Ruby is an expensive red gemstone with a high degree of transparency. Its cost can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on size and purity.
Even people with above-average incomes can't always afford jewelry with rubies, as high-quality rubies are rare in nature. But today, artificial rubies are used in the jewelry industry. These are beautiful, bright stones, with a high degree of transparency, and jewelry with them turns out to be catchy and luxurious. But not everyone knows how synthetic rubies differ from natural ones. Therefore, let's get to know them better.
Ruby is one of the varieties of corundum. They also include sapphires. Ruby refers to those corundums that are red, crimson, crimson, reddish-violet, rich lilac and red-brown. Too light stones, pink and light pink are referred to as pink sapphires.
Although technically, ruby and sapphire are identical in composition. Their formula is AI2O3. color differencedue to various impurities. The red color of the ruby is given by chromium compounds.
Corundum is the second hardest among all natural stones (9 on the Mohs scale). They are second only to diamonds.
Rubies are very beautiful. They shine beautifully and shimmer brightly when lit. Most often in jewelry you can see transparent rubies. However, there are also rarer representatives of red corundums - opaque, with the effect of asterism (star-like, when impurities form rays) and "cat's eye" (one ray).
The price of rubies is impressive. An ennobled stone of sufficient purity is sold for $500-600 per carat. Rare stones, with a high degree of transparency or with an asterism effect, will cost ten times more.
Which stones are confused with ruby
How to distinguish natural and artificial ruby? Here you need to understand that jewelry may contain not only natural and synthetic red corundums, but also other stones that may try to pass off as a ruby. For example, it could be:
- Almandine is a hard garnet. But inferior in terms of strength to corundum.
- Pink and red spinel.
- Pink topaz. Jewelers call it "Brazilian Ruby".
- Cuprite. Stone from copper compounds.
- Red tourmaline. You can also hear the name "Siberian ruby".
- Red sphalerite. Rock stones found in Spain.
- Rose quartz.
- Composite red corundum. Naturalstone is fused with glass to increase size and weight, and therefore value.
- Red glass. The cheapest imitation corundum.
All listed stones and materials have a hardness lower than ruby.
Synthetic ruby - fake or gemstone
Artificial ruby is often found in jewelry. At the same time, the sellers do not mention that the corundum in the product was synthesized, and call it natural. Are they cheating the customer or not?
Technically, not yet. Natural and artificial ruby have the same chemical composition and absolutely identical properties. They have the same hardness. At the same time, the synthetic stone is cleaner and has higher transparency, since there are no various inclusions. But natural stones are more expensive.
The history of obtaining synthetic ruby
Synthetic corundum is also called hydrothermal. The first artificial corundum was born thanks to the work of Mark Gooden in 1837. However, they were in no hurry to adopt his successful experience. At that time, the very idea that people with modest incomes could wear jewelry was a crime in the eyes of the aristocracy.
Then, after 50 years, reconstructed rubies were obtained. They were melted down from crumbs and fragments of natural corundum, so they cannot be called synthetic.
Finally, in 1892 there was a real breakthrough. The Frenchman Auguste Verneuil completely abandonedusing natural corundums and obtained synthetic alumina stone.
Today, artificial rubies can be obtained using several technologies:
- Verneuil method. Growing crystals.
- Czochralski method. It is based on the synthesis of corundums by pulling them from the surface. The process begins with the introduction of a crystal with an already embedded lattice structure into the zone. Most often, silicon and germanium are obtained in this way. But with a little upgrade, other crystals can also be produced.
- Zone melting. One of the variations of directional crystallization. Primarily used to separate solids from impurities.
- Crystallization from solutions. Corundum is grown from solutions, and the process occurs at temperatures lower than when minerals crystallize from molten raw materials. This results in cleaner, brighter colored stones.
- Obtaining corundum from raw materials in a gaseous state. The method is used for the production of large corundums.
- Hydrothermal method. Artificial ruby is obtained from alumina, silica and chromium compounds. They are placed in a crucible for melting, then in an autoclave. Under the influence of high temperatures, the crystals ripen. Then the temperature regime is changed, and depending on this, stones of different shapes, colors and purity are obtained.
Thanks to modern crystal synthesis techniques, artificial corundum can be obtained in a few minutes.
Features of artificial stone
An artificially grown ruby has a number of features that distinguish it from a natural mineral. The color of synthetic stone is several times brighter. Synthetic stone does not tarnish over time, unlike natural stone.
Artificial rubies are flawless. They do not contain foreign inclusions, and nothing overshadows their brilliance and purity.
The color of synthetic corundum can be anything. At one stage of production, they are all colorless. But then compounds of chromium, vanadium and iron are added to them. The palette of shades obtained is almost richer than that of natural stones. Red-violet rubies (“pigeon blood”) are very popular. The effects of asterism and "cat's eye" are not a guarantee of natural origin. They can also be obtained artificially.
How to distinguish a natural ruby from an artificial one
The problem is that the properties and characteristics of both minerals are identical. They have the same hardness and other indicators of physical characteristics. However, their cost is different and a synthetic crystal is much cheaper than a natural one. How to distinguish artificial rubies? To do this, you can use the following methods:
- Synthetic corundum loses color under ultraviolet lamp. Any natural crystal retains its original light. This is practically the only sure way to distinguish a natural crystal from an artificial one.
- There is an opinion that natural stone has more intense naturalglow. Therefore, for verification, the ruby \u200b\u200bis dipped into milk. If it turns pinkish, then the stone is real.
- Synthetic corundums are slightly lighter than natural ones. However, without special instruments and the presence of a large number of samples for comparison, it is impossible to determine the origin of the stone. Although a jeweler can almost immediately determine this by weight.
- Natural stone has many inclusions, cracks, bubbles and other defects. Crystals that are too pure are rare in nature.
- Synthetic stones also have bubbles. They are large and white. In natural stones, the bubbles are filled with a red gaseous substance.
- Natural stone has a rich color when illuminated from any direction. For artificial, it becomes pale on some edges.
Magic and healing properties
Natural rubies have been valued at all times for their mystical properties. It was believed that they quickly give energy to a person or take away its excess. With the help of a ruby or a yacht, as it was called in the old days, it was determined whether the food was poisoned or not. To do this, the crystal was lowered into the bowl and looked to see if the color of the food would change.
Many people still believe that rubies attract we alth and good luck.
However, modern mystics are convinced that synthetic rubies do not have any magical properties.
What you need to know when buying jewelry with stones
Many customers worry about how not to buy a brooch or ring with an artificial ruby instead of a real one. Todo not accidentally purchase jewelry with synthetic corundum, you need to remember the following:
- If the seller calls the stone natural, but in fact it turns out to be synthetic, then this is a direct deception of the consumer.
- You should always require a certificate of quality for a stone. They often indicate where and how the crystal was obtained.
- May require checking under ultraviolet light - an artificial ruby will fade in the rays, a natural one will retain its color.