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Myths About Rubies You Shouldn’t Believe

by Madonna

Rubies, with their fiery red hue and captivating brilliance, have long been objects of fascination and desire. They are among the most valuable and revered gemstones, often associated with love, passion, and power. However, like many other precious stones, rubies are surrounded by myths and misconceptions that can mislead buyers and enthusiasts alike. In this article, we will debunk some of the most common myths about rubies, providing you with clear, accurate, and well-reasoned information.

Myth 1: All Red Gemstones Are Rubies

One of the most pervasive myths is that any red gemstone is a ruby. This is far from the truth. While rubies are renowned for their deep red color, not all red gemstones are rubies. Other red stones, such as garnets, spinels, and even some red sapphires, can be easily mistaken for rubies by the untrained eye.


Understanding Ruby’s Unique Characteristics

Rubies belong to the corundum family, which also includes sapphires. The red color in rubies is due to the presence of chromium. Genuine rubies exhibit a specific range of red hues, from pinkish-red to a vivid, almost blood-red color known as “pigeon’s blood.” Garnets and spinels, though beautiful, have different chemical compositions and physical properties. For example, garnets are silicate minerals, and spinels are magnesium aluminum oxides, whereas rubies are aluminum oxides.


Myth 2: Rubies Are Indestructible

Rubies are indeed very hard, ranking 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, just below diamonds. However, this does not make them indestructible. Rubies can still be damaged by impact or exposure to harsh chemicals.


Care and Maintenance of Rubies

To maintain their beauty and integrity, rubies should be handled with care. Avoid wearing ruby jewelry during activities that involve rough handling or exposure to chemicals. Cleaning rubies with a soft brush and mild soapy water is usually sufficient. Ultrasonic cleaners and steamers can be used, but they should be avoided if the ruby has been fracture-filled or treated in other ways.

Myth 3: All Rubies Come From Burma

Historically, Burma (now Myanmar) has been known for producing some of the finest rubies, often referred to as Burmese rubies. These stones are celebrated for their exceptional color and quality. However, rubies are found in several other countries, including Thailand, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and Mozambique.

Global Ruby Sources

Each ruby-producing region has its unique characteristics. For instance, Thai rubies often have a deeper, more garnet-like red, while Sri Lankan rubies can exhibit a range of colors from pinkish-red to violet-red. Rubies from Mozambique are gaining popularity due to their vibrant color and high quality. Understanding the origin of a ruby can provide insights into its color, clarity, and value, but it does not solely determine its quality.

Myth 4: Synthetic Rubies Are Not Real Rubies

The term “synthetic” often carries a negative connotation, leading to the misconception that synthetic rubies are fake. In reality, synthetic rubies have the same chemical composition and physical properties as natural rubies. They are created in a laboratory rather than formed naturally over millions of years.

The Role of Synthetic Rubies

Synthetic rubies play a significant role in both the gemstone and industrial markets. They offer an affordable alternative for those who desire the beauty of rubies without the high cost. Additionally, they are used in various industrial applications, such as in lasers and watches, where their hardness and optical properties are highly valued. It’s essential to differentiate between synthetic rubies and imitations or simulants, which may look similar but lack the true properties of rubies.

Myth 5: Darker Rubies Are Always More Valuable

The value of a ruby is influenced by several factors, including color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. While color is a significant factor, darker does not necessarily mean more valuable. The most prized rubies exhibit a vibrant, intense red color with a slight bluish hue, known as “pigeon’s blood.”

Evaluating Ruby Color

Color saturation and hue are critical in determining a ruby’s value. A ruby that is too dark may appear blackish and lose its brilliance, while a ruby that is too light may be classified as pink sapphire rather than ruby. The ideal ruby color is a matter of balance, with the most valuable rubies displaying a rich, vivid red that glows with intensity.

Myth 6: Rubies Are Only Red

While red is the defining color of rubies, corundum, the mineral family to which rubies belong, comes in a variety of colors. When corundum is not red, it is classified as sapphire. This means that rubies and sapphires are essentially the same mineral, distinguished only by their color.

The Color Spectrum of Corundum

Sapphires can be blue, yellow, green, pink, purple, and even colorless. The presence of trace elements like iron, titanium, and chromium causes the color variations. Rubies are specifically the red variety of corundum, with chromium being the primary coloring agent. This unique relationship between rubies and sapphires adds to the allure and complexity of these gemstones.

Myth 7: All Rubies Are Treated

Many rubies on the market undergo treatments to enhance their color and clarity. Common treatments include heat treatment and fracture filling with lead glass. However, not all rubies are treated, and untreated rubies, especially those of high quality, can be extremely valuable.

Understanding Ruby Treatments

Heat treatment is a widely accepted practice that can improve the color and clarity of a ruby. This process mimics the natural conditions under which rubies form, resulting in a more appealing gemstone. Fracture filling, on the other hand, involves filling surface-reaching fractures with glass or another material to improve the ruby’s appearance. It’s essential for buyers to be aware of these treatments and seek certification from reputable gemological laboratories to ensure transparency.

Myth 8: Bigger Rubies Are Always Better

While large rubies can be impressive and valuable, size is not the only determinant of a ruby’s worth. A smaller ruby with exceptional color and clarity can be more valuable than a larger ruby with poor color or numerous inclusions.

Balancing Size with Quality

When evaluating rubies, it’s crucial to consider the “four Cs” – color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. Each of these factors contributes to the overall beauty and value of the stone. A well-cut ruby with a vibrant color and minimal inclusions will often be more desirable than a larger ruby that lacks these qualities. It’s about finding the right balance between size and quality to appreciate the ruby’s true value.

Myth 9: Rubies Have Magical Powers

Throughout history, rubies have been attributed with various magical and mystical properties. They were believed to protect their owners from harm, bring good fortune, and even cure ailments. While these beliefs add to the allure of rubies, they are based on folklore rather than scientific evidence.

The Symbolism of Rubies

Rubies are indeed powerful symbols of love, passion, and vitality. Their vibrant red color has long been associated with the heart and blood, symbolizing life and energy. While they may not possess magical powers, their symbolic significance and emotional impact are undeniable. Wearing a ruby can evoke a sense of strength and confidence, which is why they remain a popular choice for jewelry and talismans.

See Also: Is Ruby Stone Good For Aries?

Myth 10: Rubies Are Out of Reach for Most People

While high-quality rubies can be expensive, there are rubies available to suit a range of budgets. Factors such as origin, treatment, and quality all influence the price, allowing buyers to find rubies that match their financial constraints.

Affordable Ruby Options

For those on a budget, synthetic rubies or treated natural rubies can offer the beauty of rubies without the high cost. Additionally, smaller rubies or those with slight inclusions can be more affordable while still providing the captivating allure of these gemstones. It’s important to work with a reputable jeweler who can help you navigate the options and find a ruby that fits both your taste and budget.


Rubies are fascinating gemstones with a rich history and enduring allure. However, it’s crucial to separate fact from fiction when it comes to these precious stones. By understanding the true nature of rubies, their origins, treatments, and characteristics, you can make informed decisions and appreciate the real beauty and value of these magnificent gems. Whether you’re a seasoned gem enthusiast or a novice buyer, debunking these myths will enhance your appreciation and enjoyment of rubies.


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