“Never eat anything bigger than your head” was the title of a tongue and cheek book that gave advice about some common sense issues. It was quite some time ago that I saw this book and at the time, giving this kind of advice was funny and relatively useless. Today people have eating challenges that not only encompass eating something bigger than their head, but in some cases, bigger than their torsos. It’s hard to believe that things would change so much and people would have to be advised not to do something. Today in the jewelry industry retailers are being warned off rubies.
According to JCK Magazine on-line there are more lead glass filled rubies on the market. Retailers who are unaware can suffer financial losses, not to mention loss of reputation. Heat treating rubies is a common practice and does not harm the ruby or make it more vulnerable to damage. Lead glass filled rubies on the other hand are fragile and easily damaged by common household chemicals or solvents. While easy to identify due to gas bubbles or blue flashing, if a retailer is not knowledgeable they could end up buying a lemon instead of a ruby. Retailers who purchase finished jewelry can be dazzled by the beautiful settings and skip over the gemstone if nothing jumps out at them. The worst part of a retailer not taking the time to make sure their rubies are not lead glass filled is how the customer ultimately suffers.
A retail customer usually places their trust in the retailer who they are purchasing from to help them purchase a well made piece of jewelry. An example in the article used a woman who had purchased from a well known department store. It’s not that lead glass filled rubies are so bad it’s just people want what they pay for, not an inferior substitute that won’t hold up over time. If a retailer is unaware then the consumer is also in the dark. No one discloses to either party that the ruby isn’t what everyone thinks it is; just like in real estate disclosure is key. A retailer could be on the hook if they don’t explain how a lead glass filled ruby differs from a heat treated or natural ruby. Plus it’s just patently unfair to sell lesser rubies and under cut your competition, not to mention against the law.
The best way to protect your self from anyone who knowingly or unknowingly sells lead glass filled rubies is to purchase gems that have been certified by a reputable lab. People don’t seem to have a problem doing this when purchasing diamonds but for some, it’s a new concept for gemstones. By purchasing certified gems you know what you are getting. For retailers, take the time to examine rubies carefully before purchasing and if you can’t trust your eyes, buy the necessary equipment to properly examine the stones or just let it go. After all, as a retailer you’re liable for quality of the jewelry you sell and a reputation can be damaged beyond repair, just like a lead glass filled ruby.