Ruby & Sapphire
by Richard W. Hughes
RWH Publishing, 1997
Hard cover, 512 pages with 480 illustrations, including over
360 in color
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.
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
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
Gems & Gemology
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.
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
I highly recommend [the
book] to anyone involved in the buying, selling, grading, identifying, or appraising of rubies and sapphires.
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.
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.
Gemological Institute of America
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
GIA Alumni Association
Washington, DC Chapter
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Since no two pages are quite alike,
the result is perhaps one of the most visually engaging
books in the gemological literature.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Zeitschrift der Deutschen
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
R.W. HUGHES' RUBY & SAPPHIRE
ist für alle, die sich beruflich oder privat mit Gemmolgie
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.
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
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.
case you think this reviewer is a rabid fan blind to faults
and follies, I should point out a few difficulties with
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
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
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.
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.
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
The Guide… Quarterly
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.
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.
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.
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.
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"
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This page is http://www.ruby-sapphire.com/r-s-bk-reviews2.htm
7 March, 2013