Ruby & Sapphire cover

Reviews

 

Ruby & Sapphire
by Richard W. Hughes
RWH Publishing, 1997
Hard cover, 512 pages with 480 illustrations, including over 360 in color
ISBN 0-9645097-6-8
Price: US$98

Mineralogical Record
May–June 1999

I like to imagine that if the Mineralogical Record decided to do a special issue on gem corundum, had pretty much unlimited financial backing, spent years in research and photo gathering, and ultimately published a book-size issue that had to sell for a hundred dollars a copy, it would be something like this fascinating book by Richard Hughes. (As editor, however, I get exhausted just thinking about it.) This is a monumental effort, lavishly and beautifully illustrated throughout, and packed with information.

This is a monumental effort, lavishly and beautifully illustrated throughout, and packed with information.

The initial chapters cover history, mineralogy, gemology, synthetics, and an interesting section on "Judging quality: a connoisseur's guide." Then comes the meat of the book, for mineral collectors, at least: a thorough review of localities worldwide, including occurrences in Afghanistan, Burma, Colombia, India, Madagascar, Pakistan, Russia, Ceylon, Tanzania, Thailand, Vietnam, and 35 other countries.

Every chapter is accompanied by an extensive reference list, and almost every page is in color. The paper is glossy text stock which feels essentially identical to the paper on which this magazine is printed. And, like the Mineralogical Record, there are color ads throughout, which are a surprise in such a book but not an unpleasant one; they contribute in their own way.

This work has personality, and is a fine reference besides.

The text style is highly readable, and it is clear that the author has devoted much of his life to the subject. This work has personality, and is a fine reference besides. If you have Sinkankas's Emerald and Other Beryls, you should have this one too.

Wendell E. Wilson

Dot

Gems & Gemology
Fall 1997

This is Mr. Hughes's second book on ruby and sapphire. The first, titled Corundum, was published by Butterworth-Heinemann in 1990. Ruby & Sapphire is self-published by the author, which allows him full freedom in his writing. Tasteful advertisements, placed at the end of some chapters, helped fund the publishing costs. I did not find the ads disruptive and, in fact, believe they will be useful to some readers.

I personally enjoyed this [book's] style very much. While all of the factual information was at my fingertips, Mr. Hughes's personal interjections kept the reading lively.

On opening the book, I found a bookmark on which Mr. Hughes warns the reader about his parochial writing style. Mr. Hughes makes no apologies for this style; rather, he states his desire to create a complete, factual book in which he interjects his opinions and observations for entertaining and stimulating reading. I personally enjoyed this style very much. While all of the factual information was at my fingertips, Mr. Hughes's personal interjections kept the reading lively. I think anyone involved in the gem trade will find these insights enlightening, if sometimes irreverent. The first chapter presents the history of rubies and sapphires, chapters 2 through 9 cover chemistry and crystallography, properties, color, spectra and luminescence, inclusions, treatments, synthetics, assembled stones, and fashioning. In chapter 2, the text and diagrams that describe the morphology of ruby and sapphire from various sources provide information that is often difficult for the gemologist to find. The following chapters (3–6) supply the kinds of details that many gemologists will find useful for identifying corundum and its treatments. Inclusions are explained in general in chapter 5, whereas inclusions specific to treatments, synthetics, and particular sources are found in those respective chapters (6, 7, and 12). I would have enjoyed more of the excellent photomicrographs of inclusions categorized by source.

I highly recommend [the book] to anyone involved in the buying, selling, grading, identifying, or appraising of rubies and sapphires.

Chapter 10 discusses the grading and valuation of ruby and sapphire, as well as the world market. Although Mr. Hughes does not give a pricing breakdown that uses a colored stone grading system, he does explain the fundamentals of modern colored stone grading, along with how to judge the quality of these gem varieties of corundum. Quality ranking by source is also discussed. A section of this chapter is devoted to famous rubies and sapphires, with a summary of these magnificent stones listed together with auction prices where applicable.

