be a few tens of dollars a carat, vendors often don’t disclose the level of treatment (or pretend they don’t know... ”my supplier assured me the ruby was only heat heated!”) and charge hundreds if not thousands for a gem realistically worth less than $50.
Glass filled rubies still glow and can still look beautiful but they aren’t necessarily stable. Certainly a Jewellers torch or pickling will damage /melt out the glass filling.
The benefit of lab grown ruby is they are what they are, ruby grown in a lab. They still have the same characteristics are natural ruby, still glow, still wear well but are sold at an appropriate price.

You have a great point. I will run the idea by her and then we’ll begin the process of looking for a vendor who does lab ruby in india... Because of customs it’s a real pain to order overseas. Most people who don’t want to go through the hassle just put glass but it looks so obvious and fake that I don’t want to do that.
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 22, 2014
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5,210
You have a great point. I will run the idea by her and then we’ll begin the process of looking for a vendor who does lab ruby in india... Because of customs it’s a real pain to order overseas. Most people who don’t want to go through the hassle just put glass but it looks so obvious and fake that I don’t want to do that.

Have a look on eBay. While most the vendors are in Thailand, there are also Indian vendors as well.
 

Rfisher

Ideal_Rock
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Oct 19, 2013
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3,408
Here's what one of the pricing programs I use comes up with. These are wholesale prices for this color ruby at a 1.5 ct size.

RubyTopColor.png

Prices are per carat

Glass filled: $32
Heating with residues (flux): $5950
Heating only: $9900
No Heat: $19,800

Out of curiosity
Is there differentiation in $ listed due to flux amount being minor/moderate/significant?
 

Sydneyphoenix

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2021
Messages
70
Out of curiosity
Is there differentiation in $ listed due to flux amount being minor/moderate/significant?

My understanding is per GRS, H or H(a) is considered “heated only” (of course with some premium for H), whereas H(b), H(c), H(Be) etc slide down real fast...
 

Rfisher

Ideal_Rock
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Oct 19, 2013
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My understanding is per GRS, H or H(a) is considered “heated only” (of course with some premium for H), whereas H(b), H(c), H(Be) etc slide down real fast...
I understand that.
Was curious if and how it’s broken down in relation to what PrecisionGem had posted.

Beauty has to factor into the pricing so it’s only generally speaking anyways.
I have a very low budget no heat Ruby. I’d rather have a minor residue that absolutely wowed me.
If wishes were horses.....
 
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