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  #1  
Old 01-17-2006, 08:21 PM
tracer tracer is offline
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Is an "African Ruby" a real ruby?

An ex-co-worker of mine has a ring set with an African Ruby. She believes that an African Ruby means a real ruby from Africa.

However, according to webpages like this one, there are several misleading gemstone names out there where a place name is prepended to the name of a real gem and used to designate something else (usually of lesser value). For example, an "African Emerald" is just green fluorite, and an "Adelaide ruby" is just a garnet.

So, is an "African Ruby" a real ruby from Africa, or is it just some lesser red-colored stone given the name as a kind of false advertising?
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  #2  
Old 01-17-2006, 09:00 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is online now
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Unfortunately I can't answer your specific question. But if the stone looks to be a very dark and deep red, it's likely some kind of garnet. Spinels are a different kind of stone which most people have probably not heard of, and they too have been used to similate rubies. They are somewhat valuable in their own right, more so than garnets though much less than rubies.

The giving of false names to gemstones began long ago, in many cases before the true nature of the stones and their chemical composition was understood, but these usages are on the wane. One problem is that the qualifier used in selling a stone may be less familiar to the public than the name of the more valuable stone being referred to. For instance, if someone offers the average consumer a "citrine topaz", they "know" immediately what a topaz is, but think that "citrine" is merely a qualifying adjective. In fact, the word "citrine" disclaims the stone from being a real topaz and tells you instead that it's only yellow quartz.
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Old 01-17-2006, 09:08 PM
spingears spingears is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracer
An ex-co-worker of mine has a ring set with an African Ruby. She believes that an African Ruby means a real ruby from Africa.
So, is an "African Ruby" a real ruby from Africa, or is it just some lesser red-colored stone given the name as a kind of false advertising?
Any gemstone with a preceeding adjective is highly suspect.
It is a sales gimmic to trap the unwary!
Ask her if it was a "bargain" priced item sold by other than a reputable jeweler?
If he answer is "yes" she has anything from red glass to something little better.
Search Google for "Meaning African Ruby."
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Old 01-17-2006, 09:17 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spingears
Ask her if it was a "bargain" priced item sold by other than a reputable jeweler?
If he answer is "yes" she has anything from red glass to something little better.
Not necessarily true in a qualitative sense. A good quality red garnet does have some redeeming characteristics and will generally look much better than red glass. This would be even more true of a spinel.

It should also be noted that even in the reputable trade, some misleading names have been used, such as "Brazilian topaz" for the yellow quartz I mentioned.
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Old 01-17-2006, 09:20 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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However it is worth noting that rubies ARE mined in various parts of East Africa ( Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique ). Quality is apparently usually only average at best, but occasionally very nice ones are found.

- Tamerlane
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  #6  
Old 01-17-2006, 09:26 PM
Folly Folly is offline
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This website seems to claim that an African Ruby is an actual ruby.

Quote:
Keep in mind that the use of a qualifier does not necessarily mean that the gemstone is not authentic. For example, an African ruby refers to a ruby that has its origins in Africa.
Keep in mind that I don't know much about that web site, gems, or the gem you are referring to.
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  #7  
Old 01-17-2006, 09:59 PM
Ty Cobb Ty Cobb is offline
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Although Burmese, African, Thai and Cambodian rubies have the same chemical and physical properties, they differ noticeably in color and hue. Burmese rubies are the best rubies in the world and the most sought after. Burma ruby are the rubies that we specialize in. They display a true blood red to pinkish red color in most kinds of light. African, Thai and Cambodian rubies are usually much darker and browner in color and similar to garnet.

http://www.ajsgems.com/Ruby.htm
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Old 01-19-2006, 02:34 PM
Quartz Quartz is offline
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Hmm... I thought that these days we could grow rubies on demand.
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