Chapter 11 covers the geology of ruby and sapphire, and chapter 12 is entirely devoted to world sources. With in-depth information on the location and history of individual sources, as well as the characteristics of the corundum produced in each, chapter 12 is also a remarkable reference. The book is lavishly illustrated with color photos, and each chapter ends with a detailed bibliography for further research. This book is the most in-depth publication on ruby and sapphire I have ever seen. I highly recommend it to anyone involved in the buying, selling, grading, identifying, or appraising of rubies and sapphires.

Andrew Lucas
Gemological Institute of America
Carlsbad, California

Dot

 

From the GIA Alumni Association
Washington, DC Chapter

Wow. What a sparkling mix of erudition and irreverence. Everything you might even begin to wonder about ruby and sapphire is here, in detail, packed with fact, lusciously illustrated, spiced with attitude and wickedly opinionated in the manner that only the truly expert can properly carry off. What's even better, the man can write! Consequently, the knottiest technical subjects are lucidly laid out, while the history, the legends, the myths and the gossip are offered up with all their zest and spice intact.

We're talking "encyclopedic" here – but encyclopedic in the 18th Century French Enlightenment sense, before the Germans came along and dried us all up with their only-the-facts-ma'am pedantry. Hughes is omniverously curious about his beloved gems and unashamedly passionate in his devotion to them. Thus, nothing is beyond the scope of his interest or scholarship, from the hardest of hard science to the most romantic of Arabian Nights-type legends. And in the unlikely event that there might be something he's left out, he supplies bibliographies of altogether stupefying dimensions, and in several languages to boot. Diderot would approve.

And in the unlikely event that there might be something he's left out, [Hughes] supplies bibliographies of altogether stupefying dimensions, and in several languages to boot. Diderot would approve.

There are all sorts of ways to read this book, all of them satisfying. You can of course dutifully do what the White King told Alice: begin at the beginning, continue until you get to the end, then stop. This means commencing with the chapter on History, working your way through the dense scientific chapters (e.g., Chemistry & Crystallography, Inclusions, Treatments, Geology, etc.), and concluding with Hughes' world tour of every known source of ruby and sapphire on the planet, its history, detailed characteristics of its gems, and oh yes, a huge bibliography specific to each one.

That is what this reviewer did and it is undeniably satisfying. But it is by no means the only available way to enjoy this Gargantuan feast. You could also just cruise your way through the dozens of intriguing, sometimes quirky and often gleefully opinionated sidebars, and you will have a splendid time at that, too.

Or you could just page through, looking at the pictures, because the illustrations alone are an education. In addition to everything else, this book is a wonderful history lesson and so, in addition to the dozens of luscious photos of glorious gems you would expect, there are scores of fascinating pictures and photos of long-lost mines, legendary personalities, gem cutters past and present, and my absolute favorite, a be-turbaned, leather-skinned old Burmese gal with a twenty megawatt smile, chomping on a mammoth cigar.

Then, again, if you absolutely do not wish to indulge your sense of fun, curiosity and wonder, you can simply station the book on your essential reference shelf and refer to it only when you need a detailed rundown on, say, typical inclusions in rubies of the Thai/Cambodian border. Many of the sidebars are in the form of detailed tables summarizing the facts in the text (example: 'Fluorescent Reactions of Untreated Corundums') so if you're in a hurry, you can use the book as a technical handbook without searching through the text for the information you want. I'd say that was rather like eating all the spinach at the buffet and passing up the chocolate eclairs, but there's no accounting for taste.

Particularly when you open the book more of less expecting a dry-as-dust, edited-to-death textbook, encountering Hughes' damn-the-torpedoes attitude is gorgeously refreshing.

Incidentally, be ready for Hughes' ardent, peppery opinions on the issue of treated vs. untreated gems. He has no objection to heat treating otherwise dim or badly included gems to bring out their potential beauties, but he absolutely and positively insists that such gems are not – repeat not! – to be considered the equal of their natural, untreated sisters. Whether you agree or not, it's hard to resist the verve with which Hughes states his conviction. Indeed, for this reviewer, the book's unapologetic opinionatedness was one of its major delights. Particularly when you open the book more or less expecting a dry-as-dust, edited-to-death textbook, encountering Hughes' damn-the-torpedoes attitude is gorgeously refreshing.

