Probe: April 5, 2001

April 05, 2001

PRICE ABOVE RUBIES — The Bible says a good woman's "price is far above rubies." I know some gems can be made artificially. Can rubies be made in the laboratory? — Searching for a Gem, Calipatria

Virtually all precious stones can be duplicated in the workshop or laboratory. We are not sure the same can be said of virtue.

If you plan to whip up a batch, you will need some corundum, the crystalline form of aluminum oxide. Pure aluminum oxide is colorless.

You will need to add some trace elements. A pinch of titanium and a pinch of iron will make blue. Iron will also make green and yellow. Chromium and iron will produce orange. Just a smidge of chromium will give you a pink stone.


They're all sapphires.

When a corundum crystal has enough chromium to be red, it is a ruby, or is it just a red sapphire?

We're stealing most of this information from a 10-year-old National Geographic.

The value of everything depends on what somebody will pay for it. Although chemically the same, natural sapphires are worth more than manufactured ones.

Romance and imagination add to the value. There's more romance associated with gems from Myanmar, Kashmir and Sri Lanka than those from Africa, Australia or Montana. Since few people can tell the difference, dealers will often label stones as coming from a romantic place.

FURNITURE IN A TRUCK — I just read in PROBE that you are looking for a man who sells furniture in a truck. Two years ago I bought my patio furniture from a man who fits that description. I got a neat package deal and I have been very happy with it.

I still have his card. His name is Rick George and he lives in Perris. His number is (909) 657-4286. — Happy, Imperial County

After you called us, we called George. Perris is in Riverside County, about three hours from El Centro.

He said he won't be coming to Imperial County again until October. He was under the impression that it gets hot down here.

However, he said, you are welcome to come to Perris. Better call first. In the spring and summer, he takes his truck to the Los Angeles and San Diego areas.

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE FOREVER — Tell the lady with the barking dog: Please don't send it back to the shelter. A dog has no other way to tell you something is wrong.

It probably views the birds as intruders and digs the holes in frustration. In exchange for shelter and a little food, dogs give unconditional love their entire lives.

Like children, dogs need to be taught acceptable behavior. … — Dog Lover, El Centro

We're hoping someone will tell us how to teach dogs and kids "acceptable" behavior.

We had a dog once that hated birds. It went into a frenzy when a bird perched on the telephone lines overhead.

It hated the lawn mower even more. When our spouse mowed the lawn, the dog ran in circles, barking. When the mower stopped, the dog backed off, keeping a wary eye on the mechanical beast.

One day the pooch had had enough. When the mower stopped, the dog rushed in and gave the mower's grass catcher a nasty nip. The mower didn't budge and the dog slunk away.

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