How Rare Are Rubies?

Written By: Vahid Moradi

Rubies are vibrant gemstones that attract passion and enthusiasm. From old age, rubies have been used by warriors and people of higher social classes because of the different powers they evoked. High-value natural rubies have always been rare compared to synthetic rubies.

Despite having more valuable gemstones, such as diamonds, ruby jewelry pieces are among the most treasured pieces in the world. Do you know how rare rubies are? Tag along for a quick ruby gemstone education and let us answer the following questions about rubies:

  • How rare are rubies?
  • How is the quality of rubies determined?
  • How are rubies formed?
  • What do rubies mean? 
  • A list of excellent pieces of ruby jewelry sold by CJ Charles

How rare are rubies?

Rubies are red-colored gemstones that are among the traditional cardinal gemstones alongside sapphire, emerald, diamonds, and amethyst. Besides being durable, rubies are among the rarest gems, sometimes more rare than diamonds.

Colorless diamonds are more readily available in comparison to rubies. However, diamonds that show color, such as the pink and black diamonds, are even rarer than rubies. In jewelry, diamond products are a lot easier to find than rubies. 

Ruby is a gem-quality corundum, which is only a percentage of the general corundum. Combining the rarity of gem-quality corundum and even the rarity of red rubies increases the value of rubies. Good carat-sized rubies are few, and their discovery is far apart. 

The rarity of gemstones is determined by the conditions required for the gems to form and the mining location. Some gems, such as the red beryl, are only found in Utah. There are different ruby mines worldwide, but the biggest and finest rubies are only found in Myanmar.

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The 4 C's of Ruby Qualities

The quality of rubies is determined on the same scale as the quality of diamonds. Diamond evaluation is smooth since all the criteria are equally weighted and well-defined. Ruby, being a colored gemstone, lacks the universally accepted quality standards.

As mentioned earlier, a natural ruby will always be one of the rarest gem stones as opposed to a synthetic ruby, so the 4C's only apply to a natural ruby. The quality standards for rubies are balanced differently since their color is the most outstanding quality. Here are the optimal quality characteristics of a ruby within each of the four standard criteria; carat weight, cut, color, and clarity:

1. Carat Weight

Fine quality rubies above one carat are hard to find; a fine ruby hardly grows to enormous sizes. However, synthetic rubies are easier to find in a wide range of sizes. The price per carat of high-quality natural ruby increases with total carat weight.

Rough high-quality rubies have a higher value than polished ones because polishing would lead to significant loss of weight. Commercial rubies are more likely to be perfectly cut to size and polished.

Like other gemstones, the standard measure of rubies is a carat. One carat is equivalent to 0.20 of a gram. Courtesy of the small nature of rubies, the precious stones are mostly weighed in points; a point is one-hundredth of a carat. Several pieces might be put together to have one carat of rubies. 

2. Cut

The cut is the second C in determining the quality of this rare, precious stone. 'Cut' has different meanings in rubies and other gemstones. Essentially, how ruby is faceted to determine its overall symmetry and dimension is the cut. Gem proportion and finishing are also referred to as the cut. 

Rubies display their full radiance when cut. However, since rough rubies are more valuable, consumers accept the gemstones without the cut precision of fine diamonds. Gem cutters follow four principles when processing rubies:

  • Rubies are pleochroic; their color changes depending on the angle you are looking. Red rubies are valued higher than orange-red hence cutters cut the gems so that the darkest shade of red is visible through the crown.
  • Each cut on rubies must maximize the weight of the piece; rough cuts are more popular due to the ruby's growth form and crystal character.
  • Every cut should minimize the appearance of blemishes, color zoning, and undesirable inclusions.
  • Cutters are careful to retain the gemstone quality while fulfilling the consumers' desires on cutting styles and fashion.

3. Color

A ruby's color is described by the hue, tone, and saturation, with red being the base. The ideal ruby color definitions are vivid, medium-dark red to slightly purplish red. The color tone is the gem's color intensity. Most fine rubies are medium to dark-toned, allowing light to go through.

Color saturation in rubies is determined by how pure the color is and is the key determinant of a ruby's value. Rubies with higher color saturation have higher chromium, which allows the stones to have high saturated hues without having a dark tone. 

But how do rubies get their red color, or a pinkier tone in some cases? Many factors determine Ruby colors, such as the amount of chromium in the ore. In some instances, inclusions such as silk improve the color of the ruby. Rubies with high color saturation are highly valued, but those with high saturation and lower tones might be considered pink sapphire. If you're unfamiliar with sapphire and might be wondering, “what is sapphire crystal stone?” these colored gemstones are very similar to rubies. 