So whether you need a complete reference guide, a stroll through history with a lively, expert guide, a survey of sources and markets, or a guide to everything that would ever seem to have been written about either of these two lovely gems, this is your book. If you missed getting your copy at the GIA July meeting, you can get your copy directly from him. The price is $98 postpaid. You can order it from Hughes' web site: >www.ruby-sapphire.com<. Or you can write or telephone him. Be sure to include your shipping address and how the book should be autographed / dedicated.

Brenda Forman
GIA Alumni Association
Washington, DC Chapter

Dot

The Journal of Gemmology
Vol. 25, No. 6, April 1997, p. 437 

Covering the corundum gemstones, their nature, locations, properties, mode of occurrence and recovery methods, these and other sections accompanied by excellent and extensive bibliographies and by high-quality text diagrams and colour photographs, this major new book has to be on the bench as well as in the private library of serious gemmologists. For the amount of information presented the price is not excessive and my copy at least has survived quite a lot of student use, a good point to look for when the paper is heavy. Readers will find the personality of the author lurking in many places and like the garden robin he makes sure that you are aware of his presence. I found that an attractive feature of the book.

The corundum gems are a large subject to cover and there are many ways in which an author can approach it. The book opens with corundum in history, passes to chemistry and crystallography and thence to many areas which the gemmologist will find most useful. This part of the book includes a section on treatments with up-to-date information and illustrations. Synthetic corundum, composites and fashioning methods precede an interesting study of judging quality; while this aspect of gemstones has been made the subject of several useful small books, it is welcome here in this much larger text.

Unexpected items… will save a lot of looking through sale catalogues (unaffordable for most private libraries), and other treasures make the book one of the most welcome additions to gemmological literature – improving all the time.

Preceding the area coverage is a review of corundum geology so that the reader does not come upon unfamiliar geological terms later on and have to search for their meaning. Then gem corundum-bearing areas are treated in alphabetical order of country. The book concludes with sections from Tagore's Mani-Málá (A Treatise on gems), first published in 1879 and with notes on ruby and sapphire prices and how to estimate weight. There is an index in which most entries appear to be correct – I have checked only a sample. Major portions of the book are separated by sections of advertising, which are useful for addresses of dealers and which no doubt have helped with the costs of the book.

I found the book quite excellent and found no serious faults. The references are among some of the most comprehensive I have ever seen and the information is profuse and well arranged. Unexpected items such as a list of famous rubies with their descriptions, locations, weights and prices paid (where relevant), present location and references will save a lot of looking through sale catalogues (unaffordable for most private libraries), and other treasures make the book one of the most welcome additions to gemmological literature – improving all the time. All gemmologists should buy a copy.

Michael O'Donoghue

Dot

The Australian Gemmologist
Vol. 19, No. 9, April–June 1997

As a species gemmology I would award this book a 9.9 out of 10. I would not score it a perfect 10, for I am sure this book's author appreciates perfection is reserved for the Almighty. This is a book that deserves to be described with superlatives: for its meticulous research, for its exhaustive content, for the author's honesty and attention to detail, and for its challenging yet informative format. In summary this is the best book yet published on the corundum species of gemstones.

Although Dick Hughes' Ruby & Sapphire is a large book, of over 500 A4 size pages, more than 350 quality illustrations, and importantly, almost 2,500 references; it is easy to read, it is informative – and is a most entertaining read. Only occasionally do the illustrations and tables seem to become lost from the text to which they are intended to refer.

If a reader wishes to obtain historical and/or up-to-date information on any aspect of ruby and sapphire, then this book is the source.

All aspects of the gemmology of ruby and sapphire are covered by this book. If a readers wishes to obtain historical and/or up-to-date information on any aspect of ruby and sapphire; then this book is the source. Approximately half of the book discusses the systematic gemmology of ruby and sapphire. Topics discussed in these eleven chapters include the history, chemistry, crystallography, properties, colour, spectra, luminescence, inclusions, treatments, synthetics, assembled stones, fashioning, quality factors and geology of ruby and sapphire. The second half of the book consists of an almost 200 page chapter 12 which provides an alphabetically listed description of world sources of ruby and sapphire, including, importantly, tabulations and illustrations of the identifying characteristics of gem corundums from these deposits.

