gems

  • An essay on buying gems at the source in Asia, with a discussion of how con men play on the greed of those who believe gems will be cheaper at the mines.

  • Developing a comprehensive colored stone grading system has been the dream of gemologists since the late 1970's, but despite a number of valient attempts, we are no closer to the goal today than we were four decades ago. This article examines the various problems of colored stone grading, explaining why the challenges are at least an order of magnitude greater than the grading of diamonds.

  • The role of fiber-optic lighting in gemological microscopy.

  • A discussion of the flux-healing treatment of rubies. This article was awarded the Richard T. Liddicoat Journalism Award by the American Gem Society in 2005.

  • One of the greatest gemological challenges is determining if a ruby or sapphire has been heat treated. UV fluorescence can assist in that identification, as well as detecting fillers in emerald.

  • The Thai city of Chanthaburi (จันทบุรี) may be small, but it has played an important role in both the history of Thailand and the gem trade. Taking its name from the Sanskrit word for moon ('chan'), this petite town is among the most charming in the Land of Smiles.

  • The subject of andesine in Tibet has been one of controversy since 2008. This article examines the history of the issue, along with detailing an October 2010 visit to the Tibetan andesine deposit.

  • Inside Out  •  GEM•ology Through Lotus-Colored Glasses

    E. Billie Hughes, Richard W. Hughes, Wimon Manorotkul  |  2020

    From the dawn of time, precious stones have both attracted and fascinated humans in ways that few other items could. For while objects of desire are found throughout the natural world, physical beauty is too often ephemeral. From the allure of a man, woman, flower or butterfly, through the fleeting moments of a sunset, there is little that lasts and practically nothing that can be passed down to our descendants. The exception is precious stones. Not only are they the most durable creations of Mother Nature, but their visual splendor is truly eternal.

    This book presents a completely fresh approach to the subject. Dubbing it humanistic gemology, the authors take readers around the world, showing the places they have explored in their search for gems, along with the people and cultures encountered along the way. Within this volume, remarkable photographs of the human world are interwoven with images of the microscopic realm of the gems themselves. In a lifetime beset by time control, where living is broken into ever smaller bits, as you browse through these pages suddenly you plunge into a domain of frozen time, one that affords vistas of millions or even billions of years. For jewels offer not just superficial beauty, but a window on the primordial forces that birthed both our planet and universe.

    Inside Out – Gemology Through Lotus-Colored Glasses represents a fascinating new direction for gemology, linking the external and internal worlds of precious stones for the first time. 

    Inside Out | GEM•ology Through Lotus-Colored Glasses Order Page 

  • The history of the Lao sapphire mines at Ban Huay Xai is detailed, along with modern mining by Hong Kong based Sino Resources Mining Corp. Ltd. from 2006–2012.

  • In search of Thailand's last ruby miner.

  • An orangish pink “padparadscha” sapphire was submitted for testing at Lotus Gemology’s Bangkok laboratory. Testing showed a number of conflicting features that suggested the gem was a cleverly treated synthetic pink sapphire designed to imitate natural padparadscha.

  • The definition of padparadscha sapphire, from early to modern times.

  • Introducing the blue filter as a gemological tool to separate natural and Verneuil synthetic yellow sapphires.

  • Ruby & Sapphire

    Richard W. Hughes  |  1997

    Ruby & Sapphire is widely acknowledged as one of the finest gemology books ever published. Not just an update of his previous volumes on ruby and sapphire, it represents something rarely seen in a technical book, a fusion of accurate science and spirited, accessible prose. Within its pages, one finds information on prices, quality analysis, sources, history, treatments and identification. Featuring over 300 color photos and 2500 references, this now out-of-print volume is today highly sought after by collectors and gemologists, who pay as much as $1000 or more for the privilege of owning a copy.

    Out-of-print. Click here to search for a copy


  • Solid inclusions have been used by gemologists as a means of determining origin. While there is a great deal of overlap from one source to another, there are also important differences. For example, while apatite has been identified in sapphire from Madagascar, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, apatite has never been identified in sapphire from Kashmir. Thus the purpose of this article is to give a full listing of solid inclusions in gem corundums from around the world, with each occurrence fully referenced. This is provided with the goal of making origin determination of ruby and sapphire more accurate.

  • Ruby & Sapphire  •  A Collector's Guide

    Richard W. Hughes  |  2014

    Few gems capture the imagination like ruby and sapphire. This book removes the cloak of
 an otherwise secret world
. Drawing on a lifetime’s experience, 
the author ventures around the globe for the
 finest specimens, in the process allowing readers to discover 
the people and places where these rare gems are 
found, along with the story of the stones themselves. Throughout the text, Hughes guides readers with
 the steady connoisseur's eye, explaining what collectors should look for. For many pieces, actual
 auction prices are given, aiding collectors in their 
buying decisions. Illustrated with more than 300 color
 photographs, this is a visual and intellectual feast of
 the most delicious order.

    Ruby & Sapphire • A Collector's Guide order page

  • Ruby & Sapphire  •  A Gemologist's Guide

    Richard W. Hughes, with Wimon Manorotkul & E. Billie Hughes  |  2017

    Designed as a companion to Ruby & Sapphire: A Collector's Guide, this massive volume is aimed specifically at working gemologists, appraisers and students. Based on Richard W. Hughes' 1997 classic, Ruby & Sapphire, this edition is fully updated. The product of nearly 40 years of firsthand experience and research, it covers every aspect of the subject from A–Z. History, sources, prices, quality analysis, synthetics and treatments, everything is here. With over 1000 photos, maps and illustrations and 3500 references, Ruby & Sapphire—A Gemologist’s Guide represents the most comprehensive book ever written on a single precious stone.

    Ruby & Sapphire •  A Gemologist's Guide Order Page 

  • From Peacock to Pigeon's Blood  •  An Introduction to Ruby & Sapphire Colors

    Lotus Gemology  |  2017

    An introduction to the ruby & sapphire color types used at Lotus Gemology.

    From Peacock to Pigeon's Blood Order Page 

  • A loving look at ruby from the standpoint of the connoisseur.

  • Since the turn of the millennium, the price of fine spinel has risen at an incredible pace. No longer simply the poor man's ruby, spinel is finally getting the attention it deserves as one of the world's premier gems.

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