BJA supports GILC decision to tag rubies

GILC approves measure for retailers to identify composite rubies.

The British Jewellery Association (BJA) supports a new Gemstone Industry and Laboratory Conference (GILC) ruby committee measure saying retailers should ensure the proper identification of lead glass-filled rubies.

The committee only recently came to an agreement on the matter, which was first raised at the GILC ruby committee meeting at the Tucson gem shows in February. It voted that retailers should label the gems as: “Composite-Ruby, Glass-Filled, Requires Special Care.”

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The committee is made up of individuals from across the international gemstone industry, from gemstone traders to jewellery manufacturers and major retailers. Whilst it represents jewellery industry member from many different levels across the gem trade, the committee’s measures are not enforceable, acting more as a suggestion.

Composite rubies consist of around 50 percent ruby, 50 percent glass. They are cheaper than traditional rubies, but can require special care, as lemon juice, soda and even gem cleaner can cloud the glass filler. Composite rubies have become increasingly common over the last few years, particularly in the US market.

The majority of rubies are also heated to improve their colour and it’s not uncommon for them to be filled to disguise fissure.

BJA manager of PR and marketing Lindsey Straughton said: “We have always encouraged our members to disclose all the way down the line what has been filled, coloured, oiled or treated. Often they will pass the information on in an invoice and then the retailer won’t necessarily tell anyone.

“There should be clear labelling in the shop. Often, it is about price, as well – about people trying to pass something off that it’s not… If all the manufacturers and retailers have passed that information on, then it is the customers’ decision. I must say in the UK we are better than in the US, where they use a lot of terms like ‘enhancement.’”

The BJA has a book, which BJA members are able download on their site for free, that clearly describes how items should be marked. It describes all the regulations currently existing for jewellers, acting as an educational tool for both manufacturers and retailers.



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