Now might be the time to buy Ramaura cultured rubies. Judith Osmer, owner of the Long Beach, Calif.-based J.O. Crystal Co. Inc., which produces synthetic ruby, has put the company up for sale. “We have had quite a few interesting offers,” says company president Virginia Carter. At press time, however, there were no takers. “We are still talking to potential buyers,” Carter notes. “But if nothing materializes soon, we’ll find a distributor for the remaining stones, and close the doors at the end of the year.”
The Ramaura is difficult to identify, even for a gemologist, as it might show only slight hints of synthetic internal graining. And as Carter points out, “In our higher grades there is no reliable measurable difference between Ramaura cultured ruby and natural ruby.” Ramaura cultured rubies are produced in a high-temperature flux using spontaneous nucleation—which is what makes it so much like natural ruby. To help gemologists identify the synthetic ruby, Osmer added a trace element that shifts the fluorescence towards yellow-orange.