This book has been written in the by now well known Dick Hughes style. While the author's penchant to editorialise may not be appreciated by some readers; no reader will challenge the dedication and enthusiasm that produced this Hughes written, edited and published classic for such a reasonable cost. Congratulations Dick.

Ed.

A GEM CORUNDUM CLASSIC
The reviewer's copy was a welcome Xmas gift from RWH Publishing. Copies of the book may be purchased from this address for US$98, plus shipping and handling costs.

Grahame Brown

Dot

Rocks and Minerals
Vol. 73, No. 4, July/August 1998, pp. 292–293

This amazing book has been a labor of love for Richard Hughes. It is a handsome volume, printed with a wide variety of typefaces in a unique format in which every page looks different and interesting. The book is lavish, with more than 350 color photographs, many b&w drawings, charts and tables, and numerous maps. The color pages are all uniformly excellent, with very well selected images that are beautifully, sometimes rather spectacularly reproduced.

The book is very user-friendly, written in a conversational first-person style. This is extremely easy reading, with a lot of essential information presented in a matter-of-fact way that makes its point often humorously, often tongue-in-cheek, but always with a sense of authority. This may be the most comprehensively researched book on gem corundum ever published, with more than 2,400 references. The book is further enhanced by the use of a variety of smaller typefaces to set off key words and phrases; segregated paragraphs set in small and light or bold type at the top or bottom of certain pages to emphasize key points and quotations; and well-defined (by typeface) chapter, section and paragraph headers. The MANY excellent illustrations, drawings, and b&w photos, are all very well reproduced and selected to illustrate information in the text.

Chapters include: author's personal background (a tale reminiscent of Tavernier!); history; chemistry and crystallography; properties; color, spectra and luminescence; inclusions; treatments; synthetics; assembled stones; methods of fashioning; judging quality; geology; world sources; appendices (including price tables and weight estimation formulas) and a huge index.

Since no two pages are quite alike, the result is perhaps one of the most visually engaging books in the gemological literature.

The information that is provided by Hughes is accurate and comprehensive. There are no serious errors or omissions that I could find. Scattered through the text are interestingly-reproduced excerpts from historical texts, old watercolor drawings, quotations, line drawings, tips and anecdotes. Since no two pages are quite alike, the result is perhaps one of the most visually engaging books in the gemological literature. Each chapter has its own massive bibliography. Scattered throughout, between certain chapters, are sections of full-color advertising pages. Some critics may argue that this is inappropriate for such a scholarly work; my own feeling is that it adds to, rather than detracts from the book, by showing the reader something representative of the actual ruby and sapphire marketplace. Moreover, these advertising pages are in themselves visually stimulating and their inclusion has provided Hughes with revenues that have allowed him to produce such an outrageously massive and well-illustrated work and still offer it at a reasonable cover price!

This is not the most expensive gem book in the market, and it is not inexpensive either. However, this is a book that fully justifies its cover price – you can see the value in your hands. My only serious criticism is the binding – my copy cracks along the spine in a few places when the book is opened flat.

It is arguable that ruby and sapphire are the most important gemstones in the world marketplace, after diamond. This long-awaited and truly comprehensive reference certainly fills a major void in the literature, and provides one-stop shopping for up-to-date information about these gems. Current locality information is especially useful, in light of important recent finds such as the Behara/Bekily area of Madagascar and the Tunduru area of Tanzania.

This book is fun to read, simple enough for the novice, and yet technical enough for the professional to find useful. The color pages are superb and there is color on almost every page; the entire work is printed on glossy paper and the images are crisp and saturated. Price quotes are current as of May, 1995.

For now, this book is the definitive English-language work on gem corundum and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Every gemologist should have a copy in his/her library.

