Everything You Need to Know About Rubies

January 9th, 2023

Rubies are the most valuable precious stones of the corundum minerals. If you’re looking for the perfect gift or an addition to your jewelry collection, consider jewelry with rubies, as they make stunning jewelry for special occasions or everyday wear.

But before buying ruby jewelry, it is vital to understand what makes these gemstones unique and valuable. Find out everything you need to know about rubies and how to protect your ruby jewelry with BriteCo™.

What is a Ruby?

A ruby is a pink to blood red colored gem that is a variety of the mineral corundum. Although Burma is widely considered the mining source of the finest rubies, they are also mined in Afghanistan, Australia, and Cambodia. 

Rubies have often been symbols of passion, protection, and wealth throughout history and are July’s birthstone.

How Are Rubies Formed?

Like many other valuable precious stones, rubies are formed below the earth under high heat and pressure. When oxygen and aluminum are compressed, they transform into corundum. 

Once corundum has high levels of other trace minerals, it changes colors. High levels of chromium create a distinctive red ruby hue.

Ruby Characteristics: Hardness, Clarity, Color

Considering hardness, clarity, and color is vital while shopping for ruby jewelry to ensure you purchase a high-quality product. The quality and value of gemstones are mainly dependent on these characteristics. 

  • Hardness

Hardness refers to a gemstone’s tendency to resist scratches and chips. Rubies are a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, while the hardest material, a diamond, is a 10. Like diamonds, rubies are less easily damaged or scratched by other materials than a softer stone, such as a pearl which ranges from 2.5 to 4.5 hardness.

  • Color

The color of a ruby is the most critical indicator of its value. Fine rubies have a vibrant, deep red hue. Rubies with lower levels of chromium result in a lighter red or pinkish hue that are less valuable than deep red rubies. Rubies that are completely red are more valuable than rubies with orange or purple hues.

  • Clarity

Clarity in rubies refers to how many inclusions it has, which affects the brilliance and transparency of the gemstones. Less visible inclusions result in clearer and more vibrant colors, which increases the value of the ruby.

Inclusion-free rubies are almost non-existent; however, some varieties of inclusion can increase the ruby’s value. Thin rutile mineral inclusions known as needles can significantly increase the ruby’s value. These needles can cause light to scatter across the gem’s facets, making it appear brighter.

seven rubies on a white background

Are Rubies Valuable? 

Fine-quality rubies can be some of the most expensive and valuable gemstones available, but rubies can vary dramatically in price. Although rare, the highest quality ruby gemstones have been valued at over $1,000,000 per carat. 

One manufacturing aspect that can affect ruby value is treatment. Most rubies are heat treated unless specified as untreated by the seller. This means the gem is exposed to extreme temperatures to improve color and clarity. 

Simple heat treating is generally considered acceptable by most jewelers and won’t significantly lower the ruby’s price. However, if the ruby is treated with diffusion coloring or filled with lead glass or polymer, the rubies value dramatically decreases.

Round cut ruby earrings

What Cut Looks Best on Rubies?

A vibrant ruby jewelry set can be the perfect bold choice to elevate your look. However, you need to know which gemstone cut can enhance your style. Ruby’s crystal structure can limit the types of cuts available at certain carat weights. The most common cut used on a ruby is a flat tabular hexagonal shape seen in round and rose cuts. 

Classic princess cuts are popular in women’s ruby rings which have grown in popularity as an alternative to traditional diamond engagement rings. Teardrop cuts are an excellent choice for necklaces, especially when paired with a white gold chain. If you opt for sterling silver, most jewelers recommend choosing this for a necklace or earrings over a ring, as silver is softer than gold and may bend over time.

For earrings, rubies are typically cut into traditional shapes such as round and oval. Thanks to their bold red hue, heart-shaped ruby necklaces, and charm bracelets are especially sought-after for Valentine’s Day and anniversaries. Square cuts are often found in men’s ruby jewelry and are especially popular as rings. 

For rubies with asterism (star-shaped inclusions), a cabochon cut is the best way to highlight the radial shape.

How to Care for Ruby Jewelry

Rubies are very hard gemstones and don’t require frequent maintenance. But like any fine jewelry, you should properly store and clean your rubies. 

When not wearing your rubies, store each piece of jewelry in separate pouches or envelopes. This ensures your rubies won’t get scratched by other jewelry. This is crucial if you have diamond pieces, which are harder than rubies and can easily damage them. 

Avoid wearing ruby jewelry while doing housework, playing sports, or gardening to reduce the chances of damage from chemicals, dirt, or breakage. Many jewelers also recommend removing jewelry when you’re around drains, like when washing hands or showering, to avoid the possibility of losing your ruby.

To clean ruby jewelry, use mild soap and warm water. Use soft cleaning tools, such as a cloth or soft bristle toothbrush, to gently remove dirt or build-up on the jewelry. Avoid harsh cleaners or solvents like chlorine bleach or acetone that may damage the rubies. 

You can also take your jewelry to get professionally cleaned and polished to keep your ruby gemstone sparkling. Jewelers use ultrasonic cleaners that have high-frequency sound waves to bring dirt to the surface and pull the dirt away from the stone.

Jewelers also inspect your jewelry to ensure your precious items are in perfect condition. It’s recommended to get jewelry professionally cleaned at least once a year, but many jewelers prefer once every six months.

Protect Your Ruby Jewelry With Insurance From BriteCoTM

Rubies are versatile gemstones that can be stunning in various cuts and make great options for gift giving. To protect your gifts, opt for insurance that covers all ruby jewelry, including fine jewelry, rings, and luxury watches. 

Our team at BriteCo knows that purchasing dazzling ruby jewelry is an investment that needs to be protected. Our hassle-free process can help you get a free quote in only two minutes. Contact us online or visit our team at BriteCo in store to learn how to protect your ruby jewelry.

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About the Author

Dustin Lemick is the Founder and CEO of BriteCo and a third-generation jeweler with over thirteen years of retail jewelry experience. He holds a Graduate Gemologist degree from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has in-depth knowledge and expertise in appraisal systems, diamond and gemstone markets, retail pricing models, insurance replacement models, and jewelry quotation pricing systems.
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