Feature Gems & Gemology, Winter 2009, Volume 45, No. 4

Ruby and Sapphire Production and Distribution: A Quarter Century of Change

During the past 25 years, the corundum market has been transformed from one of medium to high-priced gems to one that encompasses nearly all price ranges. This transformation was caused by the discovery of a number of large deposits and the development of treatment processes that enhanced the color and clarity of huge quantities of previously noncommercial sapphire and ruby. More recently, however, controversial treatments have undermined confidence and prices in some material, while political events and press scrutiny have affected the supply chain for rubies and sapphires from localities such as Myanmar and Madagascar.