The name "Ruby" is derived from the Latin word "ruber," which means "red". In India, it is "ratanraj," which means "king of gemstones." It has also won its place among four precious gemstones (sapphire, diamond, and emerald) due to its strength and rarity. In addition to that, it carries a very rich and long association with kings, queens, royal courts, and warriors. This stone has defined what it is like to be powerful and at the top because of its fiery appearance and properties.

It has been the shining and dominant stone on the queens’ tiaras and the kings’ crowns, a protective cover for warriors, a symbol of love for partners, and a healer of the root chakra for believers. There is no other vibrant and, at the same time, versatile gemstone like ruby. Hence, no matter how much is said about this gemstone, it will always be less.

Are you also unable to resist your liking for this wondrous and most attractive-looking stone and thinking of buying one? Here is our guide that will help you to know the prime factors that play a key role in determining the price of ruby jewelry. Being aware of these will aid in a clever decision.

Factors Affecting Price of Ruby Jewelry

The price is determined by its quality, and the quality is determined by many factors, among which the 4Cs (clarity, color, cut, and carat) top the list. Out of those, color is the prime and most important aspect. But unlike diamonds, there are no universally accepted quality standards.

4C’s - Color, Carat, Clarity and Cut

1. Color

Unlike in ancient times, now there is a universal means for assessing the color of ruby. If we look at history, we will see how traders and jewelrs did not have specific terms and names. Instead, they used descriptions to talk about the colors of the ruby stone.

But now they describe it just by its hue, tone, and saturation. The ideal colors of ruby are described as vivid, medium-dark red, or slightly purplish red.

Hue: The hue refers to the basic color of any gemstone. In most cases, ruby’s basic hue is "red," but purple or orange as secondary colors can also be found in rubies. Rubies from Myanmar are slightly purplish red in color and they are undoubtedly one of the most desired. Ruby, with more of purple or orange tint, is considered low in quality and is priced accordingly.

Every stone with corundum inside cannot be declared a ruby. Only the stones with a rich and vivid red color are rubies. One with a lighter tone is termed "pink sapphire," and ones with a dominating orange tone and purple tone are called orange sapphire and purple sapphire, respectively. Usually, the difference has to be made between pink sapphire and ruby. Here, tone and hue are to be considered.

Tone: describes the lightness or darkness of a stone’s color which directly influences a ruby’s value. The fine rubies are in a medium to medium-dark tone. The tone should not be so dark that the stone’s natural color is obstructed, nor should it be so light that its color appears dull. There is no light colored ruby. In that case, it is termed "pink sapphire." The dark-toned rubies found in Thailand are described as having a "garnet red" color.

Saturation: describes the purity or intensity of a color, and it is a primary element in determining a ruby’s value. Rubies with high saturation levels are more valued as compared to rubies with poor saturation levels, which would be brownish red. The finest rubies have "vivid" saturation, but highly prized rubies have "strong" saturation.

Other factors that affect the color are inclusions. Inclusions can improve the color in some cases. Because of their highly reflective nature, minute needles scatter light within the stone, resulting in better color. The cut also affects the color of the ruby. A skilled cutter will cut the stone in a way that reduces or eliminates the color zoning and maximizes its real color.

2. Carat

The Ruby gemstone grants success in professional life. Climbing the ladder of career and earning a name in society becomes easy with the influence of Ruby in our lives. You would feel a free flow of creativity and new ideas that are required to do things differently. Not only that, it will also give you the confidence to execute those ideas. The Sun governs aspects of life such as high-paying, stable occupations and reputable names. As already said, the ruby gemstone will activate the planet sun, which in turn will bring better opportunities and the luck needed for professional growth. It works well, especially in the areas of politics, administration, and government jobs. Your dreams aren’t far away with this highly potent stone.

3. Clarity

Rubies mostly come with inclusions. It is very rare for it to be clear, like fine diamonds. Rubies are not even expected to be free of inclusions, even when viewed under 10x magnification. On the contrary, a ruby with no inclusions should be checked carefully because chances are it could be a synthetic one. A high clarity grade ruby appears to be eye-clean.

Inclusions occur naturally in ruby during crystal growth. They vary according to their origin, source, and nature of treatment. The size, number, location, and visibility of the inclusions are the factors that are taken into consideration while analyzing the clarity. Ruby contains needle inclusions that are termed silk. They allow light to scatter, thus refraining from making stone appear darker. This makes the color soft and evenly spread across the crown of stone. Some inclusions have a positive impact on the appearance of the stone.

The treatment of the stone can be witnessed by the condition of the silk in it. Rubies go through heat treatment for clarity enhancement, which in turn impacts silk. Either it melts or gets dissolved. As a result, the rainbow of colors may disappear that was there due to silk. On the other hand, intact silk is proof that ruby is untreated.

The price of rubies is affected by the visibility of inclusions. If it is much more visible and is impacting the transparency and brightness of the stone, then it will be valued less.

Largely evident inclusions located under the table facet diminish the transparency, and brilliance of the stone. Fractures on the surface of the stone can make the stone less durable. In these cases, rubies are valued less.

4. Cut

Cut refers to the stone’s proportions (overall symmetry), finishing (perfection with which facets meet), faceting style, or shape. A well cut ruby is more attractive and valuable. Even rough rubies are very expensive. Before cutting the ruby, gem cutters have a few motives in mind.

  1. The cut should do the job of maximizing the color of the gem. Rubies reflect different colors when viewed from different angles. This quality is known as pleochroic. The most desirable color among consumers is a purplish red followed by an orange red. The stone is cut keeping this preference in mind. A cut can maximize the brilliance of the stone or can make it appear dull.
  2. The maximum carat weight of the gemstone should be retained while cutting it.
  3. The cut should minimize the inclusions or the effects of inclusions that hinders the clarity and color of the stone.
  4. Cutting should be done keeping in mind the consumer’s demand and preferences for something that is durable and fashionable both.

There are times when all of this together can’t be achieved with one stone. Whenever needed, color is compromised to keep a high carat weight, or sometimes the carat weight is sacrificed to maximize the stone's color and clarity.

Setting of Ruby

The setting of rubies has a substantial influence on value of ruby jewelry. A customer should keep in mind to have a setting that does not exceed the cost of the ruby, as sometimes a plain gold or silver band can be higher than the price of the ruby alone. The cost of setting involves the labor that is used in setting stones into the ring. Rings with more stones will have much higher labor charges. The number of stones you want determines the overall price. This applies to all kinds of ruby jewelry, like a ruby bracelet, ruby earrings, or ruby necklace.

Source Of Ruby

Major production of rubies comes from Myanmar. They constitute 90% of the world’s rubies. Sri Lanka is another country after Burma. It is also known as "ratna dweep". Afghanistan is also known for its high quality and rich ruby deposits. Thailand and Cambodia are also abundant with rubies and are extensively mined there. Hence, for many centuries, Asia has been the major producer of rubies. Other sources for this gemstone are Africa, the United States, and Australia. Their origin has a great contribution to their value.

Rubies coming from Myanmar are the most valuable and expensive as they offer the perfect color and the perfect quality. They have red florescence and the highly desired pigeon’s blood red color.

Mozambique rubies are also known for their finest quality, but they aren't as old as Myanmar rubies. The only difference is that they have a high amount of iron as compared to Burmese rubies. They also sometimes overlap in appearance and properties. Currently, not many rubies are mined in Myanmar. What is there today was extracted centuries ago. Because of their rich history associated with British royalty and their rarity in current times, Burmese rubies are charged 10 times more than Mozambique rubies. Only an expert gemologist can spot the difference, as both have high clarity and dark, vivid colors. Currently, these two are the main producers.

Treated or Untreated Ruby

Almost all rubies receive heat treatment. This is a permanent treatment and is done to improve the clarity and color of the stone. Hence, you should assume that your ruby has been treated. Its rare to find rough ruby without any heat treatment. The rubies that come with a certification of not treated are considered premium and come at a doubled price because of their rarity. The treatment is widely accepted in regard to rubies, and that is the reason it is disclosed too, without inhibitions. This does not lead to decrease in its value.

But if the stone has received filling to hide the flaws, then the price may go down. Fracture filling is usually done on low grade rubies. This treatment is to fix cavities and fractures that cause loss of clarity in gemstones. It is not very durable and can fade after receiving sonic cleaning. At first glance, they can look attractive to a customer, but a microscopic look will show you how heavily included the stones are. Therefore, it is important that the jeweler disclose this beforehand, otherwise it can be a fraud to sell these rubies. You can know the worth of your gemstone by knowing if it is treated or untreated and what kind of treatment it has received.

Synthetic or Natural Rubies

Synthetic rubies are formed in a laboratory with the same chemical formulation as natural ones. So they appear same in color and other aspects. The only difference is that they are without any imperfections. So, whenever you come across a perfect ruby, consider that it is lab created. They are quite affordable as compared to real rubies. A reputable and honest jeweler will reveal the type of ruby that you are eyeing so that you know what you are paying for. For anyone looking for a ruby as a piece of accessory with a limited budget, a synthetic ruby is a great option for them. It is a cheap substitute for natural ruby. If you wish to own an authentic stone with some value and powerful properties, then you should opt for natural ones only.

How to Take Care of Your Ruby Jewelry

Ruby is a very durable and strong stone. It does not get broken or chipped easily with everyday wear and tear. Simple precautions taken on a regular basis can help you keep it looking new.

  1. Store it separately; do not keep it with other gemstones, as it is the hardest stone after diamonds. It can affect stones that are not very strong. As diamond scores 1 grade above ruby and the highest on the Mohs scale, it has the capability to affect ruby.
  2. Do not use harsh synthetic chemicals. Acetone, detergents, and thinners can be harmful to the stone. Cleaning your ruby with soapy water and a toothbrush is enough. Do not even soak it overnight in the soapy water.
  3. Keep a check to ensure every adjustment made on the jewelry piece is intact. If you find your ruby out of place, take the piece to a jeweler.
  4. Save it from lotions, perfumes, and oils. This can make your ruby look cloudy.

No matter which size, color or type of ruby you choose, it will remain one of the most expensive and valuable colored gemstones. Make sure to check the grading certificate of the stone for each of the criteria before buying. Choosing the right jeweler will make your task much easier. So, very importantly, find yourself a jeweler whom you can trust before beginning with your hunt.

September 15, 2022 — Rosec Jewels

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