Something is rotten in the state of Mogok
April 23, 2010 12:19 PM Subscribe
What's with all the cheap rubies on ebay?
posted by KathrynT to Shopping (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I occasionally browse loose gemstones for sale on ebay, not for any particular purpose, just because I like sparkly things. I've not done it in about a year, but this time through I'm noticing a LOT of really, really, really cheap rubies. Like, a dollar for a one-carat ruby. They all claim to be "natural," too, which has me suspicious; I know that lab rubies can be sold as "genuine" but I don't know about "natural."
These aren't really top-quality rubies; the color is good, or appears to be, but the clarity is so-so at best. Most of them say they've been treated by "lead-glass filling," which I know affects the value, but does it result in a markedly off-appearance stone? Because if the effect is pretty and permanent, I might buy a few just to satisfy my internal magpie. And what the heck is "chatham diffusion?" I know that the Chatham process is one method of making lab corundum, but what's with the diffusion?
Some of these stones are obviously lab origin at best; there's no such thing as an internally flawless ruby the size of a quail's egg for fifteen dollars no matter how you slice it. So my question is, are there new treatment methods that can turn industrial-grade ruby into kind of crappy gem-quality ruby? Are they using magic photography techniques to make the rubies appear markedly less shitty than they are? Are they lying and selling lab rubies as mined stones, or are they even corundum at all? Because right now I'm just straight-up puzzled.