Pictures of Ruby Gemstones
Whether you have a July birthday or simply love the deep red color of this exciting gem, pictures of ruby gemstones can help understand your jewelry options. Before you head to the jewelry store or start perusing products on the internet, make sure you have some background information about rubies and their production.
Mining of Rubies
For centuries, people all over the world have prized rubies for their brilliant color and amazing durability. Most of the world's rubies are mined in Asia and Africa, and they often occur in other mineral deposits such as zoisite.
Quality in Rubies
After the ruby is mined, a certified gem cutter shapes the stone. The most valuable rubies are beautifully cut and display a deep red tone. While most natural rubies have some inclusions, the most valuable specimens have few flaws.
Skilled gem cutters shape the most precious rubies into faceted gems. These facets catch and reflect the light, giving the rubies great brilliance and beauty. Faceted rubies are often used in gemstone rings and other fine jewelry pieces.
Cut Ruby Shapes
Faceted rubies come in a wide variety of shapes. Generally, the gem cutter examines the stone to determine which shape will result in the least amount of wasted material. Popular shapes include hearts and ovals, as well as marquis cuts and round brilliant cuts.
Some rubies, particularly those with cloudy spots or other flaws, look best when cut in a cabochon shape. A cabochon has a flat back and a rounded top surface, and these gems are usually set in a way that allows light to pass through and illuminate the stone.
Some ruby cabochons are star rubies. When a single source of light shines on a star ruby, it produces a star shape within the gem. This effect, called asterism, is extremely rare in natural rubies, so untreated star rubies are among the most valuable gems in the world.
Ruby Color and Value
According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), a ruby's color is the biggest factor in determining its value. Rubies range in shade from pale reds to very dark burgundy. Bold, saturated red gems are worth the most, and they sometimes have a purplish red cast. Rubies that are darker or lighter are still valuable, but they aren't worth as much as the really vibrant examples.
Rubies are made of a mineral called corundum. This is the same material that sapphires are made of. In fact, all colors of corundum except red are considered sapphires. If the corundum is any shade of red, the gem is called a ruby.
Ruby vs. Pink Sapphire
It can be difficult to determine whether a red-toned corundum specimen is a ruby or a pink sapphire. The GIA uses a special color grading gems to determine whether a stone is a deep enough red to be considered a ruby. If it's too pale for that classification, it's called a pink sapphire and is still a beautiful gem.
Although corundum is more common than diamonds, red, gem-quality corundum is actually very rare. This makes rubies rarer than diamonds.
Value of Rubies
Because high quality natural rubies are so rare, they are also especially valuable. How much a ruby is worth varies, depending on its clarity, color, cut, and size. However, the International Gem Society (IGS) notes that the most valuable rubies are worth as much as $1,000,000 per carat. If you are shopping for loose gemstones, you can buy a one-carat, untreated ruby for about $1,500 to $17,000, depending on its color, cut, and clarity.
Real Rubies vs. Imitation Rubies
Telling a real ruby from a fake involves close inspection. Fake rubies are often made of glass, plastic, or a composite materials. They aren't as hard as genuine rubies, so they can be prone to scratching. Additionally, when you compare two stones of the same size, a real ruby is usually heavier than its imitation counterpart.
Ruby is the July birthstone, which makes it a popular choice for gifts. You can find small rubies set with diamonds and other gems at many jewelry retailers if you're looking for the perfect birthday present for someone born in July.
Gems That Look Like Rubies
Rubies are very rare, but there are several other gems that have a red tone. Garnets are an affordable alternative to rubies. They come in different varieties, but many exhibit a deeper, more reddish purple color than a ruby. Carnelian is another red gem that can be lovely. Its color is more red-orange, and it doesn't have the clarity of a ruby.
Rubies Never Go Out of Style
Ruby jewelry looks gorgeous on almost every skin tone, and it makes a meaningful, heirloom-quality gift. You'll find beautiful ruby pieces available in many styles and at a number of price points. The classic beauty of rubies never goes out of style, so a piece of ruby jewelry is an investment you'll love for years to come.