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Ruby shopping

I’m shopping around for some rubies in Afghanistan. There is a weird mix of those mined here, both heat treated and non. There is also a lot of rubies mined from Africa, which seem to be mostly lead glass filled.

I’m still new to analyzing cut and polished gems, and the sheer variety of types of rubies and “rubies” here is definitely a bit overwhelming. Anyone care to look at some of the pictures I’ve taken at a few different stores at the bazaar here and offer some pointers?

Hi, I am pleased to see you have a UV torch with you, quick way to see if they are genuine Ruby and not something like Garnet being claimed as Ruby. Looking at the UV picture, the ‘glow’ is almost not there, but that may be the photo. A Ruby should really light up under UV, particularly 365nm if your torch is filtered.

Here’s a Ruby I cut under 365nm.

The glow is significant and un-mistakable.

A glass filled ruby is worth like $1 a carat whereas a fine, unheated ruby can be $10,000 plus a carat and to the inexperienced eye they look identical.
People have been heating and flux filling rubies for decades,and more recently Beryllium diffusion (improves colour) has been added to the list of treatments.
Don’t think for a second that the guy or gal in some “middle of nowhere” market place / bazaar is selling great rubies for cheap. If you just want a souvenir, why not spend $50 on a pretty. But if you want a quality ruby, which will cost in the thousands, you must only buy with a reputable lab certificate.

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I actually bring in ruby rough from africa and they are getting really clever (fortunately my guy there is African and just as sharp!). They are now even trying to treat the rough and it is VERY hard to tell if it has been treated. So the rule of thumb is you pay your money and take your chance but if you are buying in a market the chances are you are not buying anything quality unless you strike really lucky. I have a great French guy that works out of Sri Lanka in association with my cutter who runs a lab and is exceptionally good so I tend now to get any top quality stones tested in his lab before they are returned.

Are you located in Kabul?

Dear Sir, I’m interest in ruby, what could I to connect to you please? Many thanks, Alexander

UV is an indication, however synthetic ruby and synthetic spinel also glow in UV and can confuse the novice gem buyer to their detriment.