In Jewelry Terminology a ruby is considered one of the four precious stones (together with the emerald, sapphire, and diamond). The color of rubies generally ranges from pink to blood-red, but they can also be brownish or purplish. The chemical formula for a ruby is aluminum oxide with chromium (the element responsible for giving the gemstone its red color), or simply, Al2O3:Cr.
Color is the most determining factor in a ruby’s value. Rubies that are brighter or a pigeon blood-red color are deemed as the most valuable. Regardless of clarity, the color is the most important in determining a ruby’s price – although clarity should not be completely ignored. A ruby that looks flawless without any inclusions may have been treated, which would depreciate its value.
As mentioned in a previous blog, all natural stones have imperfects, and rubies are not excluded from this fact. Gemologists use the inclusions of rutile needles to distinguish them from synthetic or modified gemstones. Nowadays, most rubies are treated in some form of another (usually heat treatments), but natural rubies of excellent quality that have been left untreated can fetch huge premiums.
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