Ruby is one of the most well-known and sought-after gemstones on the market. It is universally known as the red gemstone. The vivid red color of top-grade ruby has long been a symbol of love and passion. Along with diamond, sapphire, and emerald, ruby is one of the only 4 precious gemstones in the world.
High-quality natural rubies can command very high prices, higher than any other colored gemstones including sapphires and emeralds. Demand for rubies has been rapidly increasing in recent years, leading to a steep increase in price. Top-quality rubies can be more valuable than similarly sized diamonds and are definitely rarer.
There are 4 main types of rubies: natural untreated, natural treated, lab-made, and imitation (fake) rubies. They differ wildly in values, with prices range from $1 per carat for imitation rubies to well over $50,000 per carat for top-grade natural rubies.
Lab-made rubies are real rubies just like natural ones. Very high-quality lab-made rubies are available for less than $100 per carat. For people who want real rubies but do not want to pay the high prices of natural ones, lab-made rubies are a great option.
For the rest of this article, we will look at the different types of rubies and discuss their prices in detail. We will also show you how to value a ruby based on its 4 C’s: Color, Clarity, Carat, Cut. By the end of this article, you will be knowledgeable enough to make informed choices in shopping for rubies. Ready? Let’s get started.
Real Rubies Price Chart
|Natural Untreated Rubies||Heat Only Rubies||Glass Filled Rubies||Lab Made Rubies|
|Where Are They From?||Mined from the earth||Mined from the earth||Mined from the earth||Made in Lab|
|Quality||Very High||High||Very Low||Very High|
|Price Per Carat||$5,000 to $50,000||$2,000 to $4,000||$10 to $30||$100 to $250|
Imitation Rubies Price Chart
|Glass, Cubic Zirconia||Tourmalines,Garnets, Spinels|
|Where Are They From?||Made in Lab||Mined from the earth|
|Price Per Carat||$1||$100 to $1,000|
Ruby Price per Carat
As we have seen, different types of rubies have very different values. An untreated natural ruby from Burma can cost more than $50,000 per carat while a glass-filled composite ruby is worth only $10 to $30 per carat.
However, even within the same ruby type, the value of a ruby can vary a lot depending on its quality. Just like diamonds, the quality of rubies is generally determined by the “Four C’s”: Color, Clarity, Carat, Cut.
Color is the most important factor in the 4 C’s. What makes a color a great color for ruby? Pay attention to these 3 things: hue, saturation, tone.
- Hue: Hue refers to the ruby’s basic color – it ranges from slight orange to strong orange to red to slight purple to strong purple. Black, white, gray, and brown refer to tones and saturation, not hues. The most highly prized hue for ruby is red. Rubies with overtones of orange or purple are less valued.
- Saturation: Saturation is the extent to which the hue is masked by brown or gray. The best ruby saturation is “vivid,” meaning the hue is a pure color without being masked by brown or gray.
- Tone: Tone refers to how light or dark a ruby is. It ranges between “light,” “medium-light,” “medium,” “medium-dark,” and “dark.” For ruby, a medium-dark tone is the best. Rubies that are too dark or too light are less valued.
Ruby can come in various shades of red from pink to blood-red. The most valuable color for ruby is a pure vivid blood-red color in medium-dark tone, not too light or too dark.
The clarity of a ruby refers to how many inclusions it has. Unlike diamonds, rubies do not have a Flawless (FL) or Internally Flawless (IF) grade of clarity. The highest clarity grade for ruby is Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS) – inclusions are minor and can only be seen under 10x magnification. Rubies with this clarity grade are referred to as “Eye Clean.”
The best cuts for a ruby highlights its color, maximizes its brilliance, minimizes its inclusions, and showcases good overall symmetry.
Oval and Cushion are the most popular cuts for rubies. Round, triangular, and pear cuts are also available, but they are rarely used on rubies of larger sizes and higher qualities.
High quality natural rubies over one carat are very rare and very expensive. As natural ruby goes above 1 carat in size, the price per carat increases exponentially. In comparison, it is possible to find lab made rubies above 1 carat that is still affordable.