Gems, The untold story
RELEASED ON 02/01/92
after decades of turmoil, hatred, and deceit, it can be told…
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CREATED, AND TESTED BY VIDEO VINDICATOR
Well, in the spirit of more advanced moneymaking topics, I am
file, which is geared more towards either the very experienced carder, or
more advanced thief (for further information on either of these topics, please
to my previous files). My objective with this file is to give you, the
evil reader, a basic
grasp of what is necessary to make money and not get
burned with gems. And believe me, you can
get burned fairly easily. So if
you’re just interested in this for investment reasons, or if
you’ve carded a
gem or four, or if you broke into some house and got a very nice ring, then
/> read on.
Ok, I also want to claim full responsibity for the misuses and abuses that
can be learned from this file, I do not care what laws apply to whom in what
state in that
part of the country, so on with the file…
THIS FILE AND CARDING
One of the real difficulties and major drawbacks in any type of credit
fraud is actually making money from it. And I mean aside from selling the
card, since that is relativly risky and high-profile, whereas a
small bag of gems can be
placed almost anywhere, and be of great value. And
believe it or not, there are places that do
sell mailorder gems (The Sharper
Image is a prime example, although they no longer to (I was
one of their best
customers too!)). I would list some, but they tend to die quickly and
are not easy to come by. Since they also are very hard to identify (ie, have
serial numbers), they can be sold easily in the nearest large city. This
is intended for
people AT VERY LEAST 18 years old, the older the better, since
I don’t think little Johnny (at
age 15) will get a very nice reception trying
to sell four $2,500 diamonds.
/> DIAMONDS, EMERALDS & RUBIES: THE INSIDE STORY
Gemstones, and in particular diamonds, are
interesting subjects because of
1. Their value is subjective,
although the wholesale prices are supported
by the De Beers family and the price table is
advertising and withholding of stones. Individual stones are graded on
/> a subjective basis and as such, the values increase or decrease
abruptly if a further
grading session disagrees with the original.
2. Gems offer a fairly stable method of
converting large amounts of cash
into small, liquid, easily transported possessions.
/> 3. It is still possible to purchase gems in some areas of the world for
money than in the United States and they can and
are smuggled into the country for profit.
4. Synthetic gemstone manufacture and faux substitutions open an area of
easy-to-maneuver and hard to detect high ticket fraud.
The gem and particularly diamond
industry operates in a knowledge vacuum.
There are a number of interesting facets, no pun
intended, of buying, selling
and scanning jewels that people in the jewelry business prefer
not to let the
public become aware of. If you are considering purchasing, investing in, or
/> otherwise becoming involved with any sort of gem quality crystal, there are a
things you can do to protect your investment.
thousands of years diamonds have been a form of decoration, currency and
Diamonds have risen in price over the years fairly consist-
ently with inflation. At some
points investment in the right stone would have
returned a much better percentage than similar
amounts of stocks, bonds or
gold. On the other hand, an investment in the wrong thing or an
made blindly because of lack of knowledge, can and in many cases has caused
the buyer to actually lose money.
Remember, diamonds are normally sold on a retail basis. This
is where you, the
consumer, buy most stones. As one purchases stones of a higher quality
larger weight, stones that are designed for investment purposes rather than
ornamentation, it is possible to actually buy at or near wholesale prices.
When one goes to
sell the stone, if one simply walks into a jeweler or New
York-type diamond seller, one
expects to lose from the retail price the stone
may have been purchased at.
A number of
factors establish the value of a diamond, one of which is the size
of the stone. There are
certain levels where the value of a high grade stone
jumps appreciably simply because the
stone is over this weight. In general, a
large high-rated stone is worth logarithmically more
than a number of small
stones equaling the larger stone’s weight. It is, as one would
considerably harder to find flawless or near flawless large stones.
jeweler or professional goes to buy a stone there are several things
he will evaluate in
order. Generally the stone is graded using the four C’s of
diamond grading. These are:
4. Carat weight
established methods and models for grading stones and one could
reasonably expect to take a
stone of a certain grade from one professional to
another and come out with a similar rating.
One should also remember this
grading is subjective and there will be times when two
will give a different rating, possibly affecting the stone’s value, by
or thousands of dollars to the very same stone. It is wise to be able to at
least make a good amateur estimate of the various rating points on your own
instead of having
to blindly depend on someone you may not know.
first C is clarity. This is not the most important but is generally the
first item looked at
in a stone to be rated. Clarity does not refer to the
concept of “being clear” with
reference to a diamond. Clarity refers to the
purity of the stone and lack of visible
These defects or flaws or as they are properly known, inclusions, may manifest
themselves as dark, black carbon spots, white carbon spots, small cracks,
feathers, or other areas of visible diffusion within a diamond or on
the surface of the stone
A truly flawless stone, one without any spots, cracks or inclusions, is very
rare and extremely valuable. One can expect to find some flaws in most stones.
The type of
flaws, size of flaws, and location will have an effect upon the
stone’s value. It is important
to learn how to judge a stone for clarity.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has
established a rating system for
expressing the clarity of a particular stone. This rating
system is based on
the use of initials and numbers and goes on a one to 10 oriented system
/> wherein 10 would be the best stone and one would be the worst stone.
This system is not
expressed in simple numbers but with words and initials to
further establish the rating scale.
The scale is as follows:
10 – Flawless – no blemishes can be found.
VVS-1 – no flaws inside the table. Possible very small internal
flaws outside the table. If
any external flaws are present,
must be very minor.
8 – VVS-2 – very difficult to
see flaws with 1 0x magnification power
7 – VS – 1 – flaws readily seen
using 1 0x glass but almost impossible
to see when the stone is viewed from from the back.
6 – VS – 2 – the back looking down through the stone.
5 – Sl – 1 – flaws
unable to be seen with the naked eyes but quite
apparent using 1 0x magnification.
/> 4 – Sl – 2 – inclusion may include carbon spots or clouds or feathers
underneath the table
or larger flaws outside of the table.
3-1 – I-1 to 3 – this is the least valuable
group. They are heavily flawed
and the flaws can be determined with the naked eyes. There
/> are going to be internal flaws inside the table, maybe
clouds, groups of carbon spots,
feathers and/or cracks
that can be seen with the eye.
VVS – Very, very, slightly
VS – Very slightly imperfect
Sl – Slightly imperfect
I – Imperfect
A flawless stone is simply that. No flaw can be found even with the use of a
jeweler’s loupe or 10x microscope. As you go down the scale, the VVS-1 may
have one very small
inclusion, generally not in the table (which I’ll cover it
later in the file) portion of the
diamond but possibly on the edge. Again,
this flaw is seen only from the front and only on
using 10x magnification. It
should not be visible to the naked eye.
As we get into
VVS-2, there may be more than one flaw wlth magnification but
they’re still extremely small.
One small inclusion may be in the table area of
Into the VS grades, the
flaws become larger and more prominent than their VVS
cousins. VS2 may have larger flaws or a
number of small spots possibly located
in the table of the diamond that group together and are
almost considered one
flaw. They are generally in the same area.
