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Daily Wire Tip Mar. 20: Ruby Bi-cones and Cubes
Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
March 20, 2011
Hi Dale, I love your DVDs, they have helped tremendously. I have a question about rubies. I have been trying to locate ruby bicones and cubes for a bracelet order and have not been able to find them. Is there a reason for this? Thanks again.
-Sandy in Elkton, Maryland
Sandy, I work with faceted ruby gemstone beads quite often, and I have never seen the material cut into either a bi-cone or a square shape. There may be several reasons. One is that to cut a gemstone into a bi-cone shape, more material is wasted during the cutting process than is left in the resulting product; because precious ruby is an expensive stone (one of the top four precious stones, including diamond, emerald and sapphire), it would be very costly to make ruby into bi-cone beads.
As for cutting semi-precious ruby rough into cube shapes, I would think it has to do with the properties of the stone. Ruby (corundum) is the second-hardest stone (its Mohs scale hardness being a 9, and diamond being a 10), and contains rutile needles, also called silk. When a translucent to opaque ruby cabochon or bead shines, it is due to light reflecting off the rutile. If a stone or bead is cut so that the ends of these threads are on the face, there will be no shine. If a ruby is first oriented so the rutile is horizontal to the face, and then cut into a flat-square or cushion shape and the top is faceted with something like a checkerboard cut, the stone will sparkle. Again, the cost of making such beads is a major factor. However, there are many overseas manufacturers with whom you might try to place special orders.
In the meantime, you could try altering your design to use freeform ruby beads (I found some by doing a search using the phrase "precious ruby beads") or the already-available round and rondelle shapes.
Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong
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