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The Complete Guide to Red Ruby

It is no surprise that the red ruby is amongst the most sought-after and expensive gemstones globally. And even though there are other red gemstones, only a few of them are as coveted as rubies. Below is a rundown of what you need to know about red rubies.

What is a Red Ruby?

Ruby is derived from the Latin word for red, ruber. Red rubies are also known as blood rubies and are colored by trace amounts of chromium. They are a variety of gemstones with a red color, and they belong to the corundum family. There has always been a high demand for this stone during specific periods in history.

For example, during the height of ancient Rome and the Victorian era in England, Roman emperors and some of the wealthiest people in Europe wore blood rubies to show wealth and power. These days, rubies are still considered an investment stone due to their rarity and value.

What is the Meaning of a Red Ruby?

Today, rubies are a symbol of love and commitment. The old Hollywood red color that rubies exhibit symbolizes all things romantic – think Valentine’s Day hearts, embers from a still-warm fire, and long stem roses. Red ruby jewelry is commonly given as an anniversary gift to celebrate a romantic relationship that has stood the test of time.

For centuries, rubies’ blood-red hue was a representation of life itself. ­­­­­Early cultures treasured the gem and believed they could protect against misfortune, inflammation, and illness. Ancient warriors went as far as to adorn their armor with rubies to provide protection in battle.

Rubies are also July’s birthstone and represents the courageous, happy, and passionate characteristics of those born in the seventh month of the year. And birthstone jewelry has made a comeback! Striking ruby jewelry is a great way to celebrate and commemorate your loved one’s July birthday (or your own!).

How Does a Red Ruby Get its Color?

The trace amounts of chromium determine the color of a ruby. In addition to blood or deep, red-colored stones, there are also pinkish or purplish-pink stones classified as rubies since they share the same chromium content and hue. You may find these less expensive than actual deep red rubies due to their lighter shade and vibrancy.

Inclusions inside the gemstone can also change the color of a ruby. Thus, when a red ruby has no inclusions, it appears more vivid and clear than one with many inclusions.

How is Ruby Color Graded?

Rubies are graded on their saturation and hue. Color saturation ranges from vivid to strong, fair, medium, and weak. Top quality rubies are always graded as ‘vivid.’ Hue refers to the overtones present within a ruby. Red is the most coveted of all hues, but rubies come in hues of slight orange, strong orange, slight purple, and strong purple as well.

Ruby Clarity

The clarity of a ruby is judged on the same scale that diamonds and other gemstones are – by determining how many inclusions (small, black carbon deposits) are present in the stone. The scale is as follows with VVS rubies being the rarest and coveted.

Ruby Cut

Generally natural rubies are cut in four different ways: brilliant cut, step cut, mixed cut, cabochon cut.

What is the Value of a Red Ruby?

Several factors determine the value of a ruby. These include the clarity, cut, and color.

There is an increase in demand for these stones, and the prices for red rubies have skyrocketed in recent years. Some of these stones have even been worth more than their weight in gold.

Due to their scarcity and popularity, red rubies are often fraudulently sold as natural red gems. As a consumer, you should be careful about what you buy when buying a red gemstone because many sellers will try to sell lab rubies or synthetic alternatives for top dollar. The only way to ensure you get what you’re looking for is with an appraisal certificate from a reputable professional jeweler. That being said, lab grown rubies are also extremely beautiful and display much fewer inclusions than a natural ruby does, for a much better price.

Where can You Find Red Rubies?

Pigeon Blood Ruby 

There are many different kinds of red rubies. However, the most common kind is known as the pigeon blood ruby. It is a type of corundum gemstone that has a very dark red hue. These stones are prized for their lack of color to make them more transparent and valuable.

Burmese Ruby

The most popular red ruby is the Burmese ruby, and the reds range from a dark maroon to a true red. This type of stone is deep red and has more chromium than the pigeon blood ruby. It makes this type of stone a bit less valuable than its counterpart.

These rubies come from the Burmese ruby mines in the country of Myanmar, they produce about 95% of all-natural rubies. In Myanmar, there are two types of rubies: light and dark. Light rubies are more common and generally less expensive than dark ones. Dark rubies are rare because it takes longer to find them, and they tend to be more intensely saturated with color.

Ceylon Ruby

The third type of red ruby you may encounter is the Ceylon ruby. These stones are lighter than the Burmese rubies, making them much less valuable. They also have more flaws due to multiple growths on the same crystal lattice structure.

How Can You Tell if a Red Ruby is Real?

The best way to tell if a ruby is real or not is the ‘too good to be true’ test. Lab created rubies are, more often than not, completely inclusion free, giving them an ‘almost perfect’ look. Natural rubies, unless they are of supremely rare quality, will likely have at least a few inclusions that give the gemstone a depth and uniqueness.

Another way to tell the difference between a lab grown ruby and a natural ruby is to consider its color. Lab grown rubies are often more of a light-colored red. Natural rubies, especially the best ones, feature a deep red color.

When questioning whether or not you have a synthetic (glass, plastic, etc.) ruby, consider performing the rub test. Here are the steps:

Final Thoughts

Red rubies are special, rare, and coveted gemstones that represent love and passion. Jewelers have long-since set them in precious metal, crafting spectacular jewelry that makes a statement. Now that you’ve read through the complete guide to red rubies, take a peek at our top ruby jewelry styles.

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