I’ve never been to a tiny little town in Thailand called Chanthaburi but I may be there a lot soon.
Since Marco Polo Chanthaburi has been known to the world as the place of Gems.
Next to Burma it was a major source of where Natural Gems were mined from the earth. Today Chanthaburi is the center of the Ruby Gem trade even though it produces little mined Rubies today. It is where Thai traders that travel the world buying Ruby Rough send the Gemstone Rough to be treated and cut into beautiful Rubies.
It is estimated over 95% of the worlds rubies pass through Chanthaburi to be treated, cut and even wholesaled at the many tables of Thai Gemstone dealers that often take the tourist with scams.
Rubies were the first Gemstone created in a lab by humans over 100 years ago when Auguste Verneuil discovered the process that now bears his name, it is the Verneuil Process for making lab created Rubies. So most of the family heirloom rubies in the bank vault in US banks are fake, since they were some of the earliest fake gemstones in the world. These fakes are actually real rubies in that they are made up of the same chemical process of Rubies that being AL2 O3 with a dash of Chromium and enough man made fire to duplicate what happens rarely in earth, enough heat with Aluminum and Oxygen and a dash of Chromium instead of Silica and bingo you have a Ruby.
When nature does it, the gems have many flaws or inclusions that are easily seen with a jewelers loop and usually with real rubies even the human eye can see the major flaws most natural Rubies have.
Today, pretty much every Ruby you see on the market or in a major jewelers window has been treated or ‘enhanced’ the simple enhancement is low heat treatment to pop the color and not one lab on earth can guarantee a stone has not had some degree of low level heat treatment. Only high levels of heat treatment can change some characteristics inside a Ruby that can be detected by trained gemologists who were trained to look for a few things that only high level heating will change inside a Ruby.
Today in Chanthaburi a new art form has been created, humans that have mastered the art of cooking rubies with heat and also treating them with lead glass so any natural cavities or imperfections in the stone can be filled. The end result is a Ruby that you cannot detect with your eye if it’s enhanced or 100% natural.
So what is real or what is fake when you look at a Ruby today? How much of the Ruby is REAL and HOW MUCH is fake? This is why I may be spending lots of time soon in Chanthaburi since I created the first internationally patented process to determine exactly how much of a Ruby is natural Ruby and how much is not Ruby but Lead Glass Fill.
Over the years I put a small fortune into Gemstones, since I have 3 ex wives and all of them had a plethora of 100% real gemstones given to them as gifts when we parted ways, over 100 carats in large gemstones that included diamonds mostly, some big emeralds and even rubies.
A few people early in my life when I started making some dough showed me how to look at a Gemstone quickly to determine clarity, approximate size and even color.
Around 1990 I developed the only way to 100% authenticate a sportscard as to if it was authentic and issued on paper when the original press plate was made, or if it was a crude fake using digital copying equipment. The best fakes use the original printers plates but over many decades paper stock that is available to modern fakers changes, so no one has access to old paper stock, so authentic sportscards from pre-1950 going back to early 1900 all have paper stock that no faker can reproduce. Paper is made in huge quantities by not that many paper mills, they come and go over the years, changing formulas and going in and out of business.
So weight of paper is a major way to say IF a sports card not only came from the actual press plate, but was made in the right era with the right paper that printer used to create the cards.
Well now decades later I have developed a similar process to authenticate how much of a real natural ruby that has been enhanced with lead glass is real. Just like today BGS and PSA claim to be able to authenticate a sportscard, I’m still the only person in the world that can say 100% if a sportscard is REAL since no one but me has my process to analyze the paper used on sportscards to determine if it was not a modern reprint using modern paper.
Now the GIA is a big deal as far as diamond certificates go, you can’t really buy a large Diamond today without a GIA Cert and guess what a GIA certificate can be faked, it’s only paper and once a faker knows the weight of the stone they can put a fake cert together with a stone that has the proper weight and bingo, you have a GIA certificate with a fake diamond. If you use a lab grown created fake diamond, no jeweler can tell the difference, especially if you’re dealing with the rare 1 carat IF (internally flawless) diamonds.
A Lab Grown Diamond is literally a 100% Diamond, it’s the same chemical composition and even the same specific gravity weight which means no one can tell a lab grown from a natural diamond unless you do some unusual laboratory tests with equipment jewelers do not have. I defy any jeweler to look at a lab grown IF 1 carat stone next to a natural IF 1 carat stone and say which one is fake with their eye, their loop and even a specific gravity liquid test. There is NO DIFFERENCE, both are flawless up til 10 power which a jewelers loop is, both have 3.53 SG (specific gravity) both are carbon diamonds, the only difference is nature took a long time to make the natural diamond and man can grow a diamond in a round a year or so. I used to own lots of diamonds, especially 1 Carat IF the standard in the trade, they are like cash in some circles of jewelers, IF D stones in 1 Carat weight are the diamonds all diamonds are priced off of, they are the standard.
However, diamonds aren’t really that rare, they are a controlled and manipulated ‘commodity’ and the real rare gems are 100% natural rubies and emeralds with size and small flaws, nature just doesn’t produce large flawless rubies. The Rubies you see today setting world records at auctions all have flaws, compared to similar large sized diamonds that can be almost flawless, large emeralds and rubies all are flawed, they may be eye clean but a low powered jewelers loop shows how flawed even rubies that that can get $1 Million a carat really are.
