Rubies get their deep red color from chromium in the mineral corundum, which is also the hard foundation stone of sapphires. Rubies are rarer than sapphires, in part because sapphires encompass gemstones that range in color from blue to pink to orange. In contrast, rubies are always and only some variation of red, although jewelers have been known to market pink sapphires as rubies since rubies command a premium price.

While rubies are mined around the world, the biggest supplier of stones is Thailand. The corundum found there is plentiful, but it contains enough iron to give Thai rubies a brownish tinge. Just across the border, however, in Myanmar, iron is almost absent from that nation’s corundum, especially in the rock taken from mines in the Mogok district, source of the most desirable rubies in the world.

Though normally associated with high-end pieces of fine jewelry, small rubies have been used historically for more modest purposes. For example, in the Victorian Era, rubies were combined with other gemstones to create acrostic rings, in which the first letter in the name of each stone spelled out the word "dearest," (i.e., diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby, emerald, sapphire, and topaz).

Still, rubies are a stone of royalty, the upper echelons of society, and movie stars. Mary Pickford, Paulette Goddard, and Merle Oberon are just a few of the leading ladies who wore ruby brooches, necklaces, bracelets, and rings (usually surrounded by diamonds, thank you very much). The Duchess of Windsor wore numerous ruby pieces produced by designers at Van Cleef & Arpels. Socialite Mona Bismark favored ruby-and-diamond necklaces, earrings, and bracelets by Cartier.

Like sapphires and many other gemstones, rubies are heat-treated to make their colors more vivid and rich. In addition to the Thai rubies that are prepared for market this way, rubies from Vietnam and Tanzania are also heat-treated to bring out the red in the stone. These rubies, including the ones mined near Songea in Tanzania, are often heated alongside beryllium to produce stones that are a beautiful reddish-orange. Unfortunately, beryllium is toxic, which means the people who work with it to produce finished rubies are probably doing so at their peril.

Also similar to sapphires, some rubies exhibit asterism, a star effect that can been seen when the stone is moved into and out of the light. In rubies, when fibers in a mineral called rutile line up just right, the result is a six-ray star.

Finally, one of the appeals of rubies is the fact that they tend to be imperfect and marked with any number of internal flaws. What’s interesting to the collector is that these cavities and mineral inclusions can often be used to pinpoint the ruby’s country of origin, as well as its manufacture. For example, rutile and calcite are common to rubies from Myanmar, while fracturing around inclusions within a stone can be evidence that the ruby was heat-treated.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

All About Jewels Dictionary

All About Jewels Dictionary

This incredible reference dictionary on jewelry, from Enchantedlearning.com, is both beautiful and comprehensive. S… [read review or visit site]

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Jewelry collectors, feast your eyes on this internet gem! It's a goldmine of jewelry information featuring all styl… [read review or visit site]

