News Article

| “Are we selling gemstones or paper?” |

July 29th, 2014

Are we selling gemstones or paper?

One of the most wonderful aspects of being a colored gemstone dealer is that one has never seen the “best”. There can always be a better color, a new find of a classic material or very occasionally a new gemstone. In diamonds, D Flawless is the best. It is definitive, end of story and as such, diamonds are well suited to certification and grading. The diamond industry has profited from certification and on the other side of the coin, has also trapped itself within the world of Rappaport.

The Chinese market is apparently demanding that any fine (or maybe not so fine!) ruby or sapphire must come with certain tags describing their color.

“Pigeon blood” for ruby and “Royal blue” for sapphire.

I have written about the absurdity of these terms before, but my issue this time is when did the gemological laboratories decide to start grading colored gemstones? I was under the impression that the labs were there for us to give opinions on gemological matters, such as treatment and origin. I started hearing about the classifications “PG” and RB” being added to certs by GRS out of Bangkok some time ago and I can understand the market pressure from China having a strong effect on the lab churning out thousands of ruby and sapphire certs every year. My problem is that by making a determination about the color and by inference the quality of a stone, the lab is inserting itself in to the pricing structure of the market with an opinion of “quality/color”, which is not a gemological determination.

When a customer of mine told me that they had a certificate from GIA that also used the term “Royal Blue” in its comments section that I felt it was time to cry foul!

See below the following two paragraphs quoted directly from the GIA website :

“Blood is another symbol of ruby’s color. Descriptions have compared ruby to the “blood from the right ventricle” or the first two drops of blood from a freshly killed pigeon. Historically, the term “pigeon’s blood” described the red to slightly purplish or pinkish red color of rubies with a soft, glowing, red fluorescence.

Traditional descriptions like these are useful for evoking images and describing color among professionals. But they can be subject to misinterpretation when used to describe a ruby’s actual color.”

Straight from the “horse’s”, or is it “pigeon’s” mouth!

We all know that certificates are only an opinion, but they are used by many in the trade as definitive documents that can alter the value of a gemstone tenfold. When it comes to the areas of treatment and origin, the laboratories are the ones that have the data bases to make those determinations, but who is it that has decided what is Royal Blue and Pigeon Blood?

We are already on a slippery slope by relying on certificates of any kind to sell our wonderful creations of nature; this development only increases the grade of the slope!


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