Ruby colors have a large spectrum, and only the best gemologist can classify the gem rightfully based on the colors.

4. Clarity

Diamonds are the hallmark of clarity. However, it is almost impossible to have a ruby that is 100% pure. Rubies host many different inclusions;  even the purest ruby to the eye will have inclusions while under *10 magnification. 

When evaluating the clarity of a ruby, gemologists consider the size, location, number, and overall visibility of the inclusions. 'Eye-clean' is the best ruby clarity, where no inclusion is visible to the naked human eye. 

Contrary to expectations, not all inclusions lower the value of a ruby. A ruby with inclusions might be more valuable than a seemingly pure one. Star rubies , for instance, increase in value depending on their  faceting and the number of rays formed by the silk inclusion available. 

Origin and formation of rubies

Gemstones always pose the question of how they’re made, from “how are emeralds formed?” to “how are rubies created?”. Rubies, just like sapphire, are gemstones borne out of corundum, a hard crystallized alumina often used as an abrasive. Corundum is a rock-forming mineral and the crystalline form of aluminum oxide, Al2O3, in a close-packed hexagonal structure.

Rubies are made under extreme temperatures at the core of the earth. For corundum to form, all the necessary elements such as iron, titanium, vanadium, and/or chromium must be available. The presence of silicone, however, prevents the formation of corundum. 

As Corundum at the core of the earth crystallizes in slow-cooling igneous or metamorphic rocks, rubies are formed. The amount of chromium in the corundum dictates whether the results will be ruby or sapphire. More chromium leads to a more concentrated color, setting rubies apart from sapphires.

What's the meaning behind rubies?

Red is an intense color often used to represent strong emotions such as love and passion.  From the ancient days, rubies have been associated with wealth and prosperity. In ancient royalty, rubies were used in the leaders' crowns to represent courage and good fortune. 

In some cultures, rubies were believed to contain the blood of mother nature, hence their color. Generally, rubies were accustomed to different roles in the past, such as protecting soldiers, dividing social classes, and gifting lovers across different cultures.

In modern day cultures, rubies are used as precious gifts, priceless jewelry, and spiritual crystals by different segments of gemstone lovers. In spirituality and horoscopes, gemstones are the birthstone of people born in June and bring passion and happiness to the wearer.

A list of various ruby jewelry pieces sold by CJ Charles.

CJ Charles Jewelers is a family-owned jewelry shop operated by Vahid Moradi. Our team of experts lives to fulfill our mission, 'to exceed the extraordinary'. Our two showrooms in La Jolla and University Town Center at Westfield UTC Mall are full of incredible authentic jewelry. 

Here are a few ruby jewelry pieces you will find in our shops:

  1. 5.98 CT RUBY RING, AGL CERTIFIED a center cushion antique cut natural Thai ruby with triangular cut diamond side stones weighing 0.60-carat total weight in total, set in an estate ring of 18k yellow gold.
  1. 18k white gold 60s ruby diamond bracelet, a circa 1960s 18k white gold bracelet with approximately 8.4carats of rubies and approximately 25 carats total weight of diamonds.
  1. 18k white gold 204ct ruby diamond cravat necklace 204 carats Ruby Diamond Cravat Necklace. 18k white gold necklace, with a 1-inch extension, wholly set with rubies and bordered by diamonds. The rubies weigh approximately 204.71carats, and the diamonds weigh approximately 18.16 carat total weight.
  1. Platinum art deco ruby and diamond bracelet estate diamond and ruby bracelet are set in platinum and dated to approximately 1925. The bracelet comprises 5 square rubies and one oval ruby totaling approximately 4.3cts and approximately 18carat total weight of diamonds.

Give A Gift That Exceeds The Extraordinary With CJ Charles Jewelers

Gifts are a fantastic way to show appreciation to our loved ones and express our feelings towards them. No gift would communicate love and passions as strong as ruby jewelry. At CJ Jewelers, our experienced staff are dedicated to helping you handpick the best jewelry for the right occasion.

Rubies are not the only precious items you can get at our shop. Walk into our store anytime and explore our collection of luxurious gifts, watches, and other gemstone jewelry. We also offer high-quality watch repair and answer any questions about luxurious gifts and watches. Contact us today to get the right piece for you.


Written By: Vahid Morai

Vahid Moradi’s lifelong passion, dedication, and commitment for the jewelry industry led him to become the respected owner of CJ Charles Jewelers in 1988. From that moment, Moradi’s single focus in business was to become recognized as the pinnacle of value and world-class quality in the his Community. Over 34 years later, CJ Charles continues to grow and thrive as a successful, family-owned business that consistently provides exceptional service to all their clientele.

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