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Gem Laboratory Reports for Rubies

When looking at rubies that cost a few thousand dollars or much, much more, there are always reports available for review. If there are no lab reports, the buyer can request one before purchase of the ruby and the dealer often covers the cost (for rubies under $1,000 the buyer might need to pay an additional fee).

Lab reports also list contact information for verification of the reports they generate. This certifies the authenticity of these particular gems for both the vendors and the consumers.

For grading consistency, most labs follow similar practices to ensure accuracy and avoid conflict of interests. How all this is executed does vary from lab to lab, including certain details of what is written in the reports.

When a ruby is rare and beautiful enough to go to auction, they will often have multiple lab reports. This does not indicate one lab is better than another, but functions as a second, separate gemological opinion to ensure authenticity.

Common Problems

Limited Color Definition – The reports from most of these labs only give the “hue” of a gemstone. Color is made of three parts: hue, tone, and saturation. Hue is the basic color, meanwhile the other dimensions of tone and saturation are ignored. This is not because they do not understand the importance of the other color dimensions.

  • Based on my own training at one of these labs (GIA specifically) they avoid giving as many details as possible to reduce their overall accountability and liability with any listed information. While the hue-only practice benefits the labs, it does not benefit customer confidence. I also take issue with how most labs do not include color-accurate photos of these gems, although some are better about this than others.

Small, Spectacular Teams – Labs that are smaller only have a few gemologists instead of a network to double-check the grading for consistency. This also makes the turn-around time on the lab reports (and subsequently the physical gems) very long, and can create lengthy wait-lists. It is also a problem for dealers being without stones for too long, since clients might request to see these in person while they are away at the lab and hurts the dealer’s image. The gemologists on these teams are usually spectacular and living gem encyclopedias, but this can create issues in grading consistency.

Here is a list of some of the most reputable gemological labs. For more details on parts of these answers, please scroll down below.

International Reputation Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes
Accredited Lab Gemologists Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Multiple Teams Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No
Lab-Grade Equipment Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Thorough Color Criteria No No Yes No No No No Yes Yes
Trade Names Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Geographic Origin Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gemological Education Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No No
Lab Report with Origin, 2ct USD $700 USD $150 USD $920 USD $150 No USD USD $100 USD $50 USD $175 USD $110

Gemological Lab

Gubelin Gem Lab (G)

Reputation: International

Staff: Experienced staff of trained gemologists

Equipment: Latest gemological equipment

Color-Grading Criteria: Limited to “Hue” – Trade names listed

Geographic Origin: Provides information about where the gem formed

Gemological Labs: Lucerne, Switzerland / New York City, New York / Hong Kong, China

Gemological Education: Offers courses in Hong Kong and Lucerne

Price for 2ct Full Gem Reports: USD $700