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.
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.
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.
|Accredited Lab Gemologists||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Thorough Color Criteria||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Lab Report with Origin, 2ct||USD $700||USD $150||USD $920||USD $150||No USD||USD $100||USD $50||USD $175||USD $110|
Gubelin Gem Lab (G)
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