Matlins’ Ruby Exposé on Good Morning Ameria Confirmed by GIA: Lead-Glass Rubies Now Categorized as Manufactured, Artificial Product


By Antoinette Matlins, PG


As many of you are aware, Craig Lynch and I have been heading the Accredited Gemologists Association’s (AGA) efforts in fighting—for over four years—to have laboratories classify lead-glass “ruby” as an artificial product. We, along with other AGA members, have written extensively for the trade press and have given workshops all over the country to alert the trade and public about these artificial products—our main objective being to prevent buyers from becoming victims of deception and to help them avoid costly mistakes. The first respected gemological laboratory to take a clear stand was the American Gemological Laboratory (AGL) in New York, which identified the material as something apart from ruby, calling it “composite ruby” with full disclosure as to what the material actually was. It was AGL’s Chris Smith who agreed to appear with me on Good Morning America almost three years ago to inform the public about this issue. The show aired during a time when it seemed the trade was turning a blind eye and wouldn’t clearly separate the artificial products from other material. Europe’s GemLab of Liechtenstein and Switzerland soon joined in the effort to clearly identify the material, adding details to its reports relating to the percentage of glass in the particular stone. 

Until recently, it has been a long and agonizing effort to get other major labs to take a stand on this product. This is why, after such a long and arduous journey, I was happy to see the European community announce almost a year ago that these products could not be sold as “natural ruby”—treated or otherwise. But, there was still a gaping hole: Gemological Institute of America, GIA, was still identifying the product as “corundum,” variety ruby, on their reports, albeit with comments about glass and the need for care. Nonetheless, their identification of the material was ruby and so the unscrupulous continued to deceive and exploit trade and consumers alike.

A few days ago, I read with a sense of joy that the GIA is now calling these products “manufactured”! This is a huge milestone, as any other lab that refused to identify the lead-glass rubies will have no choice but to follow GIA’s advisory. Yesterday, GIA also released a great video, which makes its report very clear:

If you want to have some fun, you should compare it to what was said on the Good Morning America segment three years ago:

GIA’s statement this week is a “major step for mankind....” Okay, maybe that’s a stretch; I couldn’t resist!