Rubies and Sapphires: Origins and survey work | EN

Rubies and sapphires have captivated humans for centuries with their stunning colors and brilliance. These precious gems are highly sought after for their beauty and rarity, making them valuable both emotionally and financially. The origins and survey of rubies and sapphires; this is an introduction for comprehensive understanding of these fascinating gemstones.

Cutting Centers
Thailand with Bangkok is a well-known historical cutting center for precious stones, but also Colombo in Sri Lanka. A very important cutting center for mass production is Jaipur in India. Idar-Oberstein is specialized for the better-quality rubies and sapphires, such as Geneva and Paris, this for the top gems.
Cutting:
The cutting of the corundum’s is done on diamond discs of different granulation (from 50 to 850/1200 mesh), the polishing on leather or ceramic discs where ultra fine diamond paste is added (50,000 to 140,000 mesh) i.e. diamond powder mixed with vaseline or oil (olive or castor). The disc rotates at a speed of 1000 to 1500 rpm and is regularly sprayed with a thin stream of water. The classic system uses shellac (glue) for setting the stone on a stick and cutting by hand. This system needs a lot of practice, but today a lot of semi-automatic devises are also used (American and Japanese) and are a lot faster for training.
 
The Global Market for Rubies and Sapphires
The global market for rubies and sapphires is vast and complex, with numerous factors influencing supply, demand, and prices. Some of the most important ruby and sapphire trading centers include Bangkok, Hong Kong, Idar-Oberstein and New York. But also, Geneva for the most expensive one. These cities are home to numerous gemstone dealers, cutters, and jewelry manufacturers who play a crucial role in bringing these precious stones to consumers around the world.
There are also different gemstones fairs such as Intergem in Idar-Oberstein in Germany and Saint Marie-aux-Mines in the Jura, in France. In the States is Tucson the most important. In recent years, concerns about the ethical sourcing of gemstones have become increasingly important to consumers and the industry. Many companies now prioritize transparency and traceability in their supply chains, working to ensure that their rubies and sapphires are mined and processed in a responsible, sustainable manner. But it is very difficult to control it. For this reason, it is important to know your supplier.
 
Synthetics
Since the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, synthetic rubies and sapphires have appeared. After a period of panic where prices collapsed, the market quickly recovered. Currently natural stones fetch astronomical prices. Synthetics are still used in costume, mass jewelry, in silver or gold-plated settings.
 
Education
There are different gemological schools in Antwerp such as HRD Gemological Institute, IGI and Gem Report Antwerp. But there is also a Federation of European Education schools of Gemology (FEEG) with Paris (ING-EAC), in Brussels (SRGB) and ACAM in Antwerp and in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherland. The oldest education school on gemology is the GIA.
 
Conclusion
Rubies and sapphires are truly remarkable gemstones, with a fascinating history and a complex journey from mine to market. By understanding the origins, mining processes, and global trade of these precious stones, consumer can gain a deeper appreciation for their beauty and value. The crowning achievement is naturally when the ruby or sapphire is set in a piece of jewelry.

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09/07/24
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