The King Of Gemstones – Ruby
Ruby is widely considered as the king of gemstones. Rubies are a beautiful gem. Worshipped for years for their beautiful Red colour. However, in this day and age, we have a few different types of Rubies on the market. They are:
1) Natural Ruby (Unheated)
2) Natural Ruby (Heated)
3) Natural Ruby (Heated and “Clarity Enhanced”)
4) Synthetic Ruby
There are also multiple locations where the king of gemstones can be found. The ancient mine sites of Afghanistan and Tjakistan still produce beautiful stones but today the majority of stones come from either Burma or Mozambique.
Unheated Rubies are Rubies that have come out of the ground looking just they way they do. The only thing that humans have done to the gem is cut and polish it to make it into a gemstone. These Rubies command the highest price because of the rarity of such a gem. Generally when investors are looking to purchase a Ruby they will target the unheated Rubes because they truly are the king of gemstones.
Heated Rubies are Rubies that have been heated at a high temperature to improve the clarity of the Ruby. When these Rubies come out of the ground, they might contain some clouds (Rutile needles) which an be “melted” away with heat and improving the clarity (and in turn the colour) of the Ruby. These Rubies still command a high price because they are still rare.
Glass Filled Ruby
Almost all of the commercial Rubies on the market have been treated with the “lead glass treatment” which fills in the cracks and fissures of the Ruby with lead glass to improve the clarity. The Ruby came out of the ground opaque and full of cracks and fissures.
Lead glass Rubies these days are sold as “Clarity enhanced”, “Glass filled” or “Filled fissures”. At the end of the day, these Rubies come out of the ground opaque and full of cracks. The problem with these Rubies is that no one knows the real durability of them since they are so new to the market. I have seen lead glass filled Rubies literally fall apart when the exposed to lemon juice (acidic). However a Ruby that has only been heated or unheated does not contain any cracks or fissures to reduce the durability of the gem.
One final note, there is a large push from the gem world to stop calling these lead glass filled rubies “Natural”. They are instead trying to call them composite Rubies, since they are after all a mixture of lead glass and natural Ruby. Some lead glass filled Rubies may even be more glass than Ruby.