Beyond the Size

Untreated Rubies: Rarity Value and Key Considerations for Purchase

The Rarity and Value of Untreated Rubies

Rubies are highly valuable gemstones that have been sought after for centuries by royalty, celebrities, and collectors. While they have always been treasured, the rarity of untreated rubies has increased their appeal in recent years.

In this article, we will explore the factors that make untreated rubies so rare and valuable, and what you should look for when purchasing one for yourself. Rare, Heat-treated Rubies

Rubies are usually formed from a mineral named corundum, which is found in many parts of the world and used for industrial purposes.

However, pure red corundum is rare and is what is used to make rubies. The formation of pure red corundum requires specific geological conditions and is extremely uncommon, making the gemstone itself very rare.

In the past, many rubies were heat-treated to enhance their color and clarity. While it is now common to treat rubies, untreated natural rubies are a rarity.

When a ruby is not treated, it is in its purest form, and its unique qualities and characteristics are allowed to shine through.

Factors that Increase the Value of Rubies

The value of untreated rubies is greatly influenced by various factors, including the ruby’s color, carat weight, cut, and light transfer. The color of a ruby is the most crucial characteristic and determines the stone’s overall appearance.

Rubies that display a deep, rich red color are highly sought after and carry a higher value. Another essential factor that affects its value is the cutting of the stone.

Rubies that are expertly cut and shaped will have a higher value than those that aren’t. The cutting style, coupled with the carat weight, gives the ruby its overall size and appearance on the jewelry that it will be set in.

Carat weight refers to the actual weight of the stone. A larger stone will command a higher price than a smaller one of the same quality.

When buying rubies by weight, it is important to note that pricing varies by the gram or $ per carat, as well as the value of a single stone. Light transfer is an essential characteristic in assessing the quality of a ruby.

An adequately cut ruby will reflect light in a specific manner that allows light to enter the stone and exit in a stunning display of color. When assessing a ruby, you should pay close attention to its light reflection ability.

Correlation between Carat Weight and Value

Although the value of a ruby can vary significantly based on several factors, the carat weight of the stone is a significant component. The larger the stone, the higher the value it will hold.

However, larger rubies are much more challenging to find, and therefore, their price will reflect their rarity. A single stone’s value is usually much higher than the cumulative price of multiple smaller stones that weigh the same.

Rubies and Sapphires

Rubies and sapphires are both minerals that are composed of corundum or aluminum oxide (Al2O3). The only difference between them is their color.

When corundum is colored red, it is considered a ruby, and when it has any other hue, it is a sapphire. Sapphires are available in various colors such as blue, yellow, pink, green, and almost any other color except red.

However, some pink-colored rubies can often be classified as pink sapphires. Regardless of color, sapphires remain valuable and are also great alternatives to consider when looking for precious stones.


In conclusion, while treated rubies have their appeal, untreated rubies are the rarest form of the gemstone, making them highly valuable and coveted. The pure qualities of a natural ruby, coupled with the unique characteristics that make them rare, drive their value.

When purchasing rubies, it is crucial to consider factors such as color, light transfer, carat weight, and the cutting style, which all contribute to the gemstone’s desirability and worth.

Corundum Facts

Corundum is a mineral that is primarily made up of aluminum oxide and is highly valued for its beauty and durability. In this article, we will explore some interesting facts about corundum, including its formation, the rarities that make rubies rare, and the unique hardness of rubies compared to other minerals.

Formation of Corundum in Igneous Rocks

Corundum is typically formed in igneous rocks that have undergone slow cooling processes. This type of cooling allows for large crystals to form, which are necessary for the formation of corundum.

Furthermore, the rocks in which corundum is formed have a low silicon content but are rich in aluminum. Silicon-free rocks have a high concentration of aluminum.

The abundance of aluminum ensures the formation of corundum, and it is from these rocks that rubies are mined. Most rubies are formed in metamorphic rocks, which have undergone changes in temperature and pressure.

Rarities That Make Rubies Rare

One primary rarity that contributes to the value of rubies is their complicated formation process. Besides, rubies are formed in specific kinds of rocks, namely silicon-free and aluminum-rich rocks.

Due to the abundance of aluminum in these rocks, their corundum can turn into red or pink rubies. Additionally, rubies are often associated with small crystal faces, making them highly coveted in the world of fine jewelry.

When small crystal faces are present, light can be optimally reflected within the stone due to fewer internal obstructions within the gem. The purity of the stone contributes to the amount of light that is reflected, making the ruby shine brilliantly.

Rubies Are Tough

Rubies are considered one of the toughest minerals in the world. They are the third hardest mineral after diamonds and moissanite, respectively.

This ranking is based on the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness. The ranking is essential to the durability of the mineral and, in particular, to its resistance to scratches, wear, and tear.

Jewelers and lapidarists who work with rubies have a process that enhances the ruby’s ability to transfer light effectively. The initial design phase of a ruby’s cut is essential for optimal light transfer.

It is crucial to make the initial cuts at the proper angles to establish the path that light will travel within the ruby. During the cutting process, clamps and hardware keep the ruby in place to avoid it from getting damaged.

The cutting tools are made up of various materials, such as diamond-coated tools to grind facets accurately. Finally, a lapidarist uses fine grinding tools to smooth the edges of the ruby and shape the gem to achieve its attractive appearance.


In conclusion, corundum is a mineral that comprises aluminum oxide and has significant value in the world of jewelry. Rubies, which are a type of corundum with a red or pink hue, have gained popularity over the years due to their rarity and beauty.

They are tough minerals, and when cut correctly, their beauty shines bright. The formation process of rubies and their associated rarities, coupled with the expertise required in cutting them for optimal light transfer, make them highly desirable and valuable.

Other Ways to Change the Look of a Ruby

The color and appearance of rubies can be changed through various treatments. One common technique is heat-treating the gemstone to intensify its deep red hue and give it a smoother appearance.

In this section, we will explore the process of heat-treating rubies, the associated risks and considerations.

Common Practice of Heat-Treating Rubies to Change Color and Appearance

Heat-treating rubies is a common industry practice to enhance their final appearance. This process involves heating the stone to high temperatures to intensify its red color and eliminate any impurities present.

Rubies that have undergone heat treatment typically command higher prices due to their brighter, more uniform color.

Risks and Considerations of Heat-Treatment on Rubies

Although heat-treating rubies can be beneficial, there are risks involved. The process of heat-treating can lighten the stone, thus devaluing it.

Furthermore, it can eliminate the natural fingerprint or inclusions present in the stone, giving it a smooth, polycyclic appearance. While this can enhance the beauty of the gem in some cases, it can also reduce the value of the stone.

The pros and cons of heat treatment should be thoroughly considered before making any alterations.

Ruby Mining Today

Ruby mining is a global industry, with different regions worldwide known for producing high-quality rubies. In this section, we discuss the current ruby mining regions and precautions to take when buying rubies from these locations.

Current Ruby Mining Regions

Afghanistan, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka are the primary ruby mining regions today. Each region produces top-quality rubies that have unique qualities and characteristics.

For example, Burmese rubies from Myanmar carry a premium due to their vibrant red color and inclusions called silk.

Precautions When Buying Rubies from These Regions

When seeking to buy rubies from any of these mining regions, it is essential to do diligent research, work with reputable gem dealers, and establish authenticity through proper certification. Due to the rarity and high value of rubies, there are fraudulent dealers in the market that pass off synthetic stones as authentic.

Even reputable dealers could unknowingly source their stones from individuals who use unlawful mining practices, during which miners face dangerous working conditions and poor wages. To avoid falling victim to counterfeit dealers, it is crucial to do one’s due diligence when purchasing ruby jewelry.

One should buy from reputable dealers, check with other gem dealers, and obtain a certification. Rubies need to pass industry-standard tests, such as a measure of their refractive index or specific gravity, to confirm their authenticity and quality.


Ruby mining and enhancing techniques have evolved over time. Heat-treating rubies has become a common practice to enhance the color of the gemstone.

Ruby mining regions are spread globally, and rubies from each region carry unique characteristics and value. It is important to work with reputable gem dealers, obtain proper certifications, and do due diligence when buying ruby jewelry to ensure that the stone being purchased is authentic and from reliable sources.

In this way, individuals can take steps to preserve the integrity of the ruby industry while enjoying the beauty and value of our precious gems.

Buying Smaller Rubies

Rubies, like other precious stones, are available in varying sizes and shapes. Rubies that are less than one carat in weight are more affordable, while those that are over one-carat weight tend to command higher prices.

In this section, we will explore the price differences of smaller rubies, the factors that impact the price of finished rubies, and options for avoiding inclusions.

Price Differences between Rubies under 1 Carat and over 1 Carat

Rubies are cheaper per carat under one carat, with prices ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 per carat, depending on quality, cut, and other factors. When the ruby is over one