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What Is A Star Ruby Worth?

by Madonna

Star rubies are a type of ruby that exhibits a unique optical phenomenon known as asterism. This phenomenon creates a star-like pattern on the surface of the gemstone when viewed under a direct light source, typically in the form of a six-rayed star. The star effect is caused by the presence of needle-like inclusions of rutile or hematite within the ruby crystal lattice.

One of the most famous star rubies is the “Rosser Reeves Star Ruby,” a 138.7-carat stone named after its former owner, which displays a prominent and well-defined star.


Factors Affecting Value

Several key factors contribute to determining the worth of a star ruby:


Asterism: The presence and clarity of the star effect significantly impact a star ruby’s value. A sharp, well-defined star that is visible under various lighting conditions commands a higher price.


Color Intensity: The richness and depth of color play a crucial role. Deep red hues with a slight undertone of purple are considered the most desirable, although star rubies also occur in shades ranging from pinkish-red to purplish-red.

Clarity: Minimal inclusions that do not detract from the star effect enhance a star ruby’s clarity and value. Stones with visible flaws or cloudiness may be less valuable.

Cut: A well-proportioned cut that enhances the star effect without sacrificing weight or symmetry adds value. The cabochon cut is the most common for star rubies, maximizing the visibility of the star.

Carat Weight: Larger star rubies are rarer and thus command higher prices per carat, especially if they exhibit exceptional color, clarity, and asterism.

Rarity and Origin

Star rubies are relatively rare compared to their non-star counterparts. They are primarily found in a few key regions known for producing high-quality gemstones:

Myanmar (Burma): Renowned for its Pigeon Blood Red rubies, Myanmar also yields exquisite star rubies with intense color and well-defined asterisms.

Sri Lanka: Sri Lankan star rubies often exhibit a slightly purplish hue and are prized for their transparency and bright star effects.

Africa: Countries like Tanzania and Madagascar produce star rubies, albeit in smaller quantities compared to Myanmar and Sri Lanka. African star rubies can display unique color variations and asterisms.

Pricing Guide

The value of star rubies can vary significantly based on quality and size. As of [current year], here is a general pricing guide:

Low-quality star rubies (less defined star, pale color, visible inclusions): $100 – $500 per carat

Medium-quality star rubies (moderate star effect, good color saturation, minimal inclusions): $500 – $2,000 per carat

High-quality star rubies (sharp star effect, intense color, excellent clarity): $2,000 – $10,000+ per carat

Prices can escalate further for exceptionally large or rare star rubies with impeccable characteristics.

How to Determine Quality

To assess the quality of a star ruby, follow these guidelines:

Examine the Star Effect: View the gemstone under various light sources to ensure the star effect is sharp, centered, and visible from different angles.

Evaluate Color Saturation: Look for deep, saturated red hues with a hint of secondary colors like purple, as these are indicative of higher-quality star rubies.

Check Clarity: Inspect the gemstone for inclusions or blemishes that may affect its overall appearance and value.

Consider Cut and Carat Weight: A well-proportioned cabochon cut that showcases the star effect effectively, coupled with a larger carat weight, can enhance a star ruby’s allure.

Verify Treatments: Confirm if the star ruby has undergone any treatments such as heat enhancement, which is common in the industry but should be disclosed by reputable sellers.

Investment Potential

Star rubies have long been considered valuable investments due to their rarity, enduring popularity, and historical significance. Investing in high-quality star rubies can offer potential returns over time, especially as demand for these exquisite gemstones continues to grow among collectors and connoisseurs.

However, like any investment, thorough research, careful selection, and consideration of market trends are essential for maximizing potential returns. It’s advisable to seek guidance from reputable gemologists or investment advisors when considering star rubies as part of a diversified investment portfolio.

Care and Maintenance

To preserve the value and beauty of star rubies, follow these care tips:

Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Keep star rubies away from chemicals, including household cleaners and perfumes, which can damage the gemstone’s surface.

Store Properly: Store star rubies in a padded jewelry box or pouch to prevent scratches or impact damage.

Regular Cleaning: Clean star rubies gently with mild soap and warm water, using a soft brush to remove dirt or oils.

Professional Inspection: Periodically have your star rubies inspected by a qualified gemologist to ensure they remain in optimal condition.

Buying Tips

When purchasing a star ruby, consider the following tips:

Buy from Reputable Sellers: Purchase from established jewelers or dealers with a track record of selling genuine and ethically sourced gemstones.

Request Certifications: Ask for certifications from reputable gemological laboratories to authenticate the star ruby’s quality and origin.

Examine in Person: Whenever possible, inspect the star ruby in person to assess its beauty, clarity, and star effect.

Consider Your Budget: Set a budget based on your preferences and the quality of star ruby you desire, keeping in mind that higher-quality stones command higher prices.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

When purchasing a star ruby, ensure ethical and legal compliance by:

Conflict-Free Sourcing: Verify that the gemstone has been ethically mined and traded, free from involvement in conflicts or human rights violations.

Certification: Obtain certificates of authenticity and origin to ensure transparency in the gem’s supply chain.

Compliance: Adhere to local and international regulations regarding the trade and import of gemstones, especially those with historical or cultural significance.

By prioritizing ethical sourcing and legal compliance, you can enjoy your star rubies with peace of mind, knowing they have been obtained responsibly and sustainably.

In conclusion, star rubies are not just exquisite adornments but also investments of enduring value and beauty. By understanding their unique characteristics, assessing quality factors, and making informed purchasing decisions, enthusiasts can embark on a journey of appreciating these celestial wonders while contributing to ethical and sustainable practices in the gemstone trade.


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