October 12, 2017

New Gild, WomenVenture and the Ruby Slippers

Jen Bellefleur, Owner

When we decided to create New Gild, we faced many joys and challenges–including funding.  I feel incredibly lucky and honored that we were connected with WomenVenture, a non-profit organization that has been helping women create and grow sustainable and profitable businesses for four decades.  WomenVenture does so much more than fund loans, they provide women of all ages, cultures, races and income levels with the tools and resources to achieve small business success.  This year, WomenVenture celebrates forty years of helping make dreams come true–imagine how excited we were when a member of their board of directors asked us to create a custom item for their annual gala fundraiser.

In addition to being the traditional gift for the 40th anniversary, Ruby is the most valuable variety of the corundum mineral species, which also includes sapphire. Ruby can command the highest prices of any colored gemstone. The per-carat prices of fine-quality rubies have been rising consistently, many times breaking auction records, and for better quality material, slight differences in color can make significant differences in value.

Corundum of any color other than red is referred to as sapphire.  Pink sapphires are sometimes referred to as rubies in different countries, particularly countries where these gems are mined.  Technically, according to the GIA, the term, “ruby” is reserved for stones in which red is the dominant hue. Like diamonds, rubies have several quality factors, including color and clarity.  Rubies typically do have some inclusions, and can include needles of rutile, small crystals, or zones of color variation. Gem hounds can visit the GIA for more here:    https://www.gia.edu/ruby-quality-factor

An area of significant concern when selecting this gemstone is the type and extent of any treatments to which it may have been subjected.  Heating is very common, and is to be expected in a ruby.  “Flux assisted partial healing” and “glass filling” of fractures in rubies and sapphires began to appear in the market in the early 1980’s.  While these treatments may make a ruby affordable, they greatly affect the value of the stone and must be disclosed at the time of sale.  A headline of, “natural ruby” is not an assurance that the stone has not been treated significantly.  Picture a sponge made of ruby, and, then fill in all the holes in that sponge with red glass.  It may be affordable, but the treatment is not necessarily stable and the stone does not have the same value as a ruby with no treatment or only heat treatment.

But let’s go back to the ruby slippers and WomenVenture!  While we could have perhaps made a pair of ruby slippers, we decided instead to create a custom ruby pendant.  As soon as we heard that phrase, I imagined a somewhat antique looking pendant with an oval ruby, and perhaps some seed pearls and diamonds.  I doodled a little drawing while I was on the phone with a client, and then reached out to our friends at Gem 2000.  They offered us a completely natural 1.52 carat cabochon stunner, free of “filling” and vibrantly colored.  This fit right in with our vision, which Kelsey fleshed out from a doodle into a beautiful design, which he then hand carved in wax for casting and finishing.  The piece is embellished with eight tiny seed pearls and forty diamonds to celebrate WomenVenture’s 40th anniversary, and will be raffled at this month’s Marketplace gala, attended by over 1,000 WomenVenture sponsors and clients.

We’re so lucky to have all our great friends and clients, and WomenVenture is at the top of that list–thank you, WomenVenture!  And, if like me, you’re a big Wizard of Oz fan, you can read more about Dorothy’s ruby slippers, an incredible prop created for the original motion picture, here:http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/10/20/498666214/save-the-ruby-slippers-smithsonian-seeks-funds-to-preserve-dorothys-shoes

Tags: , ,

Categories: , ,