Home Ruby What Does Treated Ruby Mean: The Secrets of Enhanced Gemstones

What Does Treated Ruby Mean: The Secrets of Enhanced Gemstones

by Madonna

Rubies have long held a special place in the world of gemstones. Their fiery red hue and exceptional brilliance have made them a symbol of love, passion, and power. However, not all rubies are created equal. Some undergo treatments to enhance their appearance and value. In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the fascinating world of treated rubies, exploring what they are, why they are treated, and the various treatment methods employed. By the end, you will have a thorough understanding of treated rubies and be better equipped to make informed decisions when purchasing these mesmerizing gemstones.

Introduction to Rubies

Before we dive into the intricacies of treated rubies, let’s start by understanding what rubies are in their natural state. Rubies are a variety of the mineral corundum, with their rich red color attributed to the presence of chromium. They are one of the four precious gemstones, along with diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds.


Rubies have been cherished for centuries, with their history dating back to ancient civilizations like the Burmese and Indian cultures. They were believed to possess mystical powers and were associated with attributes like protection, passion, and vitality. Their allure remains undiminished to this day, and they continue to be highly sought-after in the world of jewelry.


Treated Rubies: What Are They?

Treated rubies, as the name suggests, are natural rubies that have undergone various treatments to enhance their color, clarity, and overall appearance. These treatments are carried out to improve the gemstone’s market value and make it more appealing to consumers. It’s essential to note that treating rubies is a common practice in the gemstone industry, and many treated rubies are available on the market.


Why Are Rubies Treated?

The treatment of rubies serves several purposes, primarily aimed at enhancing their visual appeal and value. Here are some key reasons why rubies undergo treatment:

1. Enhancing Color

The most common reason for treating rubies is to enhance their color. Natural rubies may have uneven color distribution or exhibit a brownish tint, which can significantly reduce their desirability and value. Treatment methods can help intensify the red hue and remove undesirable color tones, making the ruby appear more vibrant and valuable.

2. Improving Clarity

Natural rubies often contain internal imperfections, known as inclusions, which can affect their transparency and brilliance. Treatments can help reduce the visibility of these inclusions, improving the gem’s overall clarity and visual appeal.

3. Increasing Transparency

Some rubies may appear cloudy due to microscopic rutile needles or other mineral inclusions. Treatment methods can mitigate this cloudiness, making the ruby more transparent and enhancing its beauty.

4. Reducing Rutile Silk

Rutile silk is a natural feature in many rubies and can give them a silky appearance. While some collectors appreciate this silkiness, others prefer a cleaner look. Treatment can help minimize the rutile silk, providing a more polished appearance to the gem.

5. Market Demand

The demand for rubies with specific characteristics, such as a vivid red color and excellent clarity, is high in the gemstone market. Treating rubies allows gemstone dealers to meet this demand and offer a wider range of products to consumers.

6. Cost-Effectiveness

Treated rubies are often more affordable than their untreated counterparts with similar visual qualities. This affordability makes them accessible to a broader range of buyers.

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

Common Treatment Methods for Rubies

Now that we understand why rubies are treated let’s delve into the various treatment methods commonly employed in the gemstone industry. Each method serves a specific purpose and can have a significant impact on the final appearance of the ruby.

1. Heat Treatment

Heat treatment is perhaps the most widely used and accepted method for enhancing the color and clarity of rubies. In this process, the ruby is subjected to high temperatures, typically in the range of 1,800 to 2,200 degrees Celsius. This intense heat can alter the arrangement of atoms within the gem, leading to the following improvements:

a. Color Enhancement: Heat treatment can intensify the red color of rubies by dissolving or altering certain chemical impurities. It is especially effective in reducing the brownish or purplish tones that may be present in natural rubies.

b. Clarity Improvement: The heat can heal fractures and fissures within the ruby, making it appear clearer and more transparent.

c. Rutile Silk Reduction: Heat treatment can also reduce the visibility of rutile silk, giving the ruby a smoother appearance.

2. Glass Filling

Glass filling, also known as fracture filling, is a treatment method primarily used to improve the clarity of rubies. In this process, fractures and cavities within the gemstone are filled with lead glass or other substances that have a refractive index similar to that of the ruby. This filling masks the imperfections and enhances the gem’s overall transparency.

While glass filling can dramatically improve the visual appearance of rubies, it is crucial to note that it is considered a less permanent treatment compared to heat treatment. Over time, the glass filler may degrade or develop a cloudy appearance, requiring re-treatment.

3. Diffusion Treatment

Diffusion treatment involves the introduction of specific elements, such as beryllium or titanium, into the surface of the ruby. These elements can penetrate the gem’s lattice structure and alter its color. The result is often a ruby with a more vibrant hue, although the color change may be limited to the surface layers.

Diffusion-treated rubies are sometimes referred to as “composite rubies” because they consist of a natural ruby core with a treated surface layer. This method is generally less accepted than heat treatment, and disclosure is crucial when selling diffusion-treated rubies.

4. Irradiation

Irradiation is a treatment method that involves exposing rubies to high-energy radiation. This process can alter the color of the gemstone by changing the arrangement of its atoms. While irradiation can produce striking color changes, it is not as commonly used on rubies as it is on other gemstones like blue topaz.

Benefits of Treating Rubies

The treatment of rubies can yield several benefits, both for consumers and the gemstone industry:

1. Enhanced Color:

Heat treatment can transform a lackluster ruby into one with a more desirable, vibrant red color, increasing its market value.

2. Improved Clarity:

Filling and fracture-filling treatments can significantly enhance a ruby’s clarity by reducing the visibility of internal flaws and fractures.

3. Wider Range of Colors:

Diffusion treatment can introduce a variety of colors, expanding the range of options available to consumers.

4. Affordability:

Treated rubies are often more affordable than their untreated counterparts, making them accessible to a broader range of buyers.

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Considerations When Purchasing Treated Rubies

While treated rubies offer several advantages, buyers should exercise caution and consider certain factors when purchasing these gemstones:

1. Disclosure:

Reputable jewelers and dealers should always disclose any treatments that a ruby has undergone. Transparency is crucial in ensuring that buyers make informed decisions.

2. Durability:

Some treatments, such as fracture filling, can make the ruby less durable. Buyers should be aware of the gemstone’s specific care requirements.

3. Value:

Treated rubies are generally less valuable than untreated, natural rubies. Buyers should compare prices and consider their budget when making a purchase.

Ethical Considerations in Ruby Treatments

Ethical considerations in ruby treatments encompass disclosure of treatments, responsible sourcing to prevent environmental and labor exploitation, seeking certifications for transparency, and supporting jewelers committed to ethical practices. Prioritizing these factors ensures that the purchase of treated rubies aligns with ethical values and contributes positively to the gemstone industry, safeguarding both the environment and human rights.

Conclusion: The Beauty of Treated Rubies

In the end, the term “treated ruby” encapsulates a world of possibilities. These gemstones may have undergone enhancements, but their innate charm remains, and they continue to symbolize love, passion, and beauty. As you embark on your journey to find the perfect ruby, armed with knowledge and discernment, you can truly appreciate the allure and magnificence of these timeless treasures. So, whether it’s a pigeon’s blood red or a stunningly unique color, the beauty of treated rubies is yours to discover and cherish for generations to come.


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