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How to detect fake:

Ruby Gemstones


If you're not an expert, it is very hard to tell a real ruby from a synthetic or something relatively new to the market, "Lead Glass Filled Rubies". Below are some examples of each of these, so you can determine whether the ruby you have is natural or not.


Ruby Gemstones - Step 1, picture 1 Ruby Gemstones - Step 1, picture 2
1
The example on the left is a real ruby. One thing to look for in a natural ruby are flaws. Most real stones have flaws (called inclusions) of some kind. The flaw will be a line or dark spot inside the stone. To examine the stone you will need a jewelers loupe (x10) (magnifying glass). Place the ruby in front of the light and you will be able to see the inclusions.

In the fake picture above, you can see the lines. This is a synthetic stone called a "Flame Fusion Ruby". These stones look very good to the naked eye but they are man made.

Ruby Gemstones - Step 2, picture 1 Ruby Gemstones - Step 2, picture 2
2
The examples above shows the "Lead Glass Filled Ruby" or "Composite Ruby". By looking through the loupe, with the ruby in front of a light, you can see the bubbles that are in the glass. This is created in the glass as it cools.

Another thing to look for in the reflected light are lots of intersecting lines looking something like a spider web or a fingerprint where the glass is holding things together.

These are actual rubies but they are very low quality, too low to sell for jewelry so they are filled with lead glass to make the flaws transparent so they can pass as a much higher quality stone.

Ruby Gemstones - Step 3, picture 1
3
The "Lead Glass Filled Ruby" is very vulnerable to chemicals, including jewelry cleaners. In the above picture on the right, you can see the damage cleaning chemicals can do to a composite ruby even after a short period in the cleaning solution. This damage is permanent and not reparable. This kind of damage can also be caused by the heat from a jeweler resizing a ring.

Another quick step you can perform on a ruby is to try to scratch an area on the stone that is not seen (such as the underside).

True rubies rate 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, just below diamonds, so you won't be able to scratch it if it's real.

Ruby Gemstones - Step 4, picture 1
4
Probably the easiest quick test is the "Breath Test" or "Fog Test". Very low tech but it works because rubies are efficient heat conductors.

Breath on it for about 1 second. If it's real, after about 2 seconds, you will see the fog evaporate. It will evaporate fast, in about 1 second.

If it's fake, it can take more than 5 seconds to start evaporating and 2-3 to complete.
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