What’s It Worth? A Tiny Chipped Stone Brings A Big Price

Recently we attended a trade show, a get-together of 150 jewelers. Events like this are not open to the public and we were a bit late in arriving. Most of the good deals had already been snatched up quickly by other attendees. Thankfully, many in the group saved under their tables a “Hess bag” with things they knew we were top buyers of.

After relieving them of the stuff they had hidden on our behalf, we continued to stop at each table to chat and exchange pleasantries. We discovered a misshapen little pendant with a paltry price tag of $750. It had a tiny ruby at the center. At only a bit over 5 millimeters, it looked like a half carat. It was chipped as well, but it had STUNNING color. It was a bit of a gamble, since it was an old ring that had been crudely repurposed into an odd-looking pendant. The seller agreed his price was cheap but noted all of its problems.

Altered, tiny, misshapen, and chipped, yes. But that color! We took it out of the mounting and thankfully it weighed just over one carat. It was a deep stone carrying a lot of weight on the bottom. So yes, it looked tiny, but it weighed more than it appeared to. We took a shot and sent it to GIA for grading.

It came back with terrific results. It was natural (which we already knew as Katrina Hess is an accomplished Graduate Gemologist and founder of the Tampa Bay GIA Alumni Association). But further, they said it was of Burmese origin (a most important region for rubies), not heated (90 percent of rubies are heated), its color was “pigeon blood” and further, it was “vivid red.” A perfect ruby quinfecta!

We added a shank to restore it as a ring and sold it wholesale for under $5,000. (Retail likely would have been $15,000 or more.)

To put this in perspective, if the ruby had been 2 carats and a modern cut with the same characteristics, it would have easily brought $30,000. A 15-carat ruby with these same characteristics recently brought $14 million at auction.

Please do not make a mistake when selling a fine sapphire or ruby. Let us help you identify them and sell them for you, or let us make you a terrific offer.

If you have any precious gemstone jewelry you would like to sell, we would like to see it. If you need an appointment in St. Petersburg or Tampa, give us a call or email JeffreyPHess@aol.com.

Buying GOLD! Scrap gold is at historic highs! Sell NOW!

Mail in your items (we can send you an envelope/package to send in your goods), we will call you for a consultation when we receive your package. We can deposit money into your account.

House calls? Yes — we can meet you at our store, your home, or your attorney’s office.

JEFF HESS, Owner & Appraiser.
Comments, questions or suggestions for this column, please send to jeffreyphess@aol.com.
St. Petersburg 1131 4th St. N, St. Petersburg FL 33701. 727.898.4377.
Tampa International Plaza, 813.875.3935. Contact Us
Old Northeast Jewelers, Fine Jewelry and Watches, Buying and Selling since 1984.

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