Buying a Ruby Online - UK
January 24, 2013 8:42 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a website where I can buy a loose facetted ruby in the UK (has to ship from UK). Bonus points if certification is offered (even at extra cost)

Its my parents' Ruby wedding anniversary in a couple of months and my Dad has asked me to make my mum something with a ruby in it as he doesn't know anything about jewellery - this will be the first item of jewellery he's got her since her wedding ring! I've made her jewellery before but nothing quite so valuable or significant. (ie a fake ruby will not do!)

So I only want to buy from somewhere where I can be 100% certain that what I'm buying is the genuine article. (so ebay is out!). Ideally I'd like to find somewhere that lists the colour and clarity (as well as offering certification to back that up) and has good quality undoctored photos of every stone. I've been looking at Ruby Fair but the stones are 100% natural, no heat treating at all so the ones with a good colour and clarity (based on the photos, they don't have official ratings listed) are way out of my budget. If I couldn't find a facetted stone that wasn't too small (I don't have the skills or equipment to deal with very small stones) with a good clarity (clear to the naked eye) and colour, I'd probably go with something more like this. If I can't have something totally clear to the naked eye, I'd rather have a stone like that because it has character.

I have a budget of £300 for the stone.

I wanted to include our birthstones to make it more personal but I can't think of a way that wont look tacky because of the colours (2x citrine for my parents, garnet for my sister and sapphire for me) so bonus points if you can think of a way to incorporate them into the piece without it looking garish.

I hope the hive mind can help, this is a huge pressure but my Dad wont be swayed (on anything, ever), things have to be done his way or not at all. So I just want to find the best stone he can afford so he can give her something beautiful for their anniversary.
posted by missmagenta to Shopping (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried going to a reputable jewelry shop? They have loose stones available to modify rings on request and will probably be quite happy to sell you a ruby and possibly suggest settings as well - I've often found jewelry shop personnel very happy to discuss jewelry even without a purchase..
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 9:00 AM on January 24, 2013

What you are asking for is a tall order. Natural, untreated, top-color rubies are extraordinarily expensive. Additionally, heat treatment is very difficult to detect, so even if you have a certificate stating that the ruby is untreated, the lab could simply be wrong.

If you can deal with pink or purple in your stone, or heat treatment, you may find something in your budget. I have bought from Multicolour and they are very reputable. Ditto Simply Sapphires though I'm not sure what they charge to ship to the UK.

If I were you I would drop the requirement that the stone be certified. Certificates cost money, around $50-100 depending on the lab, so for a sub-£300 stone they aren't really cost effective. You will have many more stones to choose from if you don't insist on a certificate. Also, there is no universal grading system for color in gemstones the way there is with diamonds. A lab can tell you that the stone is pigeon's blood red, but that really doesn't mean anything because there is no standard to hold them accountable for that statement.

I would also consider a created stone. You could get a created stone with really gorgeous color and clarity within your budget. Although not mined, the stone will be genuine corundum. Better Than Diamond makes beautiful lab rubies, and Chatham rubies are also worth looking into.
posted by payoto at 9:09 AM on January 24, 2013

It has to be natural but doesn't have to be completely untreated (I was under the impression that most rubies are heat treated). Also it has to be shipped from the UK, I do not want a long wait and a huge bill from customs.
posted by missmagenta at 9:13 AM on January 24, 2013

So these folks ship from Thailand, but since their prices are so low your customs payment may not be gigantic.

My mother's bought from them for years and years.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:34 AM on January 24, 2013

Has your mother had the gems independently certified/valued? Prices like that are highly suspicious to me (and the reason I was avoiding ebay)
posted by missmagenta at 12:02 PM on January 24, 2013

No -- I think she's only in it for the prettiness of the jewelry. She does have them set by a jeweler. I don't know that she's ever resold anything she's put together like that. (Good for me, as I'm the only child!)

I suppose if certification/value of a certain dollar amount/resale is important to you, Thaigem is probably not the way to go, but she has gotten some gorgeous stones. I'm also guessing that since she and my dad are both geology majors (and since she's a science teacher and he's a scientist) her own eye backed up by the gems' hardness is enough for her.

Sorry I can't be more helpful! They actually used to sell through their own website but now it looks like it's 100% through eBay.

You could also check for gem and jewelry shows in your area -- I bought a beautiful chrome tourmaline at one for my ill-fated engagement ring awhile back and was able to negotiate the price down to what I wanted.
posted by fiercecupcake at 4:31 PM on January 24, 2013

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