National Jeweler Network

Treatments

GIA posts educational glass-filled ruby video

February 09, 2012

Carlsbad, Calif.--The Gemological Institute of America now is referencing lead glass-filled rubies as “manufactured product” on reports, the institution revealed in a new video designed to educate the trade and the public.

The five-minute clip, which can be seen below, features Kenneth Scarratt, GIA’s managing director for Southeast Asia and director of the lab in Thailand, and Shane McClure, the GIA’s director of West Coast identification services.

It reviews what lead glass-filled rubies are, how to identify and care for them--the stones can be damaged during jewelry cleaning and repair and even by some everyday household cleaners--and addresses what the GIA is now calling this material.

Click here to view the video.

In an interview with National Jeweler, McClure said the GIA decided to start using “manufactured product,” with explanation, for lead glass-filled ruby reports to reduce confusion in the marketplace.

“One of the purposes was to try to get away from all these names that are out there,” he said. “I don’t think the public understands these names.”

American Gemological Laboratories (AGL) refers to lead glass-filled rubies as “composite rubies” and, in September, announced it would be cross-referencing its reports with those of GemResearch Swisslab (GRS), which calls lead glass-filled rubies “hybrid rubies.”

“This was an attempt to get around giving it another name and just say what it is,” McClure said, when asked if he thought using “manufactured product” just added to the confusion by creating yet another term for these stones. “It’s something that’s been made by man.”

Creating the video gave GIA the chance to both introduce the new term and provide information on lead glass-filled rubies, which McClure said are a “big problem” of which the industry needs to be aware.

He said the GIA first started seeing these stones in 2003 and started reporting on it in 2004, but widespread awareness didn’t really take hold until about 2009. He said quite a few lead glass-filled rubies come through the GIA lab, mostly submitted by members of the public who have bought the stones online.

McClure said while submitters do not disclose what they pay for the stones, many of them ask if the GIA can determine country of origin because what they bought is supposedly an untreated Burmese ruby. This leads him to believe they are paying too much.

“The public is getting ripped off with this stuff and, of course, they blame the rest of us (in the industry) when that happens,” he said.

For more information on lead glass-filled rubies, visit the GIA’s website.