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The quality of a ruby is determined by its color, cut, and clarity, which, along with carat weight, affect its value. The brightest and most valuable shade of red is called blood-red or pigeon blood, these rubies command a large premium over other rubies of similar quality.
Polished Ruby

What is a Ruby?

Ruby is the most valuable variety of the corundum mineral species, which also includes sapphire.

The word ruby comes from the Latin ruber, which means red. In Sanskrit texts, the ruby is referred to as the ‘king of gems’. This magnificent gemstone is available in different hues of red – from pinkish to bluish red. Like sapphire, ruby is also a variety of corundum, one of the hardest minerals on the earth. From the beginning of civilisation, rubies were prized possessions of many kings and queens. In the middle ages, the royals and the aristocrats in Europe coveted rubies more than any other gemstone.

Rubies can command the highest per-carat price of any colored stone. This makes ruby one of the most important gems in the colored stone market.

For centuries, Burma (Myanmar) has been the key source for the finest rubies. These gemstones are also sourced from Mozambique, Thailand, Sri Lanka, China, Tanzania, Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, India, Cambodia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Tajikistan, the USA and Vietnam. The Montepuez mine in Mozambique, which was discovered in 2009, is the world’s largest known ruby deposit.

Caring for Your Ruby

Like any other gemstone, a ruby might chip or crack on high impact, especially when set in a ring or bracelet. It is also likely that foreign materials might accumulate on the surface of this bright gem rendering it dull over time.

To ensure the long life of your glowing rubies, here are some tips that you can follow:

  • Unless it’s your wedding ring, take it off when performing everyday chores.
  • Put them on after applying perfume, lotion and hairspray to prevent the surface from getting cloudy.
  • Gently clean your rubies using a soft toothbrush and mild liquid soap water. Immediately rinse with fresh warm water and dry with a lint-free cloth.
  • Store them separately to your other jewellery to avoid scratches from harder stones and to also prevent your ruby from scratching softer stones.

Stick to the Four Rules of Jewellery

  1. No swimming
  2. No Gardening
  3. No heavy lifting
  4. No gym workouts.


The colour of a ruby is one of the most important distinguishing characteristics of its value. Slight differences in colour can make a huge difference. The most coveted colour is pure, vibrant red with a hint of blue. If the colour is too light, the stone is considered a pink sapphire. As the shade moves towards orange or purple, the ruby moves down the quality scale.


The per-carat price of ruby can also increase drastically as its size increases. Fine-quality natural rubies over one carat are very rare, which makes them extremely valuable. Commercial-quality rubies are commonly available in a wide range of sizes.


Rubies with absolutely no inclusions are nonexistent. The value of a ruby depends on how visible these inclusions are. Major inclusions and ones that reduce the transparency or brightness of the stone lower its value. Rubies typically include thin mineral inclusions called needles. These needles are called silk when present in intersecting groups. Ruby inclusions appear in the form of small crystals, patches of varied colour or ones that resemble fingerprints.


The ruby crystal’s shape decides its suitability for certain cuts. The most common shape a ruby comes in is a flat tabular hexagonal shape. Commonly, rubies are cut in oval and cushion shapes, with brilliant-cut crowns and step-cut pavilions. Round, triangular, emerald, pear and marquise rubies are also available, but are rare in larger sizes.

All these factors translate into certain quality grades. Although not universally followed, these grades are the only standardisation available when buying rubies and ruby jewellery.