Ruby Gemstone & Jewelry Buying Guide

Considered ‘King of Precious Gemstones’, gem grade rubies are the most expensive of precious colored gemstones.

Best and most desirable rubies, generally found in layers in marbles, come from Burma. Burmese rubies usually contain red fluorescence which contribute to their red color intensity and hence value. Rubies from other parts of the world, are found in volcanic rocks containing iron, which makes the ruby appear darker and less intense in color. Keep in mind value of a ruby is always measured based on its quality characteristics and not the location where it comes from.

Technical Specs

Ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum. Chromium is the element which causes the colorless corundum become red in color. Red intensity of ruby depends on amount of its chromium content. Ruby’s chemical formula is Al2O3 , its refractive index ranges 1.762 to 1.770, birefringence range of 0.008 to 0.010, specific gravity of 4.00 (+/- 0.05) and its MOHS hardness is 9.


Just as with the other two most popular precious colored gemstones: sapphire and emerald, color is the most important factor in determining value of a ruby. Best quality rubies have a rich, vibrant  red color commonly referred to as ‘pigeon blood’. As the ruby’s color tone becomes pinkish or purplish, it’s value drops.

The heat-treated rubies (see VRL# 87151) (2.03–2.50 ct) are reportedly from Lichinga, Mozambique. The unheated rubies (see VRL # 87149) are a mixture of stones (1.07–4.62 ct) said to be from Lichinga and Montepuez, Mozambique.


Almost all rubies have internal inclusions. What’s important is to buy a ruby with minimal or no inclusions visible to the naked eye, as larger inclusions affect the stone’s brilliancy and transparency. In some instances inclusions break through the surface, appearing as fractures. This type of inclusion is not desirable as it may affect the ruby’s durability.


As with other gemstones, a rough ruby cutter’s purpose is to achieve the best color and clarity while minimizing weight loss. When shopping for a ruby, make sure its cut which refers to the stone’s symmetry, proportions and polish are good as they impact its brilliancy.        

Size / Weight

Rubies are available in a broad range of sizes. Small ones weigh as little as a fraction of a carat to large ones weighing 10s of carats. As the size and quality of the ruby increases, so does its price per carat.


Rubies are cut almost into every shape and just as with all other natural gemstones, shape of the ruby’s rough crystal determines its final shape. Most common shapes for small size rubies are: round, square and princess cut. Oval and pear shaped are the most common shapes for medium to larger size rubies. With vintage style ruby jewelry ( rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces) so popular, cushion and emerald cut rubies have price premiums in the marketplace.

Ruby Jewelry

Historically associated with passion, wisdom and beauty, ruby is the ideal romantic jewelry gift.

Ruby rings with their distinct fiery red color, from simple ruby and diamond wedding band to vintage halo to magnificent antique style, rubies always have had their die hard fans throughout the centuries.

Ruby earrings in simple studs with diamond accents to long dangling designs  compliment a woman’s ears, facial makeup and fancy dresses beautifully.   

Ruby necklaces from classic pear shaped pendant to extraordinary all around ruby tennis necklace, rubies demand attention like no other gem can.

Ruby bracelets, whether as an alternating ruby and diamond tennis bracelet, a ruby bangle or a spectacular antique style one, ruby bracelets are the ultimate statement makers in precious colored gemstone jewelry. 

How to Select & Buy

Use below guidelines to select and buy the best ruby gemstone jewelry for your money.  

  • Color is the most important factor for quality of a ruby. Compare two or more rubies in the size and shape you are considering to purchase side by side as it makes differentiating between the color tones easier. Avoid purplish and pinkish color rubies as the ideal color is pure red.      
  • Even though inclusion-free rubies practically do not exist, you should select a ruby with no major inclusions visible to the naked eye, nor any that break through the surface, appearing like a crack in the stone.
  • Symmetry and proportions must be good as the ruby’s brilliancy depends on them. Do not buy shallow cut rubies with large table, nor deep cuts with heavy bottom (belly underneath).
  • When buying a ruby ring, pair of earrings, a necklace or bracelet, consider A) It’s beauty and uniqueness in design B) It’s workmanship quality C) Quality of rubies and other gems used in manufacturing D) It’s wear-ability and comfort E) It’s product warranty.    
  • Shop with reputable, expert jewelers and jewelry stores who offer only quality jewels, great value and outstanding customer service every time.