Monday, October 31, 2011

How to buy a gemstone ruby?

This is a difficult question for many buyers. I am trying to answer the same from my own training and experience.
Rubies are mysterious and expensive alike other precious Gemstones. One can pay much more than the actual price of a ruby gemstone if he or she does not know about the quality, origin of the rare gemstone. However, it is difficult to evaluate the same.
Ruby is a precious Gemstone. It takes a lot of time, training and experience to get skills to identify and evaluate ruby. One needs lot of time and devotion to master it. However, normal buyers need not to know all about this precious stones. It is better to acquire some basic knowledge before buying ruby.
I am trying to spell down some tips for a general understanding of ruby. I am describing here from customers’ perspectives. A layman can understand these tips before buying a ruby. You need not to be an expert of ruby to buy it.
Ruby is a color stone also referred as colored gemstone. It belongs to corundum group of gemstones. Corundum is the second hardest stone found in the nature. Only diamond is harder than corundum. Specific gravity of corundum is about 4.
Corundum is aluminum oxide, chemically. It is found naturally in the mines. Aluminum oxide turns into red colored corundum when coloring agent(s) are added with the same. Coloring agents are also metallic oxides found and added naturally.

Physical properties of ruby:
Corundum is found in three categories opaque, translucent and transparent. Rubies are red Corundum of translucent or transparent category. Specific gravity of ruby is four and its hardness in Moh’s scale is measured at nine. It is similar to that of corundum.
Origins of ruby:
Burma (Myanmar), Ceylon, Thailand (Siam), Cambodia, Vietnam, Tanzania, Madagascar, Kenya and India are major sources of ruby. However, Burmese rubies are considered as the best. Origin or mine of ruby plays a major role in determining its valuation. It is therefore, advised to know about the origin of ruby before buying a ruby.
Astrological Views:
Ruby is a precious stone belonging to Navratna family according to Indian astrology. Red color of ruby resembles the sun among planets. Hence it is prescribed for the planet sun. Ruby is the birth stone for month July according to western astrology and palmistry.

Like any other gemstone four “C”s play major role in determining value of ruby. These four “C”s are Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat weight. It is better to know about four “C”s before buying a ruby.
Cut: There are various types of cuts in ruby gemstone. These are cut stones, cabochons, beads, drops etc. Cut stones are the costliest followed by cabochons and beads. Cut stones are faceted but cabochons are plain. Beads and drops are manufactured both in faceted and plain categories.
There are various shapes in both cut stones and cabochons such as Oval, Octagon, Pear, Heart, Marquise, Square and Round.
Clarity: Clean ruby is rare of the rarest. Gemstone ruby often has many inclusions. Black spot, yellow and brown spots, cracks and milky tints are main inclusions of ruby.
More inclusions mean lesser clarity (purity). Clean is rare and fetches highest price. Ruby is costlier with better purity and becomes less expensive with inclusions.
Color shades: Color of ruby varies between light pink to deep red. Sometimes it has blue, yellow or black tints. A ruby is generally referred as Pink sapphire if the color is pink. Light color ruby fetches lesser price than deeper color. However, over color rubies are also inexpensive. Generally bright red is the costliest. Price of a ruby gemstone goes down with the presence of blue, yellow or black tint.
Burmese ruby has the most pleasant color shades, bright pink to red. Ceylon ruby is normally of pink color and Thai ruby has black tints. Bright color and transparency of Burmese ruby fetches maximum price. Hence, you can stress on Burmese origin while buying an expensive ruby.
Carat weight: Bigger the size more the price. It is true for good quality rubies. Fine quality rubies of bigger sizes are rare. Generally fine quality Burmese rubies above 3- 4 carats are rare. Sizes between two to four carats for a fine quality Burmese ruby is considered as very good.

Buy from a trustworthy Jeweler
Evaluating ruby is a difficult thing. Evaluating and buying rubies are tricky. Even experts vary in their opinions. It is almost impossible for a layman or a buyer to evaluate it correctly. Hence, the best way is to go to a trustworthy jeweler or gemstone dealer. You can also ask a certificate before buying a ruby. There are many certification agencies. Gublin (Switzerland) is the most renowned in certifying rubies and other color stones followed by Gemological institute of America. There are many other certification agencies you can rely on.
I have given some tips for evaluating and buying ruby gemstone. It will help you in identifying and evaluating ruby. However, it is advised to consult an approved valuer or trustworthy jeweler before going to buy a ruby gemstone.

Treatments: Natural rubies are also treated to enhance its color, clarity and transparency. Most popular treatment is heat treatment. Natural untreated rubies are costlier than treated rubies. There are some other treatments such as glass filling and led filling. Glass filling enhances clarity of rubies and led filling enhances both clarity and color. However, led filling is injurious to health. There are some other types of treatments and I will discuss them elsewhere in future.

(Vardhaman Gems, Jaipur represents Centuries Old Tradition of Excellence in Gems and Jewelry)
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