Jewelry Industry secrets

Secrets of the Jewelry Industry: What Your Jeweler Won’t Tell You

.... rubies and other red-colored stones are popular gifts on Valentine’s Day.

Rubies are one of the most “most durable, beautiful and wonderful” gems but many rubies sold in the marketplace today are not genuine, she says. Many gemstones are enhanced in some way to make them more attractive; it's an industry-wide practice that's been happening for decades. Even exclusive, high-end jewelers such as Tiffany (TIF), Cartier and Harry Winston enhance gemstones to improve the beauty of the stone (according to Tiffany, “Since the ancient Egyptians, emeralds have been soaked in colorless oil to make them appear more beautiful").

Typically, rubies and sapphires are exposed to low and moderate heat to make inclusions (natural-occurring imperfections) melt and to make the stone appear brighter. Other enhancements include bleaching to lighten or create more uniform color; filling the gem with a colored or colorless substance such as oil, wax, resin or glass to improve the stone’s appearance; irradiation to change a gemstone’s color.

Matlins says there are untreated rubies and sapphires available for purchase and they're priced accordingly (like 7 figures). But many rubies found in national jewelry chains and independent jewelry stores were subjected to intense and sometimes extreme treatments that have radically affected the appearance of a stone. These gemstones may be priced in the thousands but they're not worth more than a few hundred dollars, Matlins says.

The most egregious violation involves filling a ruby’s cracks with tinted lead glass. Non-genuine rubies can contain anywhere from 20% to 50% of lead glass but are often advertised to consumers as real, natural rubies. The glass fillers are invisible to the naked eye, Matlins says, but these adulterated stones break and chip easily and can even fall apart when cleaned. Lead glass “forever alters, conceals and changes” the stone, making it irreparable, Matlins says, adding that this is a “very serious consumer problem in the trade these days."
Comment: My wife is completely not into jewelry. She has a nice diamond ring and an amethyst on a gold chain necklace.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad Connie isn't big into jewelry, either, but if she was, she's been taken care of by my stepfather, who's passed a lot of my late mother's jewelry to Connie. Thankfully Connie does not equate "dollar value of jewelry" with "love", or else I'd be in a pickle. :^)


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