My opinion on GIA and most gemology institutes are they are all puppets of monopolies like DeBeers. For example almost 10 years several top level Gem Institutions such as the AGL did robust tests of Lead Glass Filled Rubies, they concluded that normal bench work by Jewelers didn’t harm them and they were equal to rubies in durability for use in Jewelry, they concluded that only long exposure to some toxic chemicals such as oven cleaners and the acid in jewelers pickle could damage the lead glass.
Yet today you see puppets of DeBeers, guys at GIA bashing glass filled rubies with LIES, saying they are brittle, that is false, the original tests by labs stated they were durable. They claim easily damaged, that’s a lie, sure long exposure to very high temperatures in the 800+ Celsius range will melt lead glass, but who is going to stick their hand near 800+ Celsius heat? Just like who is going to wear a big piece of jeweler to clean an oven with no rubber gloves on. Why does the GIA want the public to take their LIES about enhanced Rubies as ‘facts’? Easy GIA has deep pockets and they were lined with DeBeers donations IMO. So the GIA has a vested interest in grading common DeBeers crap, that is diamonds and if the public realized how common diamonds are and how rare even quality enhanced rubies are, then the public would want RUBIES even enhanced ones compared to the crap that DeBeers controls.
The fact is 90%+ natural rubies even though enhanced in high grades are still way rarer than diamonds and probably worth more IMO. Will the public agree and embrace 90% enhanced rubies that have high grades? If they do, the crap being certified by GIA for the DeBeers cartel on diamonds will be seen for what it is, common crap that isn’t worth that much in reality.
I recently walked a few enhanced Rubies in front of lots of Jewelers at big jeweler exchanges to see how good store level jewelers were at finding enhanced glass filled Rubies. The jewelers all looped the stones and said, real, but most said do you have a certificate they need to know if it was enhanced. None can tell you that with a loop. I then revealed it was in fact enhanced and the enhancement was less than 10% and I had a certificate from IGGO stating it was a real Ruby and was over 90% real. The jewelers were intrigued and some are now lining up to buy these gorgeous Gems that have all been through Chanthaburi to be cut and polished and sold at the famous tables of the Chanthaburi marketplace.
Most of the Rubies at tables in Chanthaburi are very ugly with lots of eye visible flaws and most have weak Ruby colors. Yet some are truly GEMS and the question is how much of the top glass filled Rubies being enhanced in Chanthaburi are real Ruby and how much is lead glass filled?
Well my knowledge of chemistry, physics, authenticating sportscards and the fact I’ve been looping gems since the 1970’s with a gemologist level trained eye due to having been taught early by major experts in gemology how to really look at a stone, I now have the only international patent on putting an expert approximation on how much of a Real Ruby is natural ruby and how much is lead glass filled.
Rubies were created in labs over 100 years ago, today a diamond that is a diamond can be GROWN in a lab.
The question now as far are natural rubies goes, is how much of that ruby is NATURAL RUBY and how much is lead glass filled.
The burners doing this lead glass filling process are pretty much all in Chanthaburi where an ex GIA graduate perfected his process and now prisoner labor is used by large Chanthaburi gem dealers to produce the lowest priced hand cut enhanced rubies and sapphires the world has even seen.
Once I saw these gems I understood the way to value them was not only how well the enhanced Ruby looked using traditional rating standards such as color, weight, clarity and transparency, but a new rating was needed, a way to determine how much of these true gems were real ruby and how much was lead glass filled.
Since I’m an expert in chemistry, physics and math, it was easy enough for me to figure out a formula to analyze these gems to determine an approximate number as to how much of the enhanced ruby was actually natural ruby.
So now my ruby authentication process is patented internationally and it is licensed to the IGGO Institute to use to created theirIGGO Index ™ which is a way for a professional gemologist to say IN THEIR OPINION the enhanced Ruby is
a. Over 90%+ Natural Ruby
b. Over 75%+ Natural Ruby
c. Over 50%+ Natural Ruby
Just like real rubies, even enhanced Rubies are usually off color, not transparent and have terrible inclusions you can see with your eye so most rubies are I3 grades, meaning IMPERFECT with easily visible eye inclusions.
The value in any Ruby including enhanced Rubies are finding deep colored natural rubies with SI or VS clarity that have a high level of transparency. These are the true gems, if a larger 100% Natural Ruby with Pigeon Blood Red is found and weighs over 3 or so carat, it starts to become worth a lot of money.
Recent Ruby Auction Records
8 Carat Flawed Ruby over 10 Million USD
25 Carat Flawed Ruby over 30 Million USD
Granted the ‘flaws’ in these true gems were slight and while the stones were not like some large diamonds VVS or even IF, they were for Rubies a very rare grade.
99.99% of the public will never be able to pay over 1 million dollars a carat for the rarest 100% natural rubies, but a certain percentage of the public will want to own and wear the next best thing, a gorgeous Ruby that is 90%+ real ruby.
I’m the person that created a way to say exactly how much lead glass are in these true gems.
Information about the IGGO Process ™
To buy gemstones with IGGO Certificates I recommend
The best investment IMO for most is GOLD since mankind cannot create Gold cheaply and probably won’t have the energy required to do it for many years if ever.