Joel Arem

Dot

Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gemmologischen Gesellschaft
Vol. 46, No. 1, p. 58, 1997

Nach dem R.W. Hughes' Standardwerk ..Corundum" vergriffen ist, kam der gleiche Autor mit einer noch besseren Ausgabe mit dem Titel Ruby & Sapphire heraus. Dieses Spitzenwerk enhält über 350 Farbabbildungen sowie Zeichnungen, Kartenmarerial. Tabellen und dutzende schwarz/weiß-Fotographien. Das Buch ist in zwölf Kapitel gegliedert, wobei im ersten Kapitel ein historisch-kultureller Abriß der Korunde geliefert wird. Kapitel 2–4 ist den Eigenschaften von Korund gewidmet. Im Kapitel 5 werden hervorragend illustriert die Einschlüsse beschrieben. Es folgen dann Kapitel über die Möglichkeiten der Behandlung von Korund, synthetische Korunde sowie zusammengesetzte Steine. Kapitel 9 diskutiert die Korundbearbeitung. Ein weiteres, sehr ausführliches Kapitel widmet sich der Bewertung von Rubin und Saphir. Die Geologie der Korundlagerstätten werden in Kapitel 11 erläutert. Das zwölfte und umfangreichste Kapitel widmet sich den einzelnen Korundvorkommen in über 40 Ländern.

R.W. HUGHES' RUBY & SAPPHIRE ist für alle, die sich beruflich oder privat mit Gemmolgie befassen, unverzichtbar.

Das vorliegende Werk beldet eine gelungene Balance zwischen Vermittlung technische-wissenschaftlicher Grundlagen und praktisch verwertbaren Informationen. Es diskutiert jede Problematik, von der Unterscheidung natürlich-synthetisch bis zum Einkauf in Burma. Über 2400 Referenzen ermöglichen das Auffinden weiterer Detailinformationen. R.W. HUGHES' Ruby & Sapphire ist für alle, die sich beruflich oder privat mit Gemmolgie befassen, unverzichtbar.

C.C. Milisenda

Dot

The Canadian Gemmologist
Vol. 16, No. 2, p. 61–62, 1997

In this unique book Richard Hughes doesn't so much ignore conventional wisdom as deliberately seek to stand convention on its head. In doing so he has created a tome without compare in gemmological literature. His proclivity for pithy quotations, ribald and profane anecdotes, and even scatological comments is an approach to attention seeking which may offend some readers, but, if you get past his "parochial" bookmark, you'll more likely find that it grabs you by the short-and-curlies and quietly says "pay attention!" I produced some loud guffaws while listening to that quiet voice.

The format is a cross between a large, hard-cover coffee table book with high quality colour photographs and a scientific text with small fonts made easier to read in a two-column layout. Tables and side-bars are scattered throughout, and there is an extensive bibliography at the end of each chapter as well as a comprehensive 14-page index. Pages of advertising (included to keep the price down) are segregated from the text in sections flagged at their start and end by brightly coloured card, so I won't blame the author for their content (e.g. the use of the term "semi-precious" or the adjective "natural" applied to rubies which may well be genuine but are likely heat treated).

In a footnote (p. 23) Hughes refers to his earlier book, Corundum (©1990, Butterworth-Heineman) as the first edition of this book, but I agree with a comment made by a colleague at a recent CGA meeting that this is not just a second edition. Although sections of that text and many photographs, illustrations and charts are duplicated here, the expanded information, other photographs and illustrations, and perhaps most significantly the personality and story-telling style of the author make this a completely different book.

The twelve chapters of the book are rich with anecdotes and insights and a great deal of information gleaned from broad research of the literature. The text surrounding and connecting many quotations is liberally salted (and spiced) with opinion and personality… The positions Hughes takes on issues such as treatment disclosure and origin reports represent him as a man of consistent integrity.

To go straight to the beginning of chapter one would be a mistake, because you'd miss the introduction – a romantic four-page abridged autobiography, which gives unblushing recount of youthful blunders and introduces the reader to the author's forthright style.

The twelve chapters of the book are rich with anecdotes and insights and a great deal of information gleaned from broad research of the literature. The text surrounding and connecting the many quotations is liberally salted (and spiced) with opinion and personality, and, if those I checked give a true indication, the quotations are accurate. The positions Hughes takes on issues such as treatment disclosure and origin reports represent him as a man of consistent integrity.