When we talk about 10x
magnification, this can be in the form of a jeweler’s
loupe which is a fairly inexpensive
must-have item for anyone serious about
stones or a step upward which is the two eyepiece
(stereo) microscope, which
many jewelers will have on the premises and will let one borrow
It is wise to always make sure that the magnification device
employed is 1Ox.
This is the standard and any variation from this will affect the rating of
stone to a great degree.
Note that flawless VVS and VS rated stones are rated when
looking at the stone
right side up with a 1 Ox magnification device. If you pick up a stone
supposedly falls under one of these ratings and you can see inclusions with
naked eye, you’re not looking at a stone that is properly rated.
An Sl-1 rated stone will have
inclusions that are very obvious under 1Ox
magnification, but should still be borderline
visible or not visible when
viewed with the naked eye. The Sl-1 stone may have these
small dots or inclusions in the table or edge of the stone. An Sl-2
will have larger flaws and probably more than one. These will be easily
to the naked eye.
In the I grades, the stones can be considered either quite flawed or
Flaws are probably inside the table. There may be flaws of more than one
variety, clouds, cracks or groups of black or white carbon spots will be
visible. This last
group of stones obviously are the least valuable and the
least interesting for anyone trying
to convert from cash to gems and back
Looking backward we can infer several
things, the first of which being if you
can spot a number of inclusions without the use of
magnification device, the
stone is going to be graded 1, whether l-1, I-2 or l-3 is open to
subjective effort, but it will be an I rated stone.
If you can’t find flaws with
your eye alone but they do become visible when
using a loupe, one can assume that the stone is
an Sl rated stone.
The differentiation between an S stone and a VS stone is that in a VS
inclusions may not be seen extremely clearly even with the loupe. If the stone
turned over and laid on the flat front part (the face of the stone – this
is the table) and
one views down from the back of the stone where all the
facets come to a point and the flaws
are more readily seen here, one can
assume it is a VS-2 or above rated stone.
viewing is done under white light and with the stone loose. It is
very difficult to judge any
of the 4 C’s when the stone is mounted. Mounted
stones are not generally considered for
investment grade purchases. The stone
should be loose and one should be able to turn it
The second C used in rating diamonds is color.
Diamonds come in literally
every color in the rainbow and while a few specialty colored
extremely valuable because of their deep hues and unique color
these are the exceptions rather than the rule. In general, the closer a
is to possessing no color, that is, to being colorless, the more the stone is
In order to establish the transparency or lack of color in a diamond, the
stone is placed on a pure white background under a white light. There
are special lights sold
with adjusted color temperatures for this viewing or
some people prefer to use the soft north
sunlight when trying to view the
color of a diamond.
In color rating as in clarity
rating, the dazzling brilliance and fire of a
diamond are the viewer’s natural enemy. They
will confuse the eye and care
must be exercised to not become jaded or tricked, but rather to
characteristic individually and in comparison to other stones or photographs
The most accepted color grading system is that again of the GIA. Their system
is judged by using a series of master stones sold by the GIA or their
establish hues and tints and can be laid side by side
with the stone in question in order to
view how “white” the stone really is.
If at all possible, it is certainly worth
one’s time to visit a large gem
dealer with the intent or apparent intent of purchasing a
goodsized stone and
ask to see a master set and become used to judging the color on several
until you have a feel for the concept of whiteness, transparency and hues.
Technology has now produced a practical and inexpensive (comparatively) method
your own diamond master stones. These stones are available in all
colors D through Z on the
GIA scale and are excellent to have on hand to
compare with any other stone you may be
considering purchasing in order to
rate the new stone. These stones are color correct because
they’re created to
be exactly the color they’re supposed to be.
How can this be cheap?
The stones are not diamonds. They’re CZ’s, cubic
zirconia. These CZ stones look like diamonds,
act like diamonds, smell like
diamonds and can be matched to a real diamond in order to
compare colors with
an extreme degree of accuracy. A five stone set with a color test box is
Danley Trading Corporation
580 Fifth Ave.
York, NY 10036
There’s also a device known as a color meter which
electronically measures the
color or lack of color in a stone. This meter is quite accurate
fairly hard to come by unless one is a member of the Gemological Institute of
The GIA color rating system has been established using alphabetical
nomenclature. The stones are rated from pure (totally colorless) down through
a sliding scale
to yellow, which is the least valuable stone. The GIA color
rating system starts with the
letter D and progresses through the alphabet as
shown below to Z, which would be very
A B C D E F ) Colorless
G H I J ) Near Colorless
K L ) Faint
M ) Yellow-White
N O ) Very Light Yellow
P ) Light Yellow
Q ) Yellow
R S T U
V ) Yellow to Fancy
W ) Fancy
X Y Z ) Yellow
After the letter
Z, indicators are used to suggest the stone is more valuable
because of its hue; i.e., a
“fancy” color. As you can see from the above chart,
D, E and F stones are considered
completely colorless. G, H, I and J are near
colorless stones and take a lot of practice for
the amateur to see any color
at all, while after J the stones begin to pick up a small tint of
is noticeable to practiced gemologists.
To correctly grade a gemstone, the
stone must be loose, not in a setting,
should be on a perfectly white background, should have
a white gem quality
temperature light and should be viewed from the rear of the stone. In
words, the stone should be upside down Iying on its table. It is also
helpful to have stones of known color grades nearby for active
to judge the color of a diamond when it is set in any kind of
setting, be it earring, ring, or
whatever as it is strictly impossible to
judge the color of a mounted stone that is taking on
hues and tints from the
Color is a very important consideration in
choosing investment quality
diamonds and, in fact, the differences in large sizes such as one
over from a D to an E color (again these are the top rated stones and are both
considered colorless to the naked eye) can be double the price between these
two grades. .
Bear in mind also that a good diamond cutter can cut a
colored stone in order
to make it appear whiter than it is WHEN THE STONE IS MOUNTED by doing
shallower cut that’s more spread on the point where the facets come together.
will make the stone appear less yellow, again only after it’s mounted.
This is another reason
one should never judge a stone that is in a mounting
of any sort.
The cut of a brilliant
diamond may be the most singular important consideration
in buying a stone within a set price
range. Unless one is an expert and feels
his knowledge is good enough to override general
public consideration, there
is only one cut to consider and that is the “brilliant”
cut. Brilliant cut is
a modern cut that is a completely round stone designed with 58 facets
maximize light reflection and “fire” within a diamond.
There are a lot of
stones still around which have what is known as a European
cut. This cut was done in the
1920’s and before and does not compare in value
to the modern brilliant cut. The old cut or
European cut stones were cut
before exact ratios and angles were established and understood by
cutting society and, as such, do not maximize the reflecting and refraction
qualities of the stone. European cut stones such as those purchased at pawn
shops and estate
sales, are much harder to resell and do not offer the
liquidity of a brilliant cut diamond.
/> There are other popular modern cuts such as the marquise, the oval and the
attract some buyers when designed for jewelry, due to their unique
appearance. These cuts do
not reflect as well as the brilliant cut and are
rarely seen in investment quality jewelry.
