Ruby Pricing Guide (What Determines It’s Price)
What determines the price of a ruby? The answer is far from simple. Rubies have fascinated human beings for centuries, and it’s easy to see why. The ravishing beauty of intense, blood-red rubies, and their rarity make them one of the most highly prized gemstones in the world. Our ruby pricing guide will give you all the insights you need about these dazzling gemstones.
Rubies are a popular alternative to diamonds in engagement rings and jewelry. They are also very hardy gemstones that make great long-term investments. Ranking 9.0 on the Moh’s scale of hardness, rubies are only second to diamond and equal to sapphire in hardness. Ruby is considered the rarest of the “big three” gemstones, the other two being sapphire and emerald.
Before making a decision to acquire these beautiful gemstones, it’s best to educate yourself about what truly makes a ruby’s worth.
A ruby’s grading is primarily based on the following factors:
- Country of origin
In addition to the 4 C’s, a ruby’s value changes significantly based on its country of origin. Rubies come from many parts of the world, but rubies from particular countries will be valued much higher than those from others.
It is also common to find highly enhanced and lab-created rubies in the market. These are much cheaper than natural rubies. We will discuss these factors in more detail further in this ruby pricing guide.
Let’s understand how the above affect a ruby’s worth.
A ruby’s color is the most important factor that comes into play when assessing its value. The most desirable and highly prized rubies are those that possess an intense, deeply saturated red color. The purer and more intense the color, the higher the value of a ruby.
“Pigeon blood-red” stones are considered the most valuable among all rubies for their vividly fluorescent red color. There are vivid shades of rubies that do not fall within the range of pigeon blood-red stones, but are highly valued nevertheless.
Rubies with pinkish or purplish tones are valued less than the purer colored rubies. A stone’s value will be lowered further as their color becomes darker or duller.
Gemologists generally analyze the color factor based on three properties: hue, tone, and saturation. The hue of a stone refers to its basic color (e.g. red, blue, green, yellow etc.). Tone is the quality of a stone’s depth of color from light to dark. Saturation refers to the intensity of gemstone’s color, and can range from light to strong, to vivid.
A basic grasp of these three factors can help you select the best ruby that fits your budget and gets you the best value for money.
2. Country of Origin
Rubies are found all over the world and have their own distinctive qualities according to their country of origin. The best rubies are known to come from Burma (Myanmar), but rubies are also found in countries such as Australia, United States, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Madagascar.
Rubies from Burma (now known as Myanmar) are widely regarded as the world’s most valued rubies. They possess a distinctive, deep-red color that is prized by jewelers and collectors around the world. Myanmar is also renowned for its pigeon blood rubies, which occur in far greater frequency than in any other ruby producing region.
African rubies from countries like Mozambique and Madagascar are only second to Burmese rubies in popularity. These rubies are known to have a characteristic dark-red color with tinges of reddish-purple. African rubies are also generally more affordable than Burmese rubies.
There are rubies produced in many countries such as Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam but these aren’t regarded, or valued as highly as Burmese rubies.
Rubies that have not been heated or treated in any way to enhance color are considered the benchmark among these gemstones. That being said, heat-treated rubies are also used widely in jewelry and are considered acceptable in spite of their lower value when compared to unheated stones.
The value difference between a heated and unheated African ruby in the scale of 1 to 2 carats is not significantly large, but we recommend selecting the unheated ruby over a heated one. For example, a 1 carat unheated African ruby can be valued upto $2,000 per carat where a heated African ruby with similar qualities would cost approximately $1,500 per carat.
Nevertheless, the price difference between an unheated and heated ruby of over 2 carats could be much higher.
This is particularly true for Burmese rubies, where the price difference between heated and unheated stones can be much higher. For example, a 2 carat, high-quality heated Burmese ruby can cost in the range of $7,000 per carat. An unheated ruby of the same quality on the other hand could cost up to $20,000 per carat.
Clarity is the term attributed to the presence (or absence) of natural inclusions in a gemstone. Inclusions are naturally occurring mineral formations within a gemstone. All natural rubies are known to have some level of inclusions in them. Rubies are generally known for being more included than sapphires, therefore the presence of inclusions in rubies should be considered a matter of fact.
Inclusions may not be visible to the naked eye, but can be clearly visible under magnification. Their absence could indicate that a stone may have undergone some kind of treatment, or is of synthetic origin.
“Eye-clean” rubies are the most prized of all rubies when analyzing their clarity factor. Eye-clean means the gemstone is free of inclusions when viewed by the naked eye. Eye-clean rubies are very rare to find, and most rubies will contain inclusions visible to the eye. The value that a ruby can command will be greater as the clarity of the stone increases. We at Gemdaia recommend slightly included rubies as they provide the best value for money. The scarcity of eye-clean rubies make them extremely expensive, and may not suit the practicalities of most buyers.
It goes without saying that the bigger a gemstone is, the higher its price tag. Unlike color, the size factor is not the primary variable that determines a ruby’s value, but it is important nevertheless. Every ruby’s value increases exponentially with every gradual increase in its carat weight.
Rubies are commonly found in 1 carat sizes. Stones that weigh over 2 carats are considerably rarer and are prized much higher than sapphires of equal size.
Rubies of over 3 carats, such as this exceptional specimen in our store are extremely rare. These are considered far rarer than diamonds of the same weight.
The faceting of a gemstone is referred to as its cut. Cut is the final factor that is considered in the ruby grading process. The color and clarity of a ruby takes far greater importance than its cut, but a finely cut ruby can enhance its reflectiveness and color. Rubies are generally cut in several standard shapes such as round, oval, pear, cushion, and cabochon, but the oval and cushion cuts are most popular among buyers.
There are many factors to consider when looking to purchase a ruby. They are the most valuable among colored gemstones, and an informed decision can help you make the correct choice that balances beauty with financial sense.
Rubies are available for a range of prices that can suit your budget. For color, we always recommend that you go for vividly colored red rubies. For African rubies of 1 to 2 carats, we strongly suggest you choose unheated stones. But if you have a more accommodating budget and want a ruby with more value, we recommend that you consider 1 to 2 carat heated Burmese rubies.
We hope our ruby pricing guide helped you get a clearer picture of the factors to consider when looking for the best value for your investment.
Rubies are an excellent choice of gemstone for engagement rings and jewelry, and our online custom jewelry creation portal can help you design a unique piece of jewelry to compliment your gemstone of choice.
You can look forward to more useful information about gemstones in our upcoming blogs!