The gemmologist will find the content to be useful and very comprehensive. Much more is offered than information about where stones come from and how they get to market. Identification details include good photomicrographs of inclusions with careful explanations and helpful diagrams explaining particular details of what is shown and what it means; identifying treated from natural, genuine from synthetic, and the various types of synthetic from each other. Explanations of instrument use and examination techniques apply just as well to general gemmology as to the study of corundum.

In case you think this reviewer is a rabid fan blind to faults and follies, I should point out a few difficulties with the book.

As with any written work of consequence, some errors are bound to slip through. For example, figure 7.22 on p. 166 shows a synthetic crystal so equant in habit it looks isometric, and the description incorrectly calls it "a near-perfect rhombohedron". From the preceding crystallography (p. 50–58), one can pick out the basal pinacoid and two rhombohedra.

More serious is misrepresentation of other people's work. On p. 24, the "Author's notes" opens with "Get your facts first and then you can distort [them] as much as you please" (attributed to Mark Twain). Then, on quotations, he expresses concern about "danger of misinterpretation". In this quest to avoid misinterpretation, he may have overlooked context. In fleshing out his work around an extensive collection of quotations, he seems to have lost track of some original context. I noticed that the work of Dr. James B. Nelson was badly served in two separate instances.

While discussing colour science (p. 212), Hughes says "Nelson (1986) catalogued a variety of trade objections to colored stone grading", leaving one to wrongly conclude that Nelson supported those objections when he was, in fact, debunking them. On p. 330, in outlining the traditional colour term "pigeon's blood", he offers a quotation which, out of context, portrays Nelson as making a foolish scientific analysis to justify this most unscientific of colour descriptions, and adds insult to injury (not that I think Nelson is so fragile as to have been injured) by ridiculing the particular use of an expanded noun as a verb.

I tend to give Hughes the benefit of the doubt and consider these cases as unintentional errors rather than an attempt to "distort". He obviously intends to encourage the reader to pursue additional reading by providing the most comprehensive bibliography ever produced on corundum.

Overall, I think that ruby & sapphire deserves a place on the same shelf as Emerald and Other Beryls, perhaps separated from Sinkankas by a book on the wit and wisdom of Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

Richard Cartier, FGA, FCGmA

Dot

The Guide… Quarterly Report
April 1997

From the moment you open this book and see the world class ruby and sapphire photographs, you know you are in for a treat. The reader is immediately struck by the enormous effort and research that went into this book even before delving into the written text. The introduction describing the life of Richard Hughes indicates that we are in for an educational adventure.

Some preliminary information warns us that Hughes has a different writing style. He even warns us on the book mark included that there is "parochial style within." I am familiar with his previous works including a magazine Hughes produced while with the AIGS in Bangkok called Gemological Digest. I had even hoped for more of the same writing style but this book is tame by comparison. He uses a dry humorous style in some sidebars and occasionally in the main body, but the text is mostly serious. Perhaps it is a good mixture, since this book is an important work of reference that should not have been overshadowed by attempts at humor. Therefore, I approve of the delicate mix of writing styles appearing in this book.

The history of rubies and sapphires is interesting and thorough without being long, so history buffs should not expect an unabridged lesson. However, a bibliography of at least 200 books and articles is provided for this chapter alone, so weekends can be occupied productively. To go with the history is a chapter on chemistry and crystallography, so this book really does have something in it for everyone. This chapter is not for the faint at heart. If you are into ditrigonal scalenohedrons, then this chapter is for you.

Under the Magnifying Glass is a chapter that we gemologists love. After a basic equipment lesson and recommendations, some very helpful gemology tricks are told that are not found in your standard gem texts.

The next two chapters continue to deal with the scientific properties of corundum. There is attention to every detail and the information will stand up as valuable reference material for many years to come. I found myself taking notes not only for this book review but also for my own knowledge. An understanding of how corundum is cut becomes clear with the information in this section. Later in the book he will return to the scientific information with a lesson in geology. Again, he is thorough and informative with some excellent tables on localities and the mode of occurrence.