Again, the fancier cuts will be
on the average much harder to sell (definitely harder to sell
to a dealer)
than is the round brilliant cut stone.
Fancy cut diamonds have fewer angles
cut to what is known as the “critical
angle” and, as such, cannot be as brilliant as
a round cut stone. The fancier
a stone is, the more it differs from a brilliant cut, the
greater the loss in
light reflection will be.
Another phenomena to be aware of in fancy
cut stones such as pear shapes or
marquise shapes, is something called the bow tie effect.
This is a dark,
cloudy area across the upper portion of the table on these stones. It is a
/> quality inherent in the cutting and looks like a cloudy bow tie across the
portion of the table. This obviously lowers the value of the stone
considerably and, if one is
thinking about a fancy cut stone, this effect
should be taken into consideration.
cut stones have only two bottom facets as opposed to the eight found in
round cut stones to
reflect the light back. While they still may appear to be
fairly brilliant, the refraction,
the fire of the stone, will suffer
critically. This loss progresses from the marquise cut
through the straight
cuts such as the emerald cut diamond. These straight cut stones suffer a
light and fire loss and are not nearly as valuable as the same stone would be
in a brilliant cut.
An uncut diamond is normally sawn or split into two or more stones as
by the diamond cutter. It just takes a simple error here to completely ruin a
valuable stone and turn it into nothing but dust. Now you can understand the
among diamond cutters and airport controllers…
Once a rough diamond is split, the diamond
cutter then decides how the stone
will be laid out and cut. This operation means that a
certain portion of the
diamond will be ground off and lost and so this cut plan becomes an
step in finishing the final stone.
The first step taken by the diamond cutter
is to girdle the diamond. This
process of girdling establishes the size of the stone and puts
a “waste” on
the stone (see the diagram). If a stone is poorly girdled, it will not
completely round when viewed with the jeweler’s loupe or microscope. A round
brilliant cut stone should be perfectly round and symmetrical.
Other mistakes in girdling will
produce flaws that manifest themselves as a
razor thin girdle which is prone to chipping or
breaking (even though diamonds
are extremely hard, they are brittle and can be chipped or
shattered in thin
areas). A too thick girdle takes away from the brilliance and fire of a
and indicates a poor job on the part of the diamond cutter.
A diamond cutter cuts
(in a brilliant cut) 58 facets all done on exact angles
in exact positions in order to let the
diamond reflect as much light as is
physically possible. The brilliant cut stone has 16 facets
on top and 16
facets on the bottom that reflect the light and give the stone its cut. Each
/> facet is cut on a unique angle and is exactly straight when viewed with other
order to maximize light reflection.
When you view a brilliant cut stone, around the table of
the stone you’ll see
the kite and the topmain facets. These facets are the areas that allow
light to come through to the viewer. Beneath these you have eight star facets
then 16 upper girdle facets before you reach the girdle itself. Beneath
the girdle you have an
additional 16 lower girdle facets. All these ancillary
facets contribute to the light
reflection through the kite and top main facets
and the table portion of the stone.
is the advantage of the 58 facet brilliant cut stone? What does one
expect to see when viewing
a diamond? There are two qualities that make a
diamond attractive to the eye. The first one is
known as life and indicates
the amount of light that is reflected back from the diamond to the
The second quality is known as fire, which is an indication of the amount of
refraction from the facets and split into colors as in a prism effect.
Besides the 58 facets,
a number of other factors contribute to the perfectness
of a brilliant cut stone. The stone’s
table should be 53% of the area of the
stone. While the ratio between the depth of the stone
or the length of the
stone if you view it from the side, to the spread of the stone which is
maximum diameter of the girdle, this ratio should be 60% depth to spread.
on a stone must be cut exactly to critical angles. Any deviation
will produce a less than
perfect reflection of the light waves entering the
stone. A jeweler will have special gauges
to measure these angles. These
gauges are available but they are expensive. Or one can buy a
loupe that is
marked with angle markings (about $50 from suppliers like Edmund Scientific).
/> When angles are viewed through this loupe, they can be accurately measured .
measurement to take is the degree of the angle from the table to the
girdle of the stone. This
is known as the top critical angle and should be 34
1/2 degrees. Underneath the girdle, the
bottom angle from the girdle to the
point of the stone is also a critical angle and should be
cut at 40 3/4
degrees. A further measurement is that the girdle should be about 1% as thick
/> as the diameter of the stone, although this is not quite as critical as the
measurements and can be judged by the eye after a bit of practice.
A stone which is not cut
with the critical angles in the right degree, will
either be shallow cut or deep cut and will
not reflect the light back through
the center of the stone (the table of the stone) with the
same brilliance as
a stone that is cut to the correct angles.
If the stone is shallow
cut, the light will reflect off the edges of the stone
but not through the middle. If it is
cut too deeply, the center of the stone
will appear to be dark and it is called
“heavy.” In the past some cutters cut
the upper angles at a less than 30 degree cut.
This “spread cut” helps hide
deficiencies in a stone but makes the girdle angles
sharp and likely to be
broken or chipped and the stone is not as valuable as a normally cut
If the correct tool for sizing angles is not available, one can estimate that
the table appears to be larger than it should, and the width to height
(that is the depth
spread ratio) is below 60%, one can assume that the
critical crown angles are shallow.
It is possible to polish a diamond to a high degree to compensate for shallow
or deep cut
angles at first glance and make the stone appear to be more
brilliant than it, in fact, is. If
the stone is chosen for investment quality,
a measurement of these angles is almost essential
The fourth and final C in evaluating a
diamond for purchase is the carat
weight. The term carat is a reference to biblical times when
compared against a carob bean because carob beans tend to have a uniform size
/> and weight. One carob bean became the equivalent of one carat. The carat is
primary unit of diamond weight used today. However, a carat is
further broken down into 100
sub units called points. One point equals 1/100
of a carat.
When you buy diamonds it is
often mentally economical to break the price of
the stone down to a per carat basis. A rather
crude example would be if you
were buying drugs you would break the price of a kilo down into
a gram weight
to establish what you are actually paying per unit. The same is true in
diamonds. You should divide the weight of the diamond into the price to get
The next thing to realize is that carat weights do not follow a linear
progression in terms of price. There are certain man-made break points in
diamond pricing. The
first break is at .50 (1/2) of a carat. The second break
is at 1 carat and then succeeding
breaks occur at each carat thereafter.
These breaks, although arbritrary, are valid and a
diamond that is .52 of a
carat will cost considerably more than a diamond that is .44 of a
diamond that is over 1 carat, say 1.03 carats, will cost considerably more
point or per carat than would a diamond that is .94. Because this break
is so critical, one
should always see a diamond weighed in front of one on a
scale that has been verified by using
an accurate unit of measure. In other
words, put a one gram weight on the scale and see if it
actually reads one
Because of the price involved, these break points are quite
important and one
does not want to pay the price differential for over a 1 carat diamond for
that’s actually a couple points under. When it comes time for resale, the next
will not be so generous in his consideration of the weight.
