WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
There are a number of different ways to grow ruby. The various terms used to describe them are confusing, but there are two basic techniques, “Melt” and “Flux” which are important to clearly understand:
1) The Ramaura™ Cultured Ruby is grown by the Flux technique, in a high temperature molten magma. While some manufacturers use a seed of synthetic ruby to start the growth process, only the Ramaura™ Cultured Ruby grows spontaneously, without a seed, just as natural ruby grows in the earth’s molten magma. The result is that Ramaura ruby looks like natural ruby, with many of the same inclusions, veils, fingerprints, growth lines and color zoning that occurs in natural ruby.
2) Melt ruby (whether Flame Fusion or Pulled) grows very rapidly. It has no natural looking inclusions. Flame Fusion and Pulled ruby are technically almost identical, they both are grown by melting and refreezing the constituents of ruby. The former is grown by dropping powder into a flame and freezing it into a synthetic ruby crystal. The latter is grown by melting the constituents in a container, touching a crystal seed to the melt and withdrawing it. Neither replicates the natural process.
The rate of ruby growth is critical. If you grow ruby quickly, it keeps the price down, but it does not allow all the atoms time to line up in their proper positions. Technically there is a HIGH dislocation density. Flux ruby has a dislocation density ten thousand times lower than Pulled ruby and a billion times lower than Flame Fusion ruby! When atoms are out of position (high dislocation density) it means that light is lost or distorted when it tries to bounce around in the crystal. That is why Melt ruby has a sort of glassy, greasy look.
Melt ruby is easily distinguished from natural ruby by the presence of bubbles, curve stria, thermal strain lines, etc.
Terms like “laboratory grown” or “created” are used to promote melt-grown products. These are general terms that could be used for any product produced in a laboratory. To emphasize the natural way in which the Ramaura™ grows we call it “Cultured” because all cultured materials (e.g. cultured pearls) are grown from a nutrient solution.
Melt ruby has been tried in fine jewelry repeatedly since the late 1800’s. It seldom works. When people buy fine jewelry, they have a right to expect that their gems will look natural. Melt ruby doesn’t. The fact is that marketing fine jewelry with melt ruby worth only a dollar or two is insulting to the customer and doesn’t work over the long run.
Flux grown ruby, unlike the cheap melt product, lets light bounce around unimpeded by dislocations. The ultimate test is to look at a natural or a Ramaura™ Cultured Ruby in dim lighting….candle light for example. In low level lighting the flash and fire of a Ramaura™ Cultured Ruby still blazes from the heart of the stone!
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