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

With its vast galleries featuring clear images of jewelry and style, this site really covers it all! Divided up by … [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Fine Edwardian Rare Ruby Pendant Cropp And Farr 9ct Gold Necklace 9k 375Diamond 350.64ct Emerald Ruby Pearl Dragon 14k Gold Necklace 128.4 Grams NrEstate Fancy Brown Diamond 2.20ct Ruby Platinum Engagement Ring 6.5 Grams NrGia Certified Antique 14k White Gold 4.58ctw Diamond Ruby Pearl Ribbon BroochFine Cropp And Farr Edwardian Chester 1904 Ruby Ball Earrings. 9k 375Antique Art Deco 18k Gold And Platinum Diamond And Rubies Pendant - 0.54 Ctw!! -Antiqu Diamond 3.50ct Emerald Ruby 14k Gold Platinum Chain Pendant 11.0 Grams Nr14k Ruby Diamond Ring Wide Band Etruscan Cabochon Fine Yellow Gold Size 7Antique Diamond Pink Ruby 14k Gold Dangle Drop Filigree Earrings 6.2 Grams NrExceptional Vintage Cartier 18k Gold Sapphire Ruby & Diamond Flower Brooch/pinGorgeous Vintage Cartier 18k Yellow Gold-deer Doe Fawn Brooch/pin With Ruby Eyes**antique 14k Yellow Gold Jade Ruby Rose Stick Pin 2.3 Grams 3.5" Long Vintage Hobe Chinese Themed Sterling Silver Black Glass Ruby Scenic PendantAntique Vintage Art Nouveau 10k Gold Neo Classical Diamond Ruby Lion Brooch PinVtg Signed Weiss Red Ruby Rhinestone Multirow Crystal Deco Bracelet A98Modern Diamond Ruby South Sea Pearl 18k White Gold Bird Pin Brooch 8.5 Grams NrAntique Vintage Art Deco 14k Gold English Diamond Ruby Akoya Pearl Necklace!Antique Early 20thc Art Deco 14k Gold & Platinum Top Diamond & Rubies Bar PinAntique Victorian Etruscan Revival Lion Head Gold Bypass Bracelet Ruby Eye Gf 8kVintage Marcel Boucher Gold On Sterling Silver Ruby Red Rhinestone EarringsAntique Vintage Victorian 9k Gold English Seed Pearl Ruby Star Estate Brooch PinBeautiful Faceted Ruby Gemstone- Vintage Estate Find- 1.45ct.Antique Solid 9ct Gold Top Seed Pearl Garnet Ruby Red Stick Hat Tie Pin BroochExquisite Vintage Made In Austria Ruby Red Crystal Rhinestone Necklace Earrings French Ladies Antique Vintage Rose Diamond Ruby 18k Yellow Gold WristwatchAntique Victorian Solid 22k Gold 7.0 Tcw Diamonds 2.50 Ct Ruby Earrings 24 Grams1950's Tiffany & Co 14k Yellow Gold Elephant Ruby Eye Charm Oval Link BraceletBrogan Signed 2.65ctw Art Deco Vintage Old European Diamond Ruby 14k Gold Ring18ct/ 18k Gold Ruby Art Deco Heavy Necklace, 750Estate Ring 6.4 Ct Natural Ruby And Diamond 14k GoldRetro Vintage 14k Gold Persian Turquoise ~ Ruby Multi Gemstone Drop NecklaceVintage, 14k Yellow Gold, Ruby, 3 Part Eternity, Wedding Band RingEstate Ring 3.9 Ct Natural Ruby And Diamond 14k GoldRare Antique Victorian 14k Gold & Ruby French Bull Dog Boston Terrier Stick PinAntique Georgian Or Early Victorian Seed Pearl And Ruby Ring Ostby And BartonEstate Natural 1.45ctw Ruby And Diamond Solid 14k White Gold Three Stone Ring$72000, Outstanding! Colombian Emerald 110 Carat Tassle Ruby Diamond Earrings Estate Diamond 0.54ct Ruby 14k Gold Panther By Pass Ring 7.2 Grams Nr14k Ruby Diamond Earrings Vintage Natural Red Fine Deco Huggies Huge 5.20 CaratsEstate Vintage 14k Solid Rose Gold Diamond & Ruby Woman Ring 5 Sz 11.4 Gr .8 CtwVintage 18 K Gold Opal & Six Rubies Ring Wow!Vintage Diamond 9.74ct Pink Ruby 18k Yellow Gold Platinum Ring 11.3 Grams NrSterling Silver Genuine Ruby Stone. VintageEstate Diamond 0.52ct Ruby 14k Yellow Gold Cluster Ring NrVintage 14k Yellow Gold Traffic Stop Light Ruby Emerald Charm18k Yellow Gold Enamel Figural Penguin Brooch Pin Not Scrap 18.2 Grams Ruby EyesGorgeous, Vintage 18k Yellow Gold Ring W/ 7 Rubies Sz 8 10 Grams - Italy18ct/ 18k Gold 3 Carat Ruby Chinese Antique Ring, 750Antique Very Old Circa 1790 14k Gold Ruby, Pink Spinel, And Pearl Ring Size 6Estate Antique 18k White Gold European Cut Ruby Filigree Ring Better Than 14k14ct/ 14k Gold 1ct Rose Cut Diamond & Ruby Eyed Large Victorian Ram Pendant, 585Estate Princess Ring Blue Sapphire & Ruby 14k Yellow Gold Natural Vintage Siam10k Vintage Genuine Ruby Gold Ring Mens Sz. 9 1/4 8.42 GramsBlue Fire Estate 14k Yellow Gold Natural Oval Fiery Opal And Ruby Ring 0.90 Cts18ct Gold 18k Gold Antique Art Deco Ruby And Diamond Ring Size NVintage Estate Natural 1.40ctw Ruby And Diamond Cocktail Cluster 18k Gold RingGenuine Vintage Natural Ruby Diamond 18k Gold Princess 2.36tcw Ring Antique 1920s $4000 5ct Natural Ruby 14k Yellow Gold Cocktail Ring RareEstate 1.50ct Natural Ruby 14k White Gold Wedding RingEstate Ring 4.99 Ct Natural Ruby And Diamond 14k Gold