Ruby Or Sapphire?

The birthstone of July is the ruby, a unique gem, because its name is given due to its colour, not its mineral composition. What I mean is that you never truly have to say 'red' ruby, since ruby is understood to be red.

Ruby is corundum (the name of its mineral composition) - the same mineral as sapphire, which, though often thought of as blue, actually comes in every possible shade of colour, including orange, yellow, green and purple.

So here's a question. If a piece of corundum is pink, is it a ruby or a sapphire? Even esteemed gemologists cannot come to a common consensus. Those that are purists insist that it has to be red before it's a ruby. They would call it pink sapphire. The more inclusive ones believe that, as long as it is some form of red, it can be called a ruby. They would be fine with calling it pink ruby.

Of course, neither side is entirely correct nor entirely wrong. This is simply an artifact of our limitations of sight, expression and language.

The reason I brought this up was due to a recent surge in having to explain the identity of a particularly stunning pink corundum gem encased in intricately designed gold that now adorns the finger of an exceptionally beautiful lady who absolutely adores the jewel and the gentleman who gave it to her.

My Weekend Gem Hunt

On Thursday, a Sri Lankan gem dealer friend that I knew from last year was in town. Naturally, I went to meet him. This time, he came with another friend who I understand to be the cutter of some of the gems that my dealer friend gets from his mine (yes, he is a co-owner of a mine). 

He was only in Singapore for 3 days so I didn't have much time to get hold of many other interested buyers. Nevertheless, I did introduce people to him. 

Though there is the obvious path of being a middleman or broker for this friend, I figured that I prefer to simply help other people get reasonable prices for gems and help this friend make more sales by introducing potential buyers to him. The more sales he makes, the more likely he will be to come to Singapore, and the better my prices will be when I buy from him. 

I may miss out on the profits by being a broker, but, as a gem buyer, I don't quite trust brokers myself, and would much prefer not to play a role that I am myself suspicious of.

As a gem hunter, my job will be made much easier if they bring in regular supplies of stones while I build my own clientele. I will then be able to give my clients better value for their money.

All in all, I will have happy clients and friends who get good value, a happy seller who gets good business, and a happily colourful vault of gems for myself at good prices.

This round, I bought an exceptionally beautiful royal blue sapphire (I'll take proper pictures soon), a pair of pear-shaped blue sapphires for a client, a really small ruby, and 3 garnets.

While you wait for the picture of my lovely blue sapphire, here's a picture of a lot of small blue sapphires that I contemplated buying: