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Uncovering the Beauty and Rarity of Rubies: A Comprehensive Guide

Rubies are one of the most precious gemstones in the world. They are known for their stunning scarlet color and their rarity, making them a highly sought-after stone for collectors and enthusiasts.

In this article, we will explore what rubies are, their value and rarity, and the different types of rubies available in the market. What is a Ruby?

Rubies are a type of corundum, which is a mineral made up of aluminum oxide. What sets rubies apart from other types of corundum is their vivid scarlet color, which is caused by the presence of chromium.

Rubies are highly valued for their stunning appearance and rarity.

Natural vs Synthetic Rubies

Rubies can be found naturally in the Earth’s crust or created synthetically in a laboratory. Synthetic rubies are typically created by melting aluminum oxide with chromium in a process called the Verneuil process.

The resulting boules are then cut and polished to create synthetic rubies. While synthetic rubies may look identical to natural rubies, they are often less valuable due to their lack of rarity and the fact that they are not considered “real” gemstones.

However, they are still used in the jewelry trade as a more affordable alternative to natural rubies.

Value and Rarity of Rubies

Rubies are one of the most valuable gemstones in the world, with the most expensive rubies fetching millions of dollars. Their high value is due in part to their scarcity, as natural rubies are becoming increasingly rare.

In addition, the quality of a ruby can greatly affect its value, with gem-grade rubies being the most valuable due to their clarity, color, and size.

Types of Rubies

Gem Grade Rubies

Gem-grade rubies are the most valuable and highly sought-after type of ruby. They are typically translucent and free of inclusions, and are cut and polished to create faceted gems.

Gem-grade rubies are often incredibly expensive, making them coveted by collectors and jewelry enthusiasts.

Ruby Rocks

Ruby rocks are opaque rubies that are not suitable for use as gemstones. These rocks may contain impurities and inclusions, but can also contain star rubies.

Star rubies are gems that display a star-like pattern due to the presence of inclusions. Ruby rocks are used in a variety of applications, including decorative uses and as rough material for gemstones.

Differentiating Ruby Types

Burmese rubies are considered the most valuable due to their deep, rich red color and exceptional clarity. Thai rubies are typically lighter in color and are often pinkish-red in hue.

Madagascar rubies are known for their violet-red color, and rubies from Tanzania are known for their brownish-red hues. Indian rubies are often very dark in color, and are sometimes cut into cabochons instead of faceted gems.


In conclusion, rubies are a highly coveted gemstone due to their stunning color, rarity, and value. Whether you are a collector, jewelry enthusiast, or simply interested in gemstones, rubies are a beautiful and fascinating gem that are sure to capture your attention.

Understanding the different types of rubies available can help you make informed decisions when it comes to purchasing or using rubies for decorative purposes.

Affordability of Rubies

The price range of rubies can vary greatly depending on the quality of the stone. Some factors that influence the price of rubies include their clarity, stability, color and size.

The most valuable rubies are those with little to no inclusions, a deep and rich hue, excellent clarity, and no treatment. These rubies can range in price from tens of thousands to millions of dollars, depending on their size and other factors.

Gem-grade rubies are the most expensive and valuable type of ruby. They are rare and highly sought-after, which drives up their price.

Ruby rocks and lower-grade rubies are generally more affordable, though still stunning in their own right.

Types of Rubies for Collectors

For collectors, rock rubies and synthetic rubies may be more appealing than gem-grade rubies. Rock rubies are opaque rubies that are too impure for use as gemstones, but can be visually striking and unique.

Their natural state and unusual shapes can make them appealing to collectors. Synthetic rubies, although not considered “real” gemstones, can also be of interest to collectors as they are often less expensive than natural ruby but possess the same stunning color and luster.

Synthetic rubies are created in labs to mimic the physical and chemical properties of natural rubies. While they are not as valuable as the natural variety, they are often more affordable and can be useful for those who want the look of a ruby without the high price tag.

Where to Find Rubies

While rubies are primarily found in Asia, particularly in Myanmar, Thailand, and Sri Lanka, there are several locations within the United States where rubies can be found. The most well-known ruby mining location in the US is the Cherokee Ruby Mine in North Carolina.

The mine offers the opportunity to mine for rubies and other gems, with the potential to find genuine, natural rubies. Montana is another location within the US where rubies can be found, although the gems found in this location are often high in iron content, causing them to appear darker in color than other varieties.

Detecting Fake Rubies

As with all valuable gemstones, there is a risk of purchasing a fake ruby. In some cases, it can be difficult to discern whether a ruby is genuine or not, but there are a few key tests that can be done to help identify real rubies.

