Should I Make an Investment in Bargain Rubies?

Do you have an offer for bargain rubies that's too good to be true? Learn what you need to know before you buy and avoid high-pressure sales tactics.

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HomeLearning CenterGemologyQuestions About Gems and JewelryShould I Make an Investment in Bargain Rubies?
Question:Help me! I've been offered some rubies at a fabulous price but I'm scared to buy them. Why? There is a lot of money involved. (At least it's a lot for me). This dealer has a package of large rubies, mostly 1 to 3 carats. They have lots of inclusions but are appraised at $600 per carat. This sounds like a reasonable price. Plus, if I take them all, the asking price is less than half that. He's an investment dealer and says they will go up in value with more security than the stock market. Is he right? Should I invest in bargain rubies?
Indian rubies
Opaque Indian rubies. Photo by Mauro Cateb. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

Answer: If you're new to gemstones, don't do it. Unless the gemstone identification and appraisal are conducted by a reputable gemologist (and someone who knows the market), the appraisal is useless.

What You Need to Know Before Buying Bargain Rubies

You need to judge all of the following:

Remember, your dealer can invest in gemstones because he wants to sell to you at a profit. He will have a market. Will you?

Jerry Hughes, Delta One Lapidary

faceted rubies - various sources
Rubies: Thailand (3.66); Africa (10.06); Thailand (2.15). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Get an Independent Appraisal


Regarding the purchase of bargain rubies, ask yourself: if the stones are such an excellent investment, then why is the dealer trying to unload them on you? I've heard the term "investment" used so many times to describe stocks, gems, real estate, etc. It gives me the willies. It amazes me that this technique still works. And that's the problem. It does work, even if you're on your toes. The folks who are doing these investment scams are true masters of their trade.

If you're going to buy bargain rubies, or any gemstones, you need to make sure that you get a truly independent appraisal. That means an appraiser that YOU choose. Not one that the dealer recommends, not even one off a list of several that the dealer recommends. If the truly independent appraisal looks good, then your bargain rubies might be a good deal. Any reputable dealer will allow for independent appraisals.

Of course, the more typical response is that this material is in "great demand." The dealer will claim he can't wait for an appraisal, since "someone else" also wants the very same bargain rubies, or whatever, that you want. Psychologically, being told that someone else will buy the object of your desire quickly if you dawdle makes people rush through things they shouldn't rush through.

If the dealer won't let the bargain rubies be appraised by a reputable, independent service, run screaming in the other direction as fast as you can!

If you want security, buy Treasury Bonds.


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