You find a ruby ring that you really love, and the price is right. How do you know you are looking at the real thing? First, a little education on rubies.
A natural ruby is mined from the earth, having been created over millions of years from the earth’s pressure. It is then cut into facets by a gemologist or gem cutter. Prices per carat for natural rubies can vary widely based on a number of factors too numerous to mention here. Real rubies are rare, but the demand for them isn’t. So sometimes other gemstones are passed off as rubies.
Here are a few of the materials that you may find as ruby substitutes:
- rubies fused with glass called "glass-filled rubies"
- imitation rubies made in a lab
How You Can Tell the Difference
Real rubies are very hard – almost as hard as diamonds. Substitutes are made of softer material and can be scratched. One way to smoke out a dishonest seller would be to ask them to prove the gem is real by using the scratch test, and note their reaction.
A fake ruby may be offered to you at a low price. That’s another clue.
Weigh the stone. It will probably be lighter in weight than the real thing.
Really, the most reliable way to choose a ruby and be sure it’s not an imitation is to buy from a reputable jeweler in the first place. A bargain ruby may turn out to be a costly mistake, and the trouble it takes to detect a fake may not be worth your time and energy.
If you really like the stone and want it anyway, you can ask a jeweler to evaluate the gemstone before you buy it from a private seller. A seller on the up and up shouldn’t object to this.
In the end, you are the one who must be satisfied with your purchase, so proceed with caution.