BREAKING NEWS! Matlins’ Ruby Exposé on ABC Confirmed by GIA: Lead-Glass Rubies Now Categorized as Manufactured, Artificial Product

by antoinettematlins on February 16, 2012

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, who 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 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: 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 are now calling these products a “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.  GIA also released a great video, which makes their 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!


Antoinette Matlins is an internationally respected gem and jewelry expert and well-known author and lecturer. Often seen on CNN, ABC, NBC, and CNBC offering important consumer information, Matlins devotes much of her work to education and consulting within the trade. Former Gemology Editor for National Jeweler for almost a decade, she is the author of many highly acclaimed books on gems and jewelry, including Jewelry & Gems: The Buying Guide (now in its Seventh edition). Other popular books by Matlins include Gem Identification Made Easy; Diamonds: The Antoinette Matlins Buying Guide; Colored Gemstones: The Antoinette Matlins Buying Guide; Jewelry & Gems At Auction; and The Pearl Book (

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