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Detecting Fake Ruby Stones

Detecting Fake Ruby Stones

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Detecting Fake Ruby Stones

From their beauty to their metaphysical properties, ruby stones have numerous uses. However, fraudsters have taken advantage of the gem’s popularity to sell fake stones. In some cases, it’s even impossible to distinguish between imitations and real jewels. Are you passionate about rubies but can’t identify authentic ones? The following tips will come in handy.

  1. Scratch Test

The fact that rubies are some of the hardest gemstones makes them difficult to scratch. Genuine gems should only give in to diamonds. So, how do you perform this test on ruby stones?

  • Using a wet cloth or brush, clean the stone to remove debris. If your fingernail scratches the gem, chances are it’s fake.

  • Advance to sandpaper, a knife, coin, pin, or glass shard. If there’s no mark, your ruby stones might be real.

  • Drag the gem across glass or porcelain. While an absent line isn’t absolute confirmation, color traces prove the stone’s fakeness. A red streak signals artificial coloring or a weaker material.

Although these tests are effective, you don’t want to damage the gems if they’re not authentic ruby stones. That’s why you should scratch inconspicuous spots like the gem’s side or back.

  1. Know the Imitations
  • Composite Ruby Stones: They’re a ruby-glass fusion. The idea is to increase the stone’s size and, subsequently, its price. While they resemble authentic gems, composite alternatives are vulnerable to cleaning chemicals.

  • Glass: The difference between rubies and red glass is evident, especially when viewed in the light. That’s because of the bubbles formed when the glass cools. These imitations are also cheap and fragile.

  • Garnets: While they’re several garnet variations, ruby imitations are mostly red. However, garnet’s burgundy hue is different from ruby’s bright red color.

  • Tourmalines: These crystal silicates have dark red hues. Although they’re attractive gemstones, they’re cheaper and more accessible than rubies.
  1. Cost of Ruby Stones

Their shine and scarcity make ruby stones expensive. As such, be wary of suspiciously low prices. Note that synthetic alternatives are cheaper than natural ones. Ordinarily, lab rubies are approximately 20% cheaper, while counterfeits are 90% cheaper than real rubies. Another red flag is huge gems. If a stone is large, it’s most likely an imitation or synthetic. These factors determine the stone’s price:

  • Color: Pure red stones cost more than those with purple and orange overtones.

  • Weight: A ruby’s worth rises with its carat weight. The same applies to the price per carat.

  • Clarity: It’s the gem’s internal flaws. While most stones have defects, clarity depends on the inclusions’ amount, position, and visibility.

  • Cut: Proper cuts hide inclusions and enhance the gem’s light interaction. This improves its aesthetics, raising its value.
  1. Visual Inspection

Observe the gem with the naked eye, focusing on its hue and sparkle. Fake gems lack the depth and glow found in authentic stones. You can also use regular microscopes or loupes for a closer look, ensuring the room is well-lit.

For clear results, use solid backdrops like a plain paper or cloth. Look for inconsistent coloration and defects, such as unnatural marks. Remember, most gems have imperfections since they form underground. In most cases, flawless pieces are fake, seeing that the spots on real ruby stones are hard to create.

Hire a Professional

Although examining the ruby stones yourself gives you an idea of the gem’s genuineness, you need an expert’s opinion to be safe. Aside from identifying real rubies, professionals estimate the jewel’s worth to facilitate sales and insurance. Make sure to check the gemologist’s reputation before using their services. Ralph Mueller & Associates has GIA certified gemologists to ensure your ruby's authenticity. Contact us today to learn more.