Under the Magnifying Glass is a chapter that we gemologists love. After a basic equipment lesson and recommendations, some very helpful gemology tricks are told that are not found in your standard gem texts. For example, using a blue filter with diffused light will aid in seeing growth banding in yellow and orange natural and synthetic sapphires. The inclusion discussion is technical and necessary. Hughes offers a more scientific approach to fully describing inclusions rather than the more simplified terms of "silk" or "fingerprint."

Treatments is another must read chapter. Heat, irradiation, and oil are just a "tip of the treatment iceberg." The modern era of corundum heat treatment began in the mid to late 1970's when large quantities of geuda rough began to be heated. Detection methods lagged and the gem markets erred in acceptance without distinction according to Hughes. Very deep yellow and orange sapphires did not exist until 1981 when a process was developed in Bangkok to treat the Sri Lanka stones. The timing of my reading this chapter was priceless. I was examining a Montana sapphire and noticed dark concentrations of blue circle inclusions. The exact photo was in the book and the description told me that this was a heat treated Montana sapphire where the titanium bearing inclusions diffused into the stone (not to be confused with diffusion treated corundum). Diffusion, deep diffusion and surface infilling of cavities are all adequately covered. The chapter closes with a chart giving the arguments for and against treatment disclosure. The author takes a slap at the trade for its unwillingness to take a solid stand in favor of disclosure and I fully agree with him.

This is a reference book that will last forever.

Chapter seven deals with synthetics. Staying consistent, Hughes gives us a detailed look at synthetics beginning with the history and then getting into the gemology. Synthetics were first commercially produced about 100 years ago with the Verneuil process. Interestingly, the Verneuil process is almost the same today, and accounts for about 90% of the synthetic corundum currently on the market. After reading this chapter, one becomes quite well informed about what the processes are, how to identify them, and why some are more successful than others. He also explains the "recrystallized" controversy by noting that this is natural ruby and sapphire that is then processed by the Czochralski pulled method. Therefore, it is still considered a "pulled" product and is thus classified as a form of synthetic. No synthetic chapter is complete without the history of the Chatham so this book gives the reader the necessary information. Ramaura and Kashan, Lechleitner and Knischka – they are all in this chapter with important photomicrographs for identification. The next chapter is a good follow-up giving the reader a means to identify assembled stones as well.

The chapter on the Methods of Fashioning makes us understand why corundum is cut the way it is. We are all aware of native cuts. Now we are offered some reasons behind the various cutting styles seen with corundum. A useful hierarchy chart is also shown to explain how shape affects the value of rubies and sapphires.

The chapter on Judging Quality was my first real disappointment with this book. Color, clarity, and cut are discussed and a list of factors is given but no real grading system is offered. Quality assessment is necessary for the valuation process. I agree with the author that buying experience is rarely learned in books. However, considering Mr. Hughes' experience, he should at least take a stab at teaching us how to quality grade corundum. There is no universal grading system, yet one is provided in The Guide. I would not be upset to see a different approach to grading than what The Guide offers, but again, none is offered here. This chapter then goes into historic rubies and sapphires, with a chart that runs several pages. This is good information for the book, but it has nothing to do with judging quality and does not belong in this chapter.

The last chapter is an unbelievable 200-page work that could stand alone as a separate book. I am sure I have never seen a chapter this long in any book I have read during my life. This chapter contains everything you wanted to know about every corundum producing country in the world. It's all here – Australia, Thailand, Burma, Kenya, Montana, Madagascar, and many, many more. Time lines of history, property charts and photomicrographs of inclusions are all to be found in this chapter. The photomicrographs are a great aid to country of origin determination and confirmation of genuine corundum. This chapter alone is essential to any gemologist's reference library. My only other point of criticism in this book is the issue of advertising. Should a book have advertising? I do not think so. I do sympathize with the author in the size of this book and his attempt to keep the price down and for that I might have gone along with the three advertising sections. However, Hughes calls attention to this by making excuses for it in the introduction and the impact of the advertising could have been lessened by not drawing attention to it.

I must commend Richard Hughes for the enormous effort and research that went into this book. The bibliographies alone must take up about fifty pages and I am certain he referenced all works listed. This is a reference book that will last forever. It is required reading for any gemologist or connoisseur of rubies and sapphires.

Richard B. Drucker, G.G.

 

 

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