The Queen of Gems
Large, gem quality rubies are more valuable than comparably sized diamonds as
they are rarer. Small gem quality rubies are rarer than comparable blue or other
color sapphires. This means that even the smallest fine rubies fetch high
The prices of gem quality rubies increase exponentially with increase in
Color is the single most important factor in determining a ruby’s value.
Ruby that displays the intensity and richness of bright crimson color without
appearing too light or dark are eagerly sought after.
Highly valued Rubies are those with intense medium red with uniform color.
Intense pink Rubies can be highly appraised as well, if they are clear and
beautifully cut. Rubies that appear dark and garnet-like, or those that are
light in color and are perceived as pink, generally cost less.
The Carat Weight Of Rubies Greatly Affects Per Carat Prices.
Large Rubies of high quality are the rarest and most highly prized of all
gemstones. Rarer than Diamonds or Sapphires of an equal quality and size, any
high quality piece above five Carats is considered to be extremely rare and is
As the carat weight of a ruby increases, so does its price per carat. Per
carat prices increase disproportionately. For example, a five carat ruby is
worth many times more than five one carat rubies of a comparable quality.
High clarities and freedom from inclusions adds value to rubies.
Microscopic inclusions, sometimes called "silk", are a normal characteristic
of Rubies. Evenly distributed, small quantities of “silk” act like a fine dust,
creating a soft, silky, uniform distribution of light throughout the ruby,
enhancing both beauty and value.
Heating tends to dissolve these inclusions. The existence of inclusions
provides traces to the Rubies' origin and can be used to separate natural from
synthetic stones. The inclusions within these gemstones may also be evidence
that a Ruby has not been heat-treated.
Inclusions do not affect the value of the stone as long as the brilliance of
the gemstone is maintained and they are not visible to the naked eye. Ideally, a
ruby should allow the free transmission of light throughout its body without
resistance. Ideally we like to have a “crystal clear” ruby. In reality, the
clarity found in rubies tends to be less than that found in sapphires and most
other gemstones. GIA classifies ruby as a Type II Colored Gem. This means that
“in the marketplace these gemstones are usually included”.
The vast majority of rubies are "native cut" in the country of origin. Many
native cut stones have windows and poor proportions which mar the stones'
brilliance and overall appearance. Occasionally, such native cut stones are
recut to custom proportions, with a loss of weight and diameter. Custom cut and
recut stones are usually cost more per carat than native cuts.
Faceted rubies are found in a variety of shapes and styles. Ovals and cushion
cuts are the most common. other shapes such as emerald cuts and hearts are also
Cutting rubies to round shape will mean more loss of weight during the
cutting operations compared to other cuts. Because of this round cut rubies
fetch a small premium price. Pear and marquise cuts are available at a discount.
Cabochons are the most common form of cut seen in ruby. This cut is essential
for developing and displaying the asterism in star rubies. For regular rubies,
cabochon cuts are most often applied to rubies whose clarity is not ideal for
The rubies from the Mogok Stone Tract in Upper Burma have the prestige of
being some of the finest rubies in the world. People are prepared to pay a
premium for these rubies. Strong color saturation, eyeclean or better clarity,
and strong fluorescence elevate prices sharply.
Indian Star Rubies are also quite popular and legendary.
Most rubies available on the market today have been subjected to high
temperatures called heat treatment. This process improves the clarity of rubies
and intensify their colors.
The proportion of unheated rubies on the market is very small. It is widely
thought to be less than 0.5%. Their rarity makes them highly collectable. People
are willing to pay a premium for them. They sometimes fetch triple the price
paid for an equivalent heated ruby.
Next: Jewelry Design Considerations
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