These price breaks are very
substantial and are one of the few things in
diamond selling that is not subjective. As such
they are quite evident in all
diamond sales. The difference per carat weight in a diamond that
1 to 2 carats may be as much as $1,000 per carat or more, on a 2 to 3 carat
diamond. This holds true on a 3 to 4 carat diamond also. One could expect to
pay not $1,000
more but $1,000 per carat more. This tends to increase as one
gets into the heavier weights
and good grades of stones because the stones
become much rarer. It is much easier to find
small good stones than it is to
find large stones of the same quality.
for that matter, diamond retailers, buy their diamonds on a
per carat basis and if you are
going to buy from anyone in the business, you
should consider the stone in that same light.
/> It is practically impossible to quote diamond prices in a paper like this
because they are
subject to change and market fluctuations. Retail diamond
prices are also subject to seasonal
conditions and one will find that holidays
and gift giving times such as Christmas tend to
bring about severe prices from
retail outlets while the spring and summer months will often
evoke a more
favorable estimate from a retailer who needs to make his rent that month.
Wholesale diamond prices should not change too much due to seasons or gift
Wholesale prices will vary when the market demands exceed supply
and also tend, as with gold,
to function somewhat independently and opposite
of “soft” currency such as the
The price one pays is determined by how much the seller wants to sell the
and how much the buyer wants to buy it. Obviously in certain situations,
stones are cheaper
than they would be in a high markup area such as with a
A stone may come
with an appraisal sheet from one of the two gemological
societies recognized in America. This
sheet, as we have seen, details a number
of qualities about the stone and will establish an
appraised price. A couple
things one should be aware of about appraisals; the first is that
Appraisals are an instrument designed for insurance companies
to establish a
possible price on a diamond that includes a number of factors such as
in value during ownership. The appraisal sheet will be inflated over the value
of the diamond. One never expects to pay full appraisal price for a diamond
and if one does,
the term “saw you coming” falls quite aptly into place.
Appraisals also vary from
person to person even with accredited gemologists.
The same stone can bring about two entirely
separate appraisals that may
differ in value by hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Again,
is a piece of paper that allows the insurance company to set a value on the
/> stone, not that the insurance company will necessarily pay off the appraisal
at full price
One cannot make a living by buying diamonds, having them appraised and then
reporting them to the insurance company for too long.
Appraisals, on a very general basis,
tend to be nearly double the price that
a stone will actually sell for. This is a very wide
statement and some
appraisals will, of course, be closer to the actual value of the stone
Appraisals cost money and if you are good enough to sell the qualities
stone after a little bit of practice, your own word and your own peace of mind
will be more valid than a piece of paper. You are buying a piece of paper
that someone else
may not want to buy.
One should actually consider that one is buying the stone, not a piece
paper telling one how valuable the stone is. This could be compared to buying
because the owner wrote an article about how exciting the car was.
Needless to say one should
base the actual purchase price on the vehicle
Reasons for getting an
accredited appraisal are having the stone you want
insured, or when you go to sell the stone,
having an appraisal that verifies
the stone’s quality to an unsophisticated buyer and that
lists the price
considerably higher than you actually expect to get for the stone, which
help sell the stone.
This is a nice line of thinking as long as you are the seller
and not the
buyer. This is a buyer beware type of business and you should know what you’re
/> getting and should take all safeguards possible to insure you’re getting what
you think you
are. If you’re buying in a slightly dubious situation and
perhaps are not as concerned with
the stone’s pedigree as some people would
be, you should be prepared to never see the seller
again and live or die on
your evaluation of the stone, not a piece of paper from an
It should also be pointed out that in certain situations one would not want to
/> take a stone in to an appraiser. I will leave this to the imagination of the
Although appraisals are intended for an insurance company’s benefit, one
should realize that
if an insured stone is stolen or otherwise destroyed, the
insurance company may want
additional information regarding the purchase of
the stone along with an independent
appraisal. There are exceptions to this
rule. If this stone was a gift or was left to one in
an estate, obviously an
appraisal becomes the primary instrument of value determination and,
is extremely useful to have on hand.
As a sidebar here, there are ways of
destroying or damaging a diamond, even
though a diamond is one of the hardest materials known
to man. As previously
pointed out, they are brittle. If you strike a diamond with a hammer,
dissolve it into useless industrial dust. If you touch a diamond to an
torch of significant temperature, you will observe an extremely
interesting and costly
phenomenon where the diamond turns back into the same
black carbon that it came from.
Graphite, in other words. Once this happens the only recourse is to hope the
diamond was large
enough to burn in the furnace and get some heat because
there is no way of changing it back
quite as readily to its crystalline form.
DIAMOND: AVAILABILITY AND PRICES
Diamonds are found literally the world over from black
specimens in Brazil to
flawless whites in Arkansas. Unquestionably the largest supply of
comes from South Africa where the mines are owned and run by the De Beers
family and have been for a number of years. The De Beers closely guard both
the stones and
information about their production.
Diamonds are found typically in a type of formation known
as a pipe because of
its resemblance to a pipe driven vertically in the ground. The top part
pipe normally contains “yellow earth” which contains natural stones which
be fairly easiiy crumbled and separated out by specific gravity and the fact
diamonds stick to grease. Most stones do not.
Once the yellow earth pushed from the pipe is
used up, the second section is
known as “blue earth.” This is a much harder,
clay-like material that at first
was thought to contain no diamonds and be too hard to crack
open because any
diamonds inside would be smashed by the cracking process. It was later
discovered this clay-like material dries in the sun or under artificial heat
to a consistency
that allows it to be crumbled. It does contain as many or
more stones as the yellow earth
section of the pipe does.
The De Beers have a unique position, more so than any other firm in
field of commodities. They literally control the price and availability of
diamonds the world over. They do this through something called the Central
Organization (CSO). The CSO literally controls the sales of almost
all gem quality diamonds in
They allow sales in a unique ceremony known as a sight allocation where upon
a De Beers authorized dealer is allowed to buy a certain number of stones
they select, wrap
and deliver to him at a price they set. This is not an
offering but a take-it-or-leave-it
situation and if one leaves too many
finally De Beer or CSO no longer deals with that
particular person. He will
no longer be a sight holder. This relationship between the sight
the CSO is an instrument to instill fear in the wholesaler who depends upon
a single supplier.
The CSO, in order to maintain its level of prices, buys or guarantees to
all natural diamonds produced in the world. They do this in order to maintain
exact supply and demand ratio they feel is advantageous to the market.
Extra stones are stored
in bank vaults, supposedly in London and a few other
countries and only marketed when the
supply for them increases. De Beers and
their organization, the CSO, do not make public
exactly how many diamonds are
being produced and how many are being released or what the price
to if the natural odds of supply and demand took over, rather than the
structured sales organization.