Ruby vs Glass

One of the most common materials used to imitate rubies is glass. However, there are several ways to spot the difference.

One method is to scratch the surface of the gemstone with a piece of quartz or agate. Rubies are very hard and will not scratch easily, whereas glass will be scratched easily.

Another method is to look at the streak left behind by the gem. Rubies will leave a red streak, whereas glass will leave a white or colorless streak.

Ruby vs Spinel

Spinel is another gem that can be used to imitate rubies, as they have a similar appearance. However, spinels are typically less hard than rubies, which means they can be scratched more easily.

Additionally, spinels have a different crystal structure than rubies, meaning they will refract light differently. A gemologist can use a tool called a refractometer to detect the differences.

Glass-Filled and Synthetic Rubies

Another form of “fake” rubies are glass-filled and synthetic rubies. Glass-filled rubies are genuine rubies that have been treated with lead-glass to improve their clarity and color.

However, this treatment also makes the gems fragile and less valuable. Synthetic rubies, as mentioned previously, are created in the lab to mimic real rubies.

They can be made to look like the real thing, but a gemologist can often detect the difference through careful examination and testing. In conclusion, while rubies can be expensive and rare, there are still options for those who desire them.

From affordable rock rubies to synthetic rubies, there are options for all budgets and preferences. It is important for buyers to be aware of the potential for fake rubies and to take measures to ensure they purchase a genuine stone.

By doing so, they can fully appreciate the beauty and value of one of the world’s most treasured gemstones.

Conclusion and Considerations

Rubies are a stunningly beautiful and highly valuable gemstone, prized for their deep red color and rarity. If you are interested in purchasing a ruby, there are a few considerations to keep in mind to ensure you are getting a genuine stone at a fair price.

Online Purchasing

One of the most convenient ways to purchase a ruby is online, but it is important to be aware of potential fraud. It is recommended to purchase rubies from trusted channels, such as reputable online marketplaces or jewelers with a solid reputation.

Check for reviews or feedback from previous buyers to ensure they have had positive experiences with the seller. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, as there are many scams and fraudulent sellers who pretend to sell genuine rubies, but in reality, they are selling fakes.

When purchasing a ruby online, always use a secure method of payment such as PayPal. This provides an extra layer of protection for buyers in case there are any issues with the transaction or product received.

Buying in Person and Certification

Another option for purchasing a ruby is to buy in person. Buying in person can allow you to physically examine the gemstone before purchasing.

It is important to bring along a gemologist or go to a reputable store that has certified gemologists in-house who can identify the stone and advise on its quality. One way to ensure the quality of a ruby is to look for certification from organizations like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the International Gem Society (IGS).

These organizations are known for their rigorous certification process and providing accurate grading of gemstones. A certified ruby comes with documentation that details relevant information such as the weight, cut, color, clarity, and any treatments the stone may have undergone.

It’s important to note that a certification from these organizations can impact the price of the ruby, as the certification adds to the value of the stone. Still, it can be worth the investment to have a ruby certified, especially if you plan to sell it or use it in a piece of jewelry.


In conclusion, purchasing a ruby can be an exciting experience. It is important to be cautious, do your research, and take necessary precautions to ensure you are getting a genuine and high-quality gemstone.

Whether you choose to buy online or in person, it is essential to find a reputable seller with a solid reputation and certification. By doing so, you can enjoy the beauty and rarity of a genuine ruby and invest in a valuable and treasured gemstone that will last a lifetime.

In conclusion, rubies are a captivating and valuable gemstone that are sought after by collectors and jewelry enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re interested in purchasing a ruby for decorative purposes or as an investment, it’s essential to educate yourself on the quality, types, and pricing of rubies, and learn the best ways to detect fake ones.

By doing so, you can ensure that you’re getting a genuine and valuable gemstone that will be cherished for generations. FAQs:


How can I differentiate between a real ruby and a fake one? Answer: You can differentiate between real and fake rubies by doing scratch tests with quartz or agate, observing the stone’s streak, refracting light, and using a refractometer.

2. Is it safe to buy rubies online?

Answer: It can be safe to buy rubies online, provided that you buy from trusted channels and use secure payment methods like PayPal. 3.

What kind of rubies are best for collectors? Answer: Rock rubies and synthetic rubies are best for collectors.

4. What is the most valuable type of ruby?

Answer: Gem-grade rubies are the most valuable type of ruby due to their clarity, color, and size. 5.

Where can I find rubies in the US? Answer: The Cherokee Ruby Mine in North Carolina and Montana are two popular locations in the US where rubies can be found.

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