Home Knowledges The World of Rubies: 10 Types & Varieties

The World of Rubies: 10 Types & Varieties

by Madonna

Rubies, often referred to as the “King of Gemstones,” have fascinated humans for centuries with their striking red color and rich history. These precious gems have been associated with passion, power, and protection. But not all rubies are the same; in fact, there is a wide range of ruby types and varieties, each with its own unique characteristics and origins. In this article, we will delve into the world of rubies and explore the different types and varieties that have captivated gem enthusiasts and collectors worldwide.

1. Natural Ruby

Natural rubies are the purest form of this gemstone, and they are highly sought after for their exceptional beauty and rarity. These rubies are formed deep within the Earth’s crust, typically in marble deposits. The vibrant red color of natural rubies is caused by the presence of chromium in the crystal structure. When light enters the ruby, it interacts with the chromium to produce the stunning red hue.


Natural rubies come in various shades of red, from pinkish-red to deep blood-red. The most valuable natural rubies display a vivid and intense red color, often described as “pigeon’s blood.” These rubies are typically untreated or minimally treated to preserve their natural beauty.


2. Burmese Ruby

Burmese rubies are among the most coveted and legendary in the world of gemstones. These rubies originate from Myanmar (formerly Burma) and are renowned for their exceptional quality and color. The term “pigeon’s blood” was originally coined to describe the deep red hue of Burmese rubies, which is considered the standard of excellence in the industry.


The color of Burmese rubies is often characterized by a rich, vibrant red with a slight bluish undertone. These gemstones are highly valued and can command some of the highest prices in the market. The Mogok Valley in Myanmar is famous for producing some of the finest Burmese rubies in the world.

3. Thai Ruby

Thai rubies, as the name suggests, originate from Thailand. These rubies are known for their vivid, fiery red color and are highly regarded in the world of gemstones. They are often considered a more affordable alternative to Burmese rubies, making them accessible to a broader range of consumers.

While Thai rubies exhibit a brilliant red color, they may sometimes have a slightly pinkish or purplish undertone. This unique coloration is attributed to the presence of iron and vanadium in the gem’s composition. Thai rubies are often used in various types of jewelry, including rings, necklaces, and earrings.

4. Mozambican Ruby

Mozambique has gained recognition in recent years as a significant source of high-quality rubies. Mozambican rubies are known for their excellent color and transparency. They come in various shades of red, from light pinkish-red to deep, vivid red. The quality of Mozambican rubies has made them a popular choice for both jewelry designers and collectors.

What sets Mozambican rubies apart is their strong fluorescence under ultraviolet (UV) light. This unique property can enhance the gem’s brilliance and is a distinctive characteristic of these rubies. Some Mozambican rubies rival Burmese rubies in color and are prized for their overall beauty.

5. African Ruby

African rubies are a collective term used to describe rubies originating from various African countries, including Mozambique, Tanzania, and Madagascar. These rubies can vary significantly in color and quality, but they are known for their unique charm.

Tanzanian rubies, for instance, often exhibit a reddish-pink hue and are generally lighter in color compared to Burmese or Mozambican rubies. Rubies from Madagascar can display a range of colors, including pinkish-red, purplish-red, and orangey-red. The appeal of African rubies lies in their diversity and the opportunity they provide for collectors to find unique and distinctive gemstones.

6. Star Ruby

Star rubies are a captivating variety of rubies known for their asterism, a phenomenon where a star-shaped pattern appears on the surface of the gem when viewed under a direct light source. This optical effect is caused by needle-like inclusions of a mineral called rutile. When these rutile needles are aligned in a specific way, they create a striking star-like pattern, typically with six rays.

Star rubies are highly prized for their visual appeal and are often used in ornamental jewelry, especially as the centerpiece of rings and pendants. The star effect enhances the ruby’s allure and makes it a unique and sought-after gemstone.

7. Pigeon’s Blood Ruby

The term “pigeon’s blood” is often used to describe the finest and most valuable rubies, which typically have a deep, intense red color with a slight bluish undertone. These rubies are often associated with Burmese origin but can come from other sources as well. The name is inspired by the color of a pigeon’s eye, which is said to resemble the vibrant hue of these exceptional gemstones.

Pigeon’s blood rubies are the epitome of ruby quality and desirability. They are incredibly rare, and their deep, fiery red color sets them apart as some of the most sought-after gemstones in the world. The term “pigeon’s blood” is subjective and can vary slightly from one person to another, but it generally refers to the most exquisite and valuable rubies.

See Also: What Is Pigeon Blood Ruby: A Rare & Exquisite Gemstone

8. Ruby Cabochon

A cabochon is a type of cut used for gemstones that features a smooth, polished, and rounded surface without facets. Ruby cabochons are characterized by their distinctive shape and are popular for their unique appeal. This cut allows the gem to display its natural color and internal characteristics without the distraction of facets.

Ruby cabochons are often used in rings, earrings, and pendants. Their smooth, rounded appearance highlights the beauty of the ruby, making it an attractive choice for those who prefer a more classic and timeless look in their jewelry.

9. Synthetic Ruby

In the world of gemstones, synthetic or lab-grown gems have gained popularity as an ethical and more affordable alternative to natural stones. Synthetic rubies are created in laboratories and possess the same chemical composition and physical properties as their natural counterparts.

These lab-grown rubies are typically less expensive than natural rubies and are available in a wide range of qualities and colors. They are often used in jewelry settings and are valued for their eco-friendly and conflict-free origins.

10. Trapiche Ruby

Trapiche rubies are a rare and unique variety of ruby characterized by a fascinating pattern of dark lines or “arms” that radiate from the center of the gem. This pattern is reminiscent of a six-spoked wheel and is created by inclusions of other minerals, such as graphite or hematite, which intersect the ruby’s crystal structure.

These intriguing inclusions give trapiche rubies a one-of-a-kind appearance that sets them apart from other ruby types. While they are not as well-known as other varieties, trapiche rubies have gained a niche following among gem enthusiasts and collectors.

See Also: How to Wear a Ruby Pendant: A Guide to Elegance & Meaning


In the world of gemstones, rubies hold a special place for their stunning beauty and timeless appeal. Understanding the diversity of rubies, from natural Burmese rubies to star rubies and synthetic counterparts, allows buyers to make informed choices based on their preferences and values.

Whether you are drawn to the deep, vibrant red of pigeon’s blood rubies, the captivating star patterns of star rubies, or the affordability of synthetic rubies, there is a ruby variety to suit every taste and budget. The key is to seek out reputable sources, ask for proper documentation, and appreciate the unique qualities that each type of ruby offers.


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