For example, current gem prices are as follows:
Prices are approximate current wholesale purchase prices
paid by retail jewelers on a per
April April April April
1987 1988 1987
Amethyst 1 ct. $4-6 $4-6 $6-10 $6-10
Aquamarine 1 ct. $40-100 $40-100
Blue Sapphire 1 ct. $250-550 $300-600 $660-1300 $600-2600
Blue Topaz 1
ct. $5-6 $5-6 $6-9 $6-9
Emerald 1 ct. $900-1800 $900-1800 $1800-3000 $1800-3000
Tourmaline 1 ct. $25-60 $25-60 $60-120 $50-125
Rhodolite Garnet 1 ct. $15-25 $15-25 $25-35
Ruby 1 ct. $875-2300 $1000-3500 $2300-3300 $2500-3500
Tanzanite 1 ct. $125-275
$160-250 $275-450 $250-350
Tsavorite 1 ct. $400-700 $400-600 $700-1200 $500-800
Round diamonds Price per carat
VS1 VS2 S11
Size Color 4/87 4/88
4/87 4/88 4/87 4/88
1/4 ct. G $1000 $1200 $950 $1000 $800 $840
H $950 $1000 $900
$950 $780 $820
1/2 ct. G $2200 $2400 $2000 $2200 $1700 $1800
H $2100 $2200 $1900 $2000
3/4 ct. G $2500 $2700 $2300 $2500 $2100 $2200
H $2400 $2400 $2200 $2200
1 ct. G $3900 $4200 $3500 $3700 $3000 $3200
H $3600 $3700 $3200 $3300 $2800
If you want to follow wholesale prices exactly, a quarterly newsletter is
available for $125 per year. For more information write to this address:
5 North Wabash, Suite 1500
Chicago, IL 60602.
SINGLE STONE IDENTIFICATION
The odds on finding an
uncut diamond, unless one happens to be walking on a
patrolled, electrified, mined and guard
dog guarded beach in South Africa,
are fairly rare. However, uncut diamonds have a number of
that lend ease to their identification.
They normally appear as cloudy,
white or slightly colored pebbles with a
unique coal, greasy feel to the touch as they are
excellent conductors of
heat. Natural diamonds can be dipped in water and will not remain
water does not stick to the surface. These diamonds do, however, stick
common axle grease when passed over them, but most stones will not.
also occur as crystals and normally have at least one side of
the crystal that is flat and
appears as a facet. Sometimes more than one side
will take on this characteristic.
Positive identification of diamonds or other gems is achieved by a number of
methods. Specific gravity is a good place to start. This
concept is very simple. It is based
upon the weight of a certain material in
relation to the weight in an equal volume of
If the material has a specific gravity of four, it will weigh four times as
as with that much water. Specific gravity is usually checked by using
weighing scales that
allow suspension of the specimen. First it’s weighed in
air, then it’s weighed in water. The
weight in water subtracted from the
weight in air with the quotient divided into the weight in
air. This gives
the specific gravity of the material.
Most gem materials have a specific
gravity of less than four. If somebody
wants an accurate but fairly fast method, he can
produce a few heavy liquids
and bottle them to suit his needs. There are a number of liquids
tetrabromo ethane and methylene iodine that will work. The first having a
specific rate of 2.95 that can be diluted with kerosene to any gravity one
wishes and the
second, 3.33. It can be diluted with toluene to produce a
series of liquids of certain
gravities in between. Leaving the material in
question in the bottle, you can tell at a glance
if correct and what the
specific gravity and the density is.
The specific gravity of
diamonds varies slightly depending on where the
diamond came from but will fall between 3.50
The next reliable indicator used is a scale of hardness indicator. As most
people realize, diamonds are the hardest stone in the world. The hardness
refers to something called Mohs hardness.
The Mohs scale is a 0 – 10 scale. There is another
scale that’s 0 -15 making
it easier to differentiate between the marginal gems that fall
between 9 – 10, but the Mohs scale is primarily in use.
Hardness simply refers to the ability
of one material to scratch another.
Harder material always scratches a softer material.
The difficulty in making the scratch or appearance does not come into play.
Simply the fact
that it can be made.
It should be pointed out that the Mohs scale does not correlate to the
/> relative hardness of the materials. In other words, a diamond is not something
that is 10x
harder than something that is a 1 on the scale. The scale is
simply there to present a basis
on which, when a material is scratched,
another material can be identified as harder.
Diamonds are a 10 on the hardness scale. Quartz is a 7 on the hardness scale
as are most types
of tourmaline. Most garnets are 7 1/4 on the scale.
Synthetic emerald tends to be 7 1/4 to 7
1/2. Silicon carbide is a 9 1/4 to 9
1/2 on the scale, meaning it will not scratch diamond and
diamond will scratch
Opals begin at 4 1/2 and go up through 5 on the scale while
turquoise is 5.
Rubies are 9 on the hardness scale.
It is also possible to set a piece
of gem material between two Polaroid plates
that are set so that no light may be seen between
them. The lower plate that
the gem sits on is known as a polarizer. The upper plate is the
polarizer is fixed but the analyzer is rotated.
If during a complete
rotation, the material remains dark with no change, it is
called isotropic. If it is
nonisotropic, it will change from light to dark
four times during a complete rotation. The
normal nonisotropic pattern is a
sharp cutoff from light to dark, much as extinguishing a
fire. By doing this
with a gem, it is possible to establish a refractive index.
this is a fairly mind boggling exercise and there are easier ways to
tell, at least with
All precious stones have bad name counterparts, some of which are better than
others. Synthetic stones (or by the correct name “created gems”) are defined
as “chemically, physically and optically” the same as real gemstones.
They are more
expensive than imitation or faux stones which don’t have the
real characteristics but they’re
considerably cheaper than natural stones of
the same variety. As long ago as in Victorian
times, the French were creating
synthetic rubies, emeralds and sapphires, which is a surprise
to some people
who buy estate jewelry thinking it contains a real stone only to find it is
Today’s methods are definitely more sophisticated and create gems so
only trained jewelers and gemologists can tell them apart from their natural
cousins… IF THEN!
It’s possible to create flaws in a created stone although it’s more common
see created stones being too flawless or too perfect to be true.
have existed for years although they have primarily been of
industrial quality. Scientists
have claimed it is impossible to make gem
quality diamonds. This is not true. About 25 years
ago General Electric
discovered it could make perfect, flawless gem quality diamonds which
impossible to tell from their natural cousins. They decided not to continue
experiment in any mass version because it was “economically unfeasible.”
1950’s the Soviets discovered a large diamond pipe in Siberia and began
producing gem quality
diamonds. In 1962 the CSP decided to buy all uncut
diamonds produced by the Soviet Union as to
allow them to be under De Beers
price control. They expected that, based on comparisons with
their own mines
in South Africa, the Soviets would begin to run out of diamonds in about
and, therfore, they could afford to buy all the diamonds they would produce.
Approximately once a month, a chartered aircraft lands in London and
$50,000,000 worth of
diamonds are turned over to De Beers Diamond Trading
Company for the equivalent hard
De Beers is not very fond of this arrangement but they feel they must do it
order to keep up the diamond prices.
However, an unusual development occurred to the shock of
the De Beers. The
size of the Soviet shipments did not stop in 1970 but rather increased
dramatically between 1970 and 1975, besides which the diamonds seemed to be
very homogenous in
character, averaging 1/4 carat, flawless with sharp,
angular edges and a slight green tint.
