Known for their durability and beauty alike, it is not surprising that Ruby is a highly coveted gemstone for wedding and engagement rings. Ruby, the birthstone of July, is mesmerizing in appearance and stable in composure – making it an easy choice for a bride or groom that enjoys glamor but also works with their hands. If you’re convinced that Ruby is the stone for you, it is important to be well versed in the mineral itself and all the factors of buying a Ruby embellished ring, ownership, and upkeep.
Ruby is a beautiful gem that has a high refractive index, allowing the lustrous stone to captivate viewers with its tantalizing mystique. Not only is this rare stone absolutely stunning, it is also extremely durable and withstands damage from objects that many other stones can be scratched and damaged by. Rather than overwhelming you with a list of useless knowledge, we will narrow the important factors down to two simple components of Ruby that we find most useful to the average consumer.
Ruby is an incredibly durable stone. On the hardness scale, Ruby sits at a remarkable 9, making it scratch resistant to matters that fall at a lower hardness level than 9. To test the authenticity of your Ruby, scratch the surface with an item that is in the 1-6.5 range of the hardness scale – a fingernail, for example, sits at a low 2 – if your nail leaves a scratch on the Ruby, the stone you’re dealing with isn’t authentic.
If you’re well versed in testing specific gravity, the specific gravity of Ruby is 4. If none of that made sense to you, don’t worry, it doesn’t to the majority of consumers. A quick Google search will turn up easy to follow steps on testing for specific gravity and, if you’re unconvinced as to the authenticity of your stone, they may make for a useful experiment.
Red Red Ruby
Ruby is a type of Corundum – essentially, all red corundum are rubies. In contrast, pink and orange corundum are called padparadscha while any colors that aren’t red, pink or orange are called sapphires.
The word Ruby itself is derived from the latin term Ruber, which translates to “red”. The most desired ruby comes in a deep red hue, comparable to a cherry or pomegranate, with purple secondary colors. A ruby that is too light or too saturated isn’t as valuable.
Ruby enhancements are pretty common and can dramatically decrease the value of your stone – as such, it is important to be informed of the various types of enhancements performed on rubies.
The most common enhancement is heat treatment – this enhancement aims to make the ruby’s color more vivid. Heat treatment has little effect on the ruby itself, and thus, barely tips the cost of the stone.
Unlike heat treatment, fillers can dramatically decrease the value of your gem. Fillers are used to mask the defects of imperfect rubies through filling abrasions and blemishes with a foreign substance such as glass or lead.
Dying and irradiating the ruby are additional methods by which the color of the stone can be enhanced. Unlike heat treatment, dying and irradiating the stone results in a demand for more careful handling of the stone and negates the durability that so many find to be a deciding attribute of Ruby – as a result, dying and irradiating a ruby decreases the value of the stone exponentially.
Another way to enhance the color of a ruby is through surface diffusion. Surface diffusion has minimal effect on the quality of the stone itself but the process still decreases the value of the stone itself.
The Cost of Beauty
Ruby, though stunning and durable, isn’t the most affordable stone on the market. A quality Ruby will sell for approximately $1,000.00/carat, but this can waver in either direction based on the cut, color, carat and clarity of the stone.
Large Rubies are relatively rare, so a larger carat will cost more per carat – a ruby that’s larger than 1 carat can cost anywhere from $3,000 per carat to $25,000 per carat.
Clarity will also alter the value of a ruby. All rubies have minor inclusions within the gem – this is so much a staple of the stone that even synthetic rubies have added inclusions to make them appear more real. Small inclusions do not have an effect on the cost of the stone – big inclusions, however, can decrease the value of a ruby.
If you like the appearance of the ruby but are unable to pay the price associated with them, you have options. One option is to buy an imitation stone that looks like a ruby – these include red spinels, red garnets and colored glass. You also have the option of purchasing synthetic rubies – these might be labeled as “laboratory grown” or “laboratory created”. Both imitations and synthetic rubies will costs a fraction of the high price tag associated with these stones.
Taking Care of Rubies
The Ruby is an extremely durable stone that demands little to no special care as long as it’s not enhanced in a manner that says otherwise.
It is important to remember that Ruby can be scratched by matters that hold a hardness level of 9 or higher so it is smart to store your beautiful gem encrusted ring in a secured box, pouch, or away from any diamonds or products that may flaw the stone.
As with any fine stone, it is recommended to remove your ring prior to exposing your hands to harsh household chemicals or chlorinated pools.
Am I ready to buy?
Absolutely! But we’d like to reiterate some key facts before you’re on your way.
1. The best color for Ruby is a deep pomegranate like red – while lighter or darker rubies are also appealing to look at, they should cost substantially less than deep red gems.
2. If a Ruby ring looks more vibrant than the other displays but costs less, ask questions. This stone may have been treated to hide imperfections and, as a side-effect, became more vibrant. The vibrancy won’t last long, the imperfections in your stone are forever.
3. When buying a used or antique gem, make sure to get it inspected by a certified gemologist for imperfections that may not be visible to the naked eye. When buying a Ruby and diamond ring, be vocal in wanting certifications on the diamonds that you’re buying.
4. For the best bang for your buck on Ruby rings, buy from reputable jewellers.
Now that the pertinent information has been addressed – here are some fun facts pertaining to this glorious stone.
- The Sunrise Ruby is the most expensive Ruby in the world and was sold at a Swiss auction to an anonymous buyer for $30 million.
- In China, rubies were often laid beneath the foundation of buildings to secure good fortune to the structure.
- Ruby is one of the four precious stones – the other three are sapphire, diamond and emerald.
- Of all the colored stones – Ruby commands the highest dollar per carat.