Home Knowledges How Can You Tell a Burmese Ruby: A Comprehensive Guide

How Can You Tell a Burmese Ruby: A Comprehensive Guide

by Madonna

Rubies are among the most sought-after gemstones in the world, renowned for their rich red color and rarity. Among the various types of rubies available, Burmese rubies hold a special place due to their exceptional color and quality. Recognizing a true Burmese ruby is crucial for gemstone enthusiasts and collectors. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the distinctive features that set Burmese rubies apart, from their origin to the 4 Cs and identification methods.

1. Understanding the Origin

One of the primary factors that distinguish a Burmese ruby from others is its origin. Burmese rubies, as the name suggests, originate from Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. The Mogok Valley and the Mong Hsu region are renowned for producing some of the finest Burmese rubies. These regions have a long history of ruby mining and are often associated with the most coveted specimens.


See Also: The Ruby Gemstone: A Comprehensive Exploration


2. Color: The Key Indicator

The most striking feature of Burmese rubies is their vivid red color. The classic Burmese ruby hue is often described as “pigeon’s blood red.” This distinctive color is a result of a combination of factors, including the presence of chromium and iron. When you examine a Burmese ruby, look for the following characteristics:


a. Deep Red Hue: Burmese rubies exhibit a deep, intense red hue. This color is often described as “stoplight red” due to its vibrant, traffic-light-like redness.

b. No Brown or Purple Undertones: A true Burmese ruby should not display any brown or purple undertones. The color should be pure red without any secondary shades.

c. Fluorescence: Burmese rubies may exhibit a strong red fluorescence under ultraviolet light, adding to their allure.

See Also: The Spectrum of Ruby Colors: From Blood Red to Pink

3. Clarity: Inclusions and Enhancements

The clarity of a Burmese ruby is another important factor in identifying its authenticity. Unlike some other gemstones, rubies often contain inclusions. Burmese rubies, however, are known for having fewer inclusions compared to rubies from other sources. To identify a Burmese ruby based on clarity, consider the following:

a. Fewer Inclusions: Authentic Burmese rubies typically have fewer visible inclusions, and the inclusions they do have are often less prominent.

b. Silk Inclusions: Some Burmese rubies may contain fine, needle-like inclusions known as “silk.” These inclusions can create a soft, hazy appearance within the gem, adding to their unique character.

c. No Heat Treatment: High-quality Burmese rubies are often left untreated, which is another indicator of their authenticity. Heat-treated rubies may have their color enhanced or inclusions minimized, but untreated Burmese rubies maintain their natural beauty.

4. Carat Weight: Size Matters

The size of a ruby, measured in carats, is a crucial factor in determining its value and authenticity. Larger Burmese rubies are rarer and more valuable. However, it is essential to note that size alone is not sufficient to confirm the authenticity of a Burmese ruby. Genuine Burmese rubies can vary in size, so consider the following:

a. Larger Sizes: While Burmese rubies can be found in various sizes, those with larger carat weights are particularly prized. The Mogok Valley, in particular, has produced some exceptional large rubies.

b. Accompanied by Other Characteristics: Size should be considered in conjunction with other characteristics, such as color, clarity, and origin, to confirm the authenticity of a Burmese ruby.

5. Cut: Faceting Excellence

The cut of a Burmese ruby plays a significant role in enhancing its beauty. A well-cut Burmese ruby should maximize its color and brilliance. When evaluating the cut of a Burmese ruby, look for the following:

a. Evenly Distributed Color: The ruby’s cut should ensure that its red color is evenly distributed throughout the gem, with no areas that appear overly dark or light.

b. Symmetry and Proportions: The gem should exhibit excellent symmetry and proportions. A well-cut Burmese ruby will display the perfect balance of facets and a pleasing shape.

6. Certification: Gemological Reports

To confidently identify a Burmese ruby, consider obtaining a gemological report from a reputable laboratory. These reports provide detailed information about the ruby’s characteristics, including its origin, color, clarity, and any treatments it may have undergone. Reputable laboratories like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the International Gemological Institute (IGI) can provide such certifications.

7. Seek Expert Opinions

When in doubt, it is wise to consult with experienced gemologists or jewelers who specialize in rubies. They can use their expertise and specialized equipment to analyze and confirm the authenticity of a Burmese ruby. Their insights can be invaluable in ensuring you are purchasing a genuine Burmese ruby.

8. Market Value and Pricing

Burmese rubies are highly sought after in the gemstone market, and their prices can be substantial, particularly for top-quality specimens. The value of a Burmese ruby is influenced by several factors, including its size, color, clarity, and origin.

To get an accurate assessment of the market value and pricing, it is advisable to consult with reputable gemstone dealers or conduct research on recent sales and auction prices. Keep in mind that market values can fluctuate over time, so it’s essential to stay informed about the latest trends and developments in the gemstone market.

9. Legal and Ethical Considerations

In recent years, ethical concerns have arisen regarding the sourcing of Burmese rubies. Myanmar has faced political and humanitarian challenges, and some have raised ethical questions about the ruby trade in the country. It is crucial for buyers to be aware of these issues and consider the ethical implications when purchasing Burmese rubies. Ensure that your ruby has been sourced responsibly and that you have the necessary documentation to prove its legitimacy.

See Also: Are Burmese Rubies the Best: All You Need To Know


Identifying a genuine Burmese ruby is a combination of understanding its origin, evaluating its color, clarity, carat weight, cut, and seeking expert opinions and gemological certifications. The rich red hue, often referred to as “pigeon’s blood red,” is a defining characteristic of these exceptional gemstones. While Burmese rubies are highly coveted for their beauty and rarity, it is essential to consider ethical and legal considerations when purchasing them. Always buy from reputable sources and ensure the gem’s authenticity through proper documentation and expert guidance. With the information and guidelines provided in this comprehensive guide, you are better equipped to identify a true Burmese ruby and appreciate its unparalleled beauty.

FAQs – How Can You Tell a Burmese Ruby

1. Is color the only indicator of a Burmese ruby?

No, while color is a primary indicator, it is not the only one. Other factors like origin, clarity, carat weight, and the presence of inclusions (such as silk inclusions) also play a role in identifying Burmese rubies.

2. Are all Burmese rubies untreated?

High-quality Burmese rubies are often left untreated to preserve their natural beauty. However, it’s essential to have a gemological report or consult with an expert to confirm whether a ruby has undergone any treatments.

3. Do all Burmese rubies exhibit fluorescence?

While many Burmese rubies may exhibit strong red fluorescence under ultraviolet light, it is not a strict requirement for their authenticity. Fluorescence can vary, and some Burmese rubies may not display this characteristic.

4. What is the significance of “pigeon’s blood red” color in Burmese rubies?

“Pigeon’s blood red” is a term used to describe the most desirable and valuable red hue in Burmese rubies. It is a vibrant, traffic-light-like red color with no brown or purple undertones.

5. How do I ensure the ethical sourcing of Burmese rubies?

Ethical concerns have arisen regarding the ruby trade in Myanmar. To ensure ethical sourcing, buy from reputable and responsible sources. Look for documentation that confirms the gem’s legitimacy and consult with experts who are knowledgeable about ethical considerations in the gemstone trade.

6. What should I consider when purchasing a Burmese ruby as an investment?

When purchasing a Burmese ruby as an investment, consider factors such as origin, color, clarity, and size. Stay informed about market trends and fluctuations in value. Consulting with gemstone dealers and conducting thorough research can help you make a wise investment.

7. Are Burmese rubies the most valuable rubies?

Burmese rubies are among the most valuable due to their exceptional color and origin. However, the value of any ruby is influenced by various factors, and other high-quality rubies from different sources can also be valuable.

8. Are there any synthetic or imitation Burmese rubies in the market?

Yes, synthetic or imitation Burmese rubies exist, and some of them can closely mimic the appearance of natural Burmese rubies. To avoid purchasing a fake, always buy from reputable sources, seek expert opinions, and request gemological certifications for authenticity.


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