Basically a Mahaleo ruby or glass filled ruby is a low quality ruby. Often the ruby has so many fractures that it appears opaque and brown instead of red. These fractures are then filled with lead glass.
Because of the addition of lead glass the clarity and color are dramatically improved. Creating a valuable looking ruby that in its natural form could not even be cut.
The Problem With Mahaleo Ruby
Unfortunately there are disadvantages as well. The main one being that it is far more fragile than a real ruby. Taking care of a glass filled ruby is far harder because a simple household cleaning product can already damage it. Let alone a professional cleaning agent.
However this would not be a problem if the glass filling treatment would be properly disclosed. This is often not the case, many people see an expensive looking piece of ruby jewelry and think they are getting a bargain.
When in reality they are buying a product that is not durable and certainly won’t last you a lifetime like a natural ruby.
Mahaleo ruby or glass filled ruby can be found under several names on the market including, but not limited to: composite ruby, ruby with glass and hybrid ruby.
Glass filled rubies are now considered a manufactured product
Recently the GIA has classified them as a manufactured product. Because this treatment turns something that is almost worthless as a gemstone into a great looking product. This result simply cannot be called a natural product anymore.
Especially when some of these rubies have glass contents so high that if you’d remove the glass the ruby would simply fall apart.
A recent video by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) gives a great overview of why glass filled rubies are considered a large problem and how they can be identified.
The video is aimed at people in the gemstone trade, however it provides some great information that is of use to everyone interested.
In short, be aware of the existence of glass filled rubies when you’re looking to buy a real ruby or ruby jewelry. There is certainly nothing wrong with buying a Mahaleo ruby as they often look great and are quite cheap. You just need to know that they are not very durable. Also the price should not be even remotely near the price of a natural ruby.