The Soviet diamonds seemed to be
remarkably uniform in size and shape and, unlike their
did not come in a multitude of round, square, flat, triangular or
shapes but rather ere octahedons.
Coincidentally, the Soviets, under some
pressure, have admitted they, with a
group of 1200 researchers, developed a way to manufacture
a flawless gem
quality diamond. This process was officially developed in the 1960’s by one
/> Leonoid Veres Yagin. The Soviets claim they are not manufacturing these gems
but they are
natural gems that they keep selling to De Beers.
American agencies, after numerous requests,
were finally allowed to visit the
Siberian mine and found it hopelessly inadequate in size and
process even more than a fraction of the diamonds the Soviets are showing the
/> De Beers. The De Beers insist these diamonds are natural and deny the Soviets
capability to flood the diamond market with a virtually unlimited
these man made natural diamonds, there is the problem of cubic
zirconia or CZ. It is usually
sold under a trade name such as Zirconia,
Phyanite and Diamonique. Technically, CZ is not a
synthetic diamond but it is
a crystallization of the chemical zirconia that, when cut, has
most of the
optical characteristics of a diamond.
CZ is not as hard as a diamond and it
does have a different specific gravity.
It takes 1.70 carat CZ to equal 1 carat diamond in
CZs, however, in the last few years, have become increasingly close to
and good CZs are impossible to tell from diamonds by the eye. In
fact, we had several
gemologists look at unmounted CZ and unmounted diamonds,
and they admitted they could not tell
the difference. The only one who did
pick out the CZ with some regularity was because, he
said, the stones were too
flawless to be diamonds…
Hardly a reliable way to judge
As one can see, the potential for fraudulent misuse of CZ is quite high and
there have been a number of occasions where people were sold CZ instead of
their diamond rings into unscrupulous jewelers or gemologists,
only to have CZ put in the same
mountings and returned to them. There have
been a number of cases of people looking at
diamonds in a jewelry store, and
with a quick distraction, replacing the diamond in full view
of the jeweler
with a CZ and giving that back instead. These will pass on sight. How do you
/> tell a CZ from a diamond? Well, luckily technology has come to the rescue.
There are a
number of devices on the market that, for under $150, will
electronically test the material to
see if it is a diamond or not. Diamonds
have unique electrical resistance patterns and CZ have
their own. These
devices are simply touched to the material in question and will tell if it
a diamond or a CZ. It is a good thing to have on hand if one plans on dealing
There are a couple of different systems for forming synthetic rubies and
One is to use a seed chip of the natural stone and then combine
chemicals, heat and pressure
to “grow” rubies and emeralds. The latest
processes are known as flux processes,
which combine heat and/or pressure to
work on the ingredients composing the gemestone to be
ingredients are fairly easy to come by; i.e., carbon for diamonds or
These flux processes are designed to produce richly colored stones
always do. They usually have greater clarity than the natural variety although
/> sometimes offer distinguishing inclusions which telltale their origin.
The most famous
emeralds are probably Chatham synthetics which grow in a
group of crystals. They were first
grown in 1935 by Caroll Chatham of San
Francisco. The Chatham family still grows these gems
but doesn’t care to
discuss the process. The Chatham emerald sometimes has small spicule
inclusions on the face of the facets as a result of the crystal forming
Gillson is another variety of snythetic emerald. There is also a Japanese
gentleman by the
name of Kazuo Inamora, President of Kyoto Ceramics, who has
three showrooms in Japan and one
in Beverly Hills selling “created” rubies
and emeralds. These created stones have
caught on quite well in other
countries including Japan and may or many not catch on here. As
you can see
by my chart, the price difference between the synthetic and the natural
stones is quite great.
Once again, we’ve had experience with Chatham’s emeralds and have had a
of gemologists that had great difficulty telling the natural emerald from the
Chatham emerald. In many cases, they both would have passed off as natural
/> Natural: 1-carat Emerald (top quality) $20,000+
Man-made: 1-carat Chatham-created Emerald
(top quality) $400
Natural: 1-carat Ruby $20,000+
Chatham-created Ruby $400
Natural: 1-carat Sapphire $5,000-$14,000
1-carat Chatham-created Sapphire $200-$300
Natural: 1-carat Diamond $20,000+
Man-made: 1.70-carat CZ under $100
Natural: 16″ cultured (7mm) pearl choker
Natural: 1- carat Star Sapphire $3,000
1-carat synthetic Star Sapphire $50
Natural: 1-carat Star Ruby $12,000
1-carat synthetic Star Ruby $50
SCAMS AND YOU
with small objects of high value such as precious stones, it’s not
surprising to find there
are a number of creative ongoing scams. The most
obvious, of course, is simply to sell a less
valuable stone in a more valuable
rating. We have seen, in the case of diamonds, how even
though subjective, a
small difference in the rating can make a large difference in the
Again, never buy mounted stones.
Substitution of less valuable stones is an
offshoot of this where colorless
topaz may be substituted for diamonds since most stones are
have quite a bit of luster. The specific gravity of the topaz qill approach
/> that of a diamond. Of course, it won’t pass other tests for a diamond.
Yellow quartz is
often substituted for a yellow diamond. Red spinel is often
offered for ruby. The worst
examples of this occur in areas where the real
stones are found.
emeralds” sold on the streets of Colombia, Peru and Brazil are often
made from the
bottoms of 7-Up bottles…
Sometimes diamonds are manipulated by taking a yellow diamond and
polishing it to look white. On occasion oil may be rubbed in to make it
/> Obviously the stones should be examined as we’ve shown.
Burma, India, Ceylon, Brazil, Peru
and even Hong Kong and Thailand are
notorious places for substitution of non-gem materials in
Sometimes cut stones in upper and lower portions are cemented together. This
is known as a doublet. It is possible to take two diamonds, the upper portion
one and the
lower of another and cement them together to create one diamond
without the inherent flaws
that the opposite piece had before the fushing
It is also possible, and is
almost as common, to find the upper portion of a
doublet is genuine while the lower portion is
cut from a comparatively worth-
less material such as quartz or glass and then glued. If this
is done with a
great amount of skill, it will have the appearance of a single stone. It is
/> legal to combine things such as diamonds, rubies, and sapphire doublets if
they are not
sold fraudulently (hehe).
It is possible to drop the stone in water or acetone and if it’s a
doublet, the glue will dissolve and the stone come apart. However, if glass
been used that’s been fused to a diamond top, this will have no effect
and the fusion must be
found by careful, microscopic examination. This fraud
is extremely difficult to detect.
A better test is to immerse the stone in a strong, refracting liquid such as
iodide. This is diluted until suddently one part of the stone
becomes invisible. This occurs
when the refraction index of a liquid is the
same as that of the stone and the quartz portion
which has a much lower
refraction number becomes invisible, leaving the diamond portion
This is an indication of a double stone. Indian jewelers are especially known
for their production of such doublet stones.
For the extremely naive, it is possible to buy a
false doublet. Here the color
of the lower portion is imparted to the upper harder portion but
may be gem quality. This is when a piece of rock crystal quartz, a rather
colorless stone, is used or glued to colored glass or colored stones. In this
case, the top
part will take on the color of the bottom part, although neither
one is a gem stone.
Extremely cheap doublets have been passed off by using simple colored gelatin
or coloring and
quartz or glass and a bit of glue.
Besides these tricks designed to use modified stone, there
are scams such as
examing a stone or piece of jewelry and having a second made to match and
/> swapping the two. This can be done when someone goes to answer a newspaper
ad, does not buy
it but takes a picture or impression of it. Then his friend
makes the phony and goes to
“examine” the piece and switches the new for the
It may also be
discovered a stone has been replaced with CZ after the piece
was left for cleaning or
Faked stones mounted in jewelry and then hocked is the oldest game in the
world. The perpetrator runs out of money, offers to leave his precious ring
as a security
until he can get the money he borrows back to the person. The
person may or may not skip with
the stone, feeling he has the $5,000 ring.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE AND WHERE TO GET
14 N. E. First
Avenue, Suite 809
Miami, FL 83132
They offer a jeweler’s pocket calculator that
does 15 of the most practical
equations in the jewelry business. This includes calculating
gold daily costs,
costs for different diamond sizes, diamond weights based on the type of
and inside profit level. It also shows the amount of alloy and gold needed in
manufacturing various carat levels of gold.
Kassoy Tools & Supplies for the Jewelry
28 West 47th St.
New York, NY 10036
A number of fairly inexpensive
good items for anyone interested in jewels
including a dependable diamond guard, which is a
light and sound diamond
indicator with recharageable batteries and a metal warring buzzer. You
touch it to the stones, any size down to 1 point and it will tell you if it’s
real or not. About $140. A Swiss leverage gauge which accurately estimates
the weight of
mounted diamonds in every shape and size for about $200. An
electronic gold tester for about
$400. You can determine the yellow gold
carat content of jewelry or any other gold within four
An instant reaction and LCD display tells you how pure gold, silver or
is. About $400, plus the master sets of CZ and jeweler microscopes.
3998 Hancock Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06606
JDM, Nahayakawa Bldg.
1-23-7 Nishi-Shimaeshi, Imato-Ku
Tokyo, T1 05
A Japanese company that offers a device that actually evaluates the cut of
diamond by passing light through it. The device is called a firescope and
red light into the stone and measures the amount of light reflected
through the crown. One can
use the firescope and look at a diamond and
immediately tell if the diamond is leaking light,
which means it has non-well
proportioned areas on the cut. If the diamond appears in
completely red, this
means it is reflecting and refracting all the light it should A great
Emeralds are a green crystal of
beryllium-aluminum silicate. The chemical
formula is Be3Al2(SiO3)6 (use some of that great
information you learned in
high school). They are hexagonal prismatic crystal with a hardness
of 7 1/2
to 8 on the Mohs scale. They are not tough stones and may be broken easily by
mishandling or the use of severe chemicals or ultrasonic cleaners. If you own
an emerald, be
careful of it. Don’t wear it during sports. Don’t have a
jeweler clean it in an ultrasonic
cleaner as it may shatter.
Emeralds also break under applications of heat and should never be
in a ring
that is soldered. Under ultraviolet light they may fluoresceslightly,
red to red, or they may be inert.
Emeralds come from a number of sources. The best come from
Colombia. These are
the purest colored and generally the finest stones. The emeralds from
are lighter, have more inclusions and are generally smaller than from other
areas. Zambia, Africa, produces some bluish stones and some near-Colombian
stones. Zimbabwe is
home to a particular emerald known as the sandawana
emerald which is generally small with a
rich green color. Anything over 1/3
carat is rare.
South Africa produces some
low-quality emeralds. Tanzania produces a few very
good quality emeralds. Pakistan has just
discovered some high-quality
emeralds. Afghanistan tends to produce flawed but good colored
does produce emeralds but doesn’t like to let them out of the country.
Australia produces some dubious quality emeralds and North Carolina a few gems.
India occasionally produce emeralds.
Emeralds are not unusual as the word emerald simply
indicates an extremely
nice version of a fairly common stone known as beryl. It is possible to
something legitimately called an emerald for about $5 a carat. Obviously this
full of flaws, not transparent and so impure in color it looks more like
jade than an emerald.
They would never be sold in a jewelry store but emeralds
do sell on TV and some of the better
magazines for $5 per carat.
Gem quality emeralds range anywhere from $400 to $18,000 a carat,
upon their quality. As the stones get larger, they become increasingly rare
and sell for considerably more money.
Color is a critical factor in emeralds and constitutes
about half of the
stone’s value (clarity 30% and cut 20%).
Hue describes the primary
color and any other colors in the stone. Most
emeralds are green hued with a bluish hue also
visible, especially the better
Tone is the depth or darkness of
the color as perceived by the eye.
Saturation is the amount of hue present in any given
Depending upon where the emeralds come from, they can exhibit a wide range of
color; i.e., Bra~ilian emeralds are usually lighter toned and less saturated
The green in the emerald is caused by trace elements of chromium and/or
/> bandium. If the color is very light green, the stone is more correctly
referred to as green
beryl, not emerald.
Emeralds are often oiled to help their appearance. Normally an uncolored
such as Merck cedarwood oil is used. The stone may soak in the oil for several
and will actually take the oil in somewhat, helping bring out the color
“wedding” on some of the dry inclusions, making the stone look better.
If one finds
an emerald that is mild in color or has a grayish hue, it is a
good bet to soak it in oil a
couple days and it may regain its green color,
not to mention its value.
unscrupulous “improvement” is to use dye or oil with color in it. It
is possible to
influence the color of a stone by having it soak up colored
Other problems with
buying emeralds are the fact that there are a number of
stones that look like emeralds and
overlap colors. Tsavorite, a garnet found
in Kenya and Tanzania, looks quite a bit like
emerald and has a pure green
hue, although it tends to be a little bit more yellowish and
never has the
blue hue of emerald.
Chrome tourmaline is another stone that looks much
like an emerald with a
moderately strong green color. Another emerald look-alike comes from
and is called chrome diopside. All these stones can, and are, sold as
Different emeralds from different areas tend to have individually shaped
inclusions; i.e., slight pyrite inclusions are typical of emeralds from
Colombia although they
can be seen in stones from other sources.
A three phase inclusion that shows up under a 1 Ox
or stronger microscope,
which has a distinctly liquid area, a gas bubble in a solid square
crystal, salt Iying superimposed on each other inside a jagged edged cavity,
typical of emeralds from Colombia and proves their natural origin.
Tropiche emeralds from
Colombia sometime exhibit six fine radiating arms of
black carbon inclusions, spoke-like in
appearance. Another type of this stone
has six arms of emeralds extending from the center of
the crystal with a white
shaped wedge area in between. When these stones are cut and mounted,
valuable because of their inclusions.
Emeralds are subject to not only customs
duty but market restraints as there
is no OSO type organization supporting them. It is
possible, if one is smart
and has verification equipment, to buy emeralds in other countries,
South America, and smuggle them to America for profit. Coincidentally, the
one smuggles emeralds from are the same areas one smuggles cocaine from
and these passport
stamps tend to yell search me, search me. Some people even
go to the trouble of swallowing and
then recovering emeralds although
obviously, we do not encourage or advise this dangerous
Ruby is a specie of corundum and ranges in
color from orange-red to purple-
red. It is medium light to very dark in tone and quite strong
Chemical composition of a ruby is Al203 It is a hexagonal crystal that often
/> comes in six-sided prisms, terminated by flat faces.
Ruby registers a 9 on the hardness
scale and is quite tough, unlike the
emerald, and not nearly as subject to breakage. Under
long wave ultraviolet,
a ruby will fluoresce red or orange-red to inert and under short wave
fluoresce moderate red to orange-red.
Rubies come from a number of areas
including Burma, which is usually
considered as the finest source of rubies in the world. The
best Burma stones
are medium dark and vivid red.
Thailand produces stones which are a
bit dark in tone and range from purple to
brownish red because they have a slight bit of iron
in them. Africa (Kenya,
Tanzania) produces stones that are normally highly included
reminiscent of Burma in color. Sri Lanka has occasional rubies but more often
sapphires that often mask as rubies.
In the U.S.A., North Carolina and Montana produce a few
produces fairly poor quality stones as does India and Colombia, Nepal and
Rubies tend to be valued partially by the country of their origin. Some rubies
/> now come with authenticated certificates of origin and the word Burma will
characteristically premium price even when considered next to a Thai
ruby that may appear
identical to the Burma ruby under incandescent light.
Under fluorescent light, the Burma ruby
will appear to fluoresce slightly and
take on a deeper saturation. This is a highly sought
after quality. Burma
rubies also have some fine rutile needles that are commonly referred to
“silk” that add rather than detract to the attractiveness of the stone and
further establish it as a Burma stone.
In order to establish a country of origin, a certified
lab such as the American
Gemological Laboratories in New York, has to study the ruby for body
under various conditions, fluorescence and inclusions. If a ruby is certified
top Burma ruby, the price may be 1 1/2 or twice what it was as an unknown
or as a presumed
Rubies from Thailand tend to have a brownish or purplish overtone. Those from
Sri Lanka are generally very pink in color and more correctly referred to as
/> There are a number of ways to treat rubies to improve their color, clarity and
their value. The quick fix method is to dye or oil the ruby which
will help hide fractures,
inclusions and improve the color of the stone.
A further refinement of this is a diffusion
process where stones are immersed
in a chemical bath which contains a number of chemicals
which gives the ruby its color in the first place. This color is carried
the skin of the ruby by the chemicals and actually penetrates the skin. This
generally produces a light tone and the tone is only a skin which will dis-
The next common treatment is a heat treatment. Rubies stand heat far better
than emeralds do and it is fairly Gommon to heat both rubies and sapphires
which tends to
improve the color by driving out bluish or brownish tints and
will tend to dissolve the
transparency, lessening the “silk” inclusions on
heavily included stones.
These treatments all are dependent upon temperature, time and cooling rate,
but they will
bring about a permanent change in the stone leaving no chemicals
or treatment to be
In top ratings, rubies are rarer than diamonds but the actual supply of top
stones may vary greatly because of political situations. Many stones reach
the world markets
because they have been smuggled out of places (especially
Burma) through Thailand and other
friendlier countries. There is a fair amount
of profit to be made in the smuggling of
Smaller, included or industrial strength stones, are cheaper than their
cousins because they are more easily available.
The rhodolite garnet often approaches ruby in
color, although tends to be more
purplish than the ruby and less saturated but still are
sometimes sold as
Tourmaline also occurs in many color ranges including ruby red
sometimes sold as ruby.
A new stone called red spinel has a remarkable
resemblance to ruby and is not
often seen on the market because it is generally sold as a
Rubies have been synthesized since the late 1 800’s. There are two primary
of synthesizing rubies – the fusion method and the pulling method. In
the 1950’s, several
manufacturers began flux growing rubies which takes
considerably longer than the other methods
and produces a stone much closer
to its natural version. Flux grown rubies tend to be
extremely clear and
transparent with an orange overtone.
Fusion stones tend to be
strikingly flawless looking while the flux methods
may actually produce a number of inclusions
One clue to synthetic rubies is the cut. Because the material is cheapsr
waste is not as much a problem, machine cuts such as square or rectangular
JEWEL IDENTIFICATION AND THEFT
Because each gemstone is unique when considered with all its
color, irregularities, inclusions, refraction, reflection) it is possible
photograph a particular stone and record its measurements and ratings to
unique fingerprint that will identify that stone as surely as a
procedure is now being carried out on certain stones by certain insurance
individuals. The cost factor is prevalent.
Even if a stone is “fingerprinted” and
then stolen, there is no centralized
source location that every buyer or even every jeweler or
check before purchasing the stone. This record comes into play more often
/> when a stone is recovered and ownership is in question.
There are some exceptions to this
rule. Stones that are of immense value or
highly individualistic are put on hot lists.
Organizations such as Interpol
keep a record and submit copies of printed information along
suspects’ names to various countries’ police agencies, and a group called the
Jeweler’s Security Association puts out bulletins and occasionally flashes to
members on particularly bold, large or unusual gem thefts.
The criminal counter to this type
of recordkeeping is to immediately remove
any stones from their mountings and melt the
mountings down for the precious
metal they contain. The stone is then sold individually or
mixed in with a
group of other non-illegal stones and sold in a grouping. As anyone knows,
the stone is held a while, the “hotness” becomes less of a factor in a sale.
/> Large, unusual or famous stones can be taken to a less than honest cutter,
who can cut the
stone down into a number of smaller stones. This wastes some
of the material as does any
cutting procedure and makes the stones
intrinsically less valuable as size is a coveted asset
in investment quality
(or even jewelry quality) gemstones.
In spite of identification
and insurance company efforts, jewels still remain
one of the most highly sought after targets
and any jeweler or diamond cutter
realizes he must constantly update his security precautions
and it is still
probably only a matter of time before he is hit. Insurance rates for these
/> people are fairly substantial as one would imagine.
NOTES ON INFORMATION IN
Just for the sake of knowledge, or perhaps
you would like to find out more
on this subject, here are the titles of several books I used
to compile this
The Outlaw Report The Gemologists Handbook
Quarterly Cons, Scams, and other Swindles
All available at your local library or
Anarchy Collective Bookstore.
again, I hope you enjoyed this file, and that it helps you to
perhaps make some cash, or
transfer plastic to cash, etc. I would, as always
like to hear your views on this file, so
please leave them to me in Email on
any of the boards listed below.
I would now like to
take some time to give thanks to the many people who I
have dealt with lately… The White
Rider (as always), Maximum Overdrive, Mind
Walker, /<ludge, Strato Viper, Grandmaster
Ratte’, and anyone else whom I
forgot (who was worth mentioning, of course!).
Uncle Sam wants YOU…
Demon Roach [PW:
THRASH cDc Board – A Classic – GREAT ] 24 806-794-4362
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The Works [Tons of Files cDc Board Give it a call ] 24
/> This concludes another wonderful file by Video Vindicator (C)opyright 1992