Ruby Gemstone Buying Guide
The bold, red color of the ruby makes it a symbol of passion, power, energy and love. It has been called ‘the King of gems’ (ratanraj) in Sanskrit, the ‘dearly loved stone’ by French jewelers, and “blood drops from the heart of Mother Earth” by the Burmese. Because the ruby sparkles with more than one shade of red when viewed from different angles (a property called pleochroism), it has been used to predict the future and to protect its carriers from misfortune.
Choosing a stone
Color: Color is the most important characteristic to consider when choosing a ruby. Rubies should have a red, primary hue, but may exhibit secondary hues ranging from pinkish to brownish to purplish red. The purer the red, the more valuable the stone—hints of brown and blue detract its value. Both rubies and sapphires are made of the mineral corundum, but a stone may only be called a ‘ruby’ if it is the appropriate red color.
Clarity: Clear stones with few inclusions make for the best investment, though a well-colored stone with visible inclusions will trump a poorly-colored stone with few inclusions.
- Angara lets you choose the quality that suits your needs
- Good (A): Dark pinkish red, opaque
- Better (AA): Medium pinkish red, moderately included
- Best (AAA): Medium red, slightly included and highly brilliant
- Heirloom (AAAA): Exceptionally rich red, very slightly included and highly brilliant. Top 1% of rubies in terms of quality
3. Cut: Cut can enhance a ruby’s ‘inner fire.’ The stones are often fashioned in mixed cuts, or sometimes in cabochon if a star can be brought out from the inclusions.
4. Enhancements: Rubies undergo heat-treatment to enhance their color and improve clarity—this is a permanent improvement and does not detract from the ruby’s value. Angara only offers gemstone treatments which are AGTA-approved.
- Rubies were mined in Sri Lanka over 2,500 years ago and in Burma over 2,000 years ago
- Today, the stones are found in Orissa, India; Harts Range, Australia; Madagascar; Kenya; Tanzania; Vietnam; Cambodia and Afghanistan, amongst other deposits
- Many of the most valuable rubies come from the Burmese localities of Mogok Valley and Mong Hsu—the clear, deep red of these rubies led them to denote with the nickname ‘pigeon’s blood’
- The center of the ruby trade is Bangkok, Thailand
- Elizabeth Taylor’s 8.24-carat ruby ring sold for over $4.2 million at a Christie’s auction
- The largest ruby ever mined—the Liberty Bell Ruby—was stolen in a 2011 heist
- Ruby is the birthstone for the month of July
- Ruby is the astrological stone for the zodiac sign Capricorn
- Ruby is the recommended gift for fifteenth and fortieth anniversaries