If you inherit or find a piece of antique jewelry with a ruby in it, you may think that it's your lucky day. However, rubies are rarer than diamonds in the world of gemstones. Synthetic rubies have been manufactured since the early 1900's and jewelry set with manufactured rubies was quite popular in the 1920's and 1930's. You may have a genuine vintage ring or necklace, but there is a good chance that the rubies are synthetic or fake.
Even if your vintage or estate piece is made with manufactured rubies, it may very well be worth something if the rest of the piece is "real". If it turns out that the piece is just costume jewelry, treasure it if it was handed down to you, or return it if it was sold to you as an actual ruby, keeping in mind that synthetic rubies are chemically identical and test as real.
Fake rubies are made out of glass and are much easier to spot than a ruby created in a laboratory.
The Real Deal Versus Fake
Is it set in a high karat of metal?
First of all, take a look at the material that your ruby is set in. If it is in gold, is it a high karat? Real gemstones in vintage jewelry are usually set in a higher karat of white gold, rose gold, yellow gold, green gold, or platinum. The lowest karat that can legally be called gold in the United States is 10 Karats. If your "ruby" is set in a 10k ring, it is probably glass. This is the easiest test to know if you should bother to investigate your ruby further.
Antique jewelry made before 1906 or that was made by a blacksmith would not have karat markings.
What time period is your jewelry from?
If you suspect that your piece was made in the 1920's or 1930's, it is likely to be synthetic. Lab rubies exploded in popularity during this time as they were being mass produced. Real rubies were and still are, rare and expensive.
How big is it?
The larger the ruby, the more likely that is is going to be made out of glass.
What color is it?
Real and synthetic rubies are deep pink to bright red. Dark red rubies may actually be a garnet.
Does it scratch easily?
If the stone is scratched or has bubbles, it is likely made out of glass. Real and synthetic rubies are virtually scratch proof.
A local jeweller specializing in antique jewelry (such as Morgan Sonsthagen Jewelry Design) can help you determine if your ruby is real or synthetic.
As soon as I was promoted at work, I knew that I needed to invest a little more money into my wardrobe. I had been wearing the same old stuff for years, but I wanted to spruce up my appearance a little for my new job. After I bought a few new suits and invested in some nice blouses, I started shopping for high-end jewelry. I was able to find some necklaces and earrings that made me look gorgeous, while still maintaining my professional edge. This blog is all about choosing jewelry for the workplace, so that you can climb the corporate ladder.