Home Ruby Determining the Best Ruby: Things You Need To Know

Determining the Best Ruby: Things You Need To Know

by Madonna

Rubies, often referred to as the “King of Gemstones,” have captivated humanity for centuries with their deep red hues and mystical allure. Rubies are esteemed for their symbolism of love, passion, and power, making them a highly sought-after gemstone. However, not all rubies are created equal. This article aims to unravel the mysteries of rubies, guide you through the key factors to consider when choosing the best ruby gemstone, and provide insights into their qualities, origins, and the importance of certification.

The Significance of Ruby Gemstones

Before delving into the qualities that make one ruby better than another, it’s important to understand the significance and historical context of these beautiful gemstones.


1. Historical and Cultural Significance

Rubies have a rich history, revered in various cultures. In ancient times, they were considered the “King of Precious Stones” in Hinduism and believed to hold the power to protect against evil. They were also associated with love and passion, making them a popular choice for engagement and anniversary rings. The captivating red hue of the ruby represents the heart’s desire and the eternal flame of love.


2. Symbolism of Power and Authority

Throughout history, rubies have adorned royalty and dignitaries as symbols of authority and power. They were set in crowns, scepters, and regal jewelry, signifying wisdom, wealth, and divine protection.


3. Healing and Metaphysical Properties

In the world of crystal healing, rubies are believed to stimulate the root chakra, promoting feelings of stability and security. They are thought to enhance courage, self-confidence, and vitality.

With their historical, cultural, and metaphysical significance, rubies have earned their place as one of the most cherished gemstones. When selecting a ruby, it’s crucial to choose one that aligns with your intentions, preferences, and values.

See Aso: 6 Ruby Engagement Ring Symbolisms: A Full Guide

Factors That Determine the Best Ruby Gemstone

Choosing the best ruby gemstone involves considering several key factors. These factors collectively determine the quality, beauty, and value of a ruby. Let’s explore each of them in detail.

1. Color: The Most Important Factor

The color of a ruby is the single most important factor in determining its quality and value. The ideal ruby color is often described as “pigeon’s blood red.” This term signifies a rich, pure red hue with just a hint of blue, reminiscent of the color of arterial blood. Rubies with this color are the most highly prized and valuable.

The key aspects of color to consider include:

a. Hue: The primary color of the ruby. It should be a pure red with no overtone of orange or purple.

b. Saturation: The intensity of the red color. Higher saturation results in a more vibrant and valuable ruby.

c. Tone: The lightness or darkness of the red color. The ideal tone is medium to medium-dark.

When assessing the color of a ruby, it’s essential to examine it in various lighting conditions, as the color can appear different under different sources of light.

2. Clarity: The Presence of Inclusions

Clarity refers to the presence of inclusions or imperfections within the ruby. Inclusions are tiny internal or external flaws that can affect the gem’s transparency and overall beauty. While many rubies have inclusions, they do not necessarily diminish the gem’s value if they are not visible to the naked eye.

Common types of inclusions in rubies include needle-like inclusions, silk (fine needle-like inclusions), and rutile (silk with a golden appearance). Clarity grades for rubies are:

a. Flawless: No inclusions visible under 10x magnification.
VVS (Very, Very Slightly Included): Tiny inclusions that are difficult to see under 10x magnification.

b. VS (Very Slightly Included): Minor inclusions that are somewhat easy to see under 10x magnification.

c. SI (Slightly Included): Noticeable inclusions that may be visible to the naked eye.

d. I (Included): Obvious inclusions that are visible to the naked eye.
The choice of clarity grade depends on your personal preferences and budget. Some individuals prefer higher clarity, while others prioritize the other Cs (color and carat weight).

3. Carat Weight: The Size of the Ruby

Carat weight measures the size of a ruby, with one carat equal to 200 milligrams. Larger rubies are rarer and, all else being equal, more valuable. However, it’s important to note that a larger ruby with lower color and clarity can be less valuable than a smaller one with exceptional color and clarity.

When choosing a carat weight, consider your budget and your desire for size versus the other quality factors.

4. Cut: The Importance of Precision

The cut of a ruby significantly influences its beauty and overall appearance. A well-cut ruby should showcase the gem’s color and maximize its brilliance. The cut should be precise, with facets that reflect light and enhance the stone’s natural luster.

Common ruby cuts include oval, round, cushion, and pear. The choice of cut depends on your style preferences and the design of the jewelry.

5. Origin: The Influence of Geographic Source

The geographical source of a ruby can affect its value and desirability. Some of the most famous sources for rubies include:

a. Burmese Rubies (Myanmar): Historically, Burmese rubies have been highly prized for their vivid, pure red color. However, political and ethical considerations may affect their availability.

b. Mozambique Rubies: Mozambique has become an important source of rubies in recent years, known for producing rubies with excellent color and clarity.

c. Sri Lankan (Ceylon) Rubies: Sri Lankan rubies are valued for their lighter, pinkish-red hues, and they often have a sapphire-like appearance.

The geographic origin can add a layer of uniqueness and mystique to a ruby but does not necessarily determine its quality. Factors such as color, clarity, and carat weight still play a more significant role in determining a ruby’s overall value.

6. Treatment: Enhancing the Gem

Many rubies undergo heat treatment to improve their color and clarity. This treatment is widely accepted within the industry, as it is considered a standard practice. Heat treatment can enhance the beauty of a ruby, making it more vibrant and valuable.

However, other treatments, such as fracture filling or lattice diffusion, can significantly affect a ruby’s value and should be disclosed by the seller. When purchasing a ruby, it’s important to inquire about any treatments it may have undergone and ensure full transparency.

7. Certification: The Importance of Documentation

When investing in a valuable ruby gemstone, it’s crucial to obtain a reputable gemological certificate. Gemological laboratories, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the International Gemological Institute (IGI), provide detailed reports that assess a ruby’s qualities, including color, clarity, carat weight, and any treatments it may have undergone.

A certificate not only provides confidence in the quality of the ruby but also aids in the gem’s provenance and can be essential for insurance purposes.

Ruby Varieties and Their Unique Qualities

Beyond the standard factors that determine the quality of a ruby, there are specific varieties of rubies that have their unique characteristics and desirability. Let’s explore some of these varieties:

1. Pigeon’s Blood Ruby: The Epitome of Quality

As mentioned earlier, the term “pigeon’s blood” describes the most desirable and valuable ruby color—a rich, pure red with a slight bluish undertone. Pigeon’s blood rubies are exceptionally rare and highly sought after by collectors and connoisseurs. Their vivid, intense color sets them apart as the epitome of ruby quality.

2. Star Ruby: A Unique Phenomenon

Star rubies are characterized by a distinct optical phenomenon called asterism. When illuminated, these rubies display a star-shaped pattern on the surface, typically with six rays. Star rubies are prized for their rarity and uniqueness, and the value of a star ruby is influenced by the strength and clarity of the star pattern.

3. Burmese Ruby: A Historical Legacy

Burmese rubies have a long history of desirability due to their reputation for exceptional color quality. The Mogok region in Burma (Myanmar) has produced some of the world’s most famous rubies, known for their intense red hue. However, obtaining Burmese rubies may be challenging due to political and ethical concerns associated with the region.

4. Thai Ruby: Colorful and Attractive

Thailand, particularly the Chanthaburi region, is known for producing rubies with a range of colors, including bright red, pinkish-red, and reddish-orange hues. Thai rubies are prized for their vibrant and attractive colors.

See Aso: 6 Countries Produce The Best Sapphires: A Full Guide

Synthetic and Treated Rubies

In addition to natural rubies, there are synthetic and treated rubies in the market. Understanding the difference is crucial when making a purchase.

1. Synthetic Rubies: Man-Made Beauties

Synthetic rubies, also known as lab-created or cultured rubies, are created in a laboratory using similar mineral composition and physical properties as natural rubies. While synthetic rubies lack the rarity and historical significance of natural stones, they are more affordable and still exhibit remarkable beauty. They are an ethical and sustainable alternative to natural rubies.

2. Treated Rubies: Enhancing Natural Beauty

As mentioned earlier, many natural rubies undergo heat treatment to improve their color and clarity. This treatment is a standard practice and is widely accepted in the industry. However, some rubies may undergo less common treatments, such as fracture filling or lattice diffusion, to enhance their appearance. Buyers should be aware of these treatments and inquire about them when purchasing a ruby.

Investing in Ruby Gemstones

Rubies, with their historical significance and timeless beauty, can also serve as investment assets. However, investing in gemstones requires careful consideration and due diligence.

Here are some factors to keep in mind when considering ruby gemstones as an investment:

1. Rarity and Quality:

The most valuable rubies are those that are rare, possess exceptional color, and have minimal treatments. Pigeon’s blood rubies with excellent clarity and larger carat weights are prime candidates for investment.

2. Certification:

Always invest in certified rubies from reputable gemological laboratories. The certification provides an unbiased assessment of the gem’s qualities and provenance.

3. Market Trends:

Stay informed about the trends and fluctuations in the ruby market. Historical auction prices and market reports can provide valuable insights.

4. Storage and Security:

Ensure that you have proper storage facilities and security measures in place to protect your investment in rubies. Consider insurance to safeguard your assets.

5. Diversification:

Like any investment, diversification is crucial. Consider a balanced portfolio that includes various assets to spread risk.


Selecting the best ruby gemstone involves a careful consideration of its color, clarity, carat weight, cut, origin, treatment, and certification. These factors collectively determine the quality and value of a ruby. The most highly prized rubies, such as pigeon’s blood rubies, possess a deep red hue with a slight bluish undertone and exceptional clarity.

Understanding the significance of ruby varieties, such as star rubies, Burmese rubies, and Thai rubies, adds depth to your knowledge of these captivating gemstones. Additionally, recognizing the difference between natural, synthetic, and treated rubies is essential when making a purchase.

For those interested in investing in ruby gemstones, careful consideration of rarity, quality, market trends, storage, and diversification is necessary. Whether you seek a ruby for its symbolism, beauty, or potential as an investment asset, the process of choosing the best ruby can be a rewarding and enlightening journey into the world of gemstones.


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