Home Ruby Is Red Beryl a Ruby: Everything You Need To Know

Is Red Beryl a Ruby: Everything You Need To Know

by Madonna

Gemstones have captured the fascination of humanity for millennia. Among the most coveted and renowned gemstones, the ruby holds a special place. Known for its captivating crimson hue and exceptional hardness, the ruby has been treasured throughout history. However, the world of gemstones is not as straightforward as it might seem, and there are several gemstones that can be easily confused with the ruby. One such gemstone is red beryl. In this article, we will delve deep into the world of gemology to explore the key differences between red beryl and ruby, shedding light on their unique characteristics, origins, and value.

The Allure of Rubies

Ruby, derived from the Latin word “ruber,” meaning red, has been a symbol of passion, love, and power for centuries. This precious gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum, exhibits a captivating red hue due to the presence of chromium. Rubies have been highly valued in many cultures and civilizations, from ancient India and Myanmar to modern jewelry markets worldwide. With a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, rubies are among the hardest gemstones, making them ideal for jewelry that can withstand daily wear.


Rubies come in various shades of red, ranging from pinkish-red to deep crimson. The finest rubies are often referred to as “pigeon’s blood” due to their intense, pure red color. The most famous sources of rubies include Myanmar (formerly Burma), Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Madagascar, with each location producing rubies of distinct qualities.


Red Beryl: A Rare and Enigmatic Gem

While rubies enjoy a well-deserved reputation in the world of gemstones, red beryl is a lesser-known but equally enchanting gem. Red beryl, also known as bixbite or red emerald, is a rare variety of beryl—a mineral family that includes emerald, aquamarine, and morganite. What sets red beryl apart is its remarkable red or pinkish-red coloration, often likened to the vibrant hues of a ruby. However, despite their similar appearance, red beryl and ruby are distinct gemstones with unique attributes.


What is the difference between the two?

Here are the differences between ruby and red beryl:

1. The composition and formation of two gemstones

Ruby and red beryl differ significantly in their chemical composition and geological formation. Rubies are composed of aluminum oxide (Al2O3) with traces of chromium (Cr) responsible for their red color. These gemstones are typically formed in metamorphic rock environments under high pressure and temperature conditions, a process that can take millions of years.

On the other hand, red beryl belongs to the beryl mineral group, which consists of beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate (Be3Al2(Si6O18)). Its striking red or pinkish-red coloration results from the presence of manganese (Mn3+) and, in some cases, trace amounts of cesium (Cs+) or lithium (Li+). Red beryl forms in hydrothermal veins within certain types of volcanic rocks, making its geological origin quite distinct from rubies.

2. Color Comparison

The primary reason for the confusion between red beryl and ruby lies in their similar colors. Both gemstones exhibit shades of red, which can make it challenging to differentiate them at a glance. However, a closer examination reveals subtle distinctions. Rubies typically possess a deeper, richer red hue, often described as “pigeon’s blood” or “stoplight” red. In contrast, red beryl tends to display a slightly lighter and pinker tone, which can range from a delicate pink to a vivid red.

While both gemstones can be stunning in their own right, these nuanced differences in color are a key factor in distinguishing between them. Gemologists rely on precise color grading to separate rubies from red beryls, assessing factors like tone, saturation, and hue.

3. Clarity and Transparency

Another aspect to consider when differentiating between red beryl and ruby is their clarity and transparency. Rubies are typically transparent to translucent, with the finest specimens displaying exceptional clarity. In contrast, red beryl is often more included, meaning it contains internal flaws or “inclusions” that can affect its transparency. These inclusions are often the result of fluid and gas-filled cavities within the gemstone.

The inclusions in red beryl can create a unique optical phenomenon known as “horsetail inclusions.” These needle-like inclusions intersect to form a distinct pattern within the gemstone when viewed under a microscope. This phenomenon is not observed in rubies and serves as a clear indicator of red beryl’s identity.

4. Hardness and Durability

One of the fundamental distinctions between ruby and red beryl is their hardness. Ruby, as a variety of corundum, ranks at 9 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, making it exceptionally durable and suitable for various jewelry applications. In contrast, red beryl, with a hardness ranging from 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale, is softer than ruby and can be more susceptible to scratches and damage.

This difference in hardness underscores the importance of proper care for red beryl jewelry to ensure it maintains its luster and beauty over time. Owners of red beryl pieces should take care to protect them from abrasive surfaces and harsh chemicals.

See Also: How Hard Is a Ruby Gemstone: Durability & Mohs Scale Rating

5. Origin and Availability

Another key factor in distinguishing red beryl from ruby is their geographical origin and rarity. As previously mentioned, rubies are found in several regions worldwide, with Myanmar historically being a prominent source of high-quality rubies. Rubies from Myanmar are renowned for their exceptional color and transparency.

In contrast, red beryl is an exceedingly rare gemstone with limited sources. The most well-known source of red beryl is the Wah Wah Mountains in Utah, USA. This remote location produces some of the finest red beryls in the world, although they remain scarce and highly sought after. Other sources of red beryl include Brazil, Madagascar, and Mexico, but the gemstone’s scarcity remains a defining characteristic.

The Value of Red Beryl and Ruby

The value of red beryl and ruby, two exquisite gemstones, hinges on various factors. In rubies, color is paramount; the most prized ones display a pure, intense red often called “pigeon’s blood.” Clarity is another crucial factor, with fewer inclusions indicating higher value. Size matters too; larger rubies command higher prices, and their origin, especially if it’s from renowned sources like Myanmar, can significantly affect their worth.

Red beryl, while similarly assessed for color, clarity, size, and origin, differs in overall rarity. This rarity elevates red beryl’s status, making it highly sought after by collectors. Despite their smaller presence in the gemstone market compared to rubies, red beryls from exceptional sources like the Wah Wah Mountains in Utah can fetch substantial premiums due to their scarcity.

In summary, both rubies and red beryls possess unique qualities that contribute to their value, but rubies, with their historical significance and broader market presence, often command higher prices, while red beryls are prized for their rarity and distinctive charm.

See Also: Is Mahaleo Ruby Valuable: Things You Need To Know

Can red beryl and ruby be worn together?

Red beryl and ruby can be worn together in jewelry pieces, creating a striking and complementary contrast. Their shared reddish tones provide a harmonious base, while their distinct shades and properties add depth and intrigue to the design. Pairing a vibrant red ruby with a softer pinkish-red red beryl can create a visually appealing combination, offering versatility in jewelry options. Whether in earrings, necklaces, or rings, the combination of these gemstones can symbolize love, passion, and elegance, making them an ideal choice for those who appreciate the beauty and symbolism of gemstone jewelry.


In the world of gemstones, the distinction between red beryl and ruby is both fascinating and essential. While their similar colors might lead to confusion, their differences in composition, formation, hardness, and rarity set them apart as distinct gemstones. Rubies, with their deep red hues and renowned origins, hold a cherished place in the realm of precious gems. Red beryls, on the other hand, are rare and alluring in their own right, characterized by their captivating pinkish-red tones and unique geological origins.

Understanding the differences between these gemstones is crucial for gemologists, collectors, and consumers alike. Whether you are in the market for a radiant ruby or an enchanting red beryl, knowing how to discern one from the other will ensure that you acquire a gemstone that meets your expectations and satisfies your passion for these remarkable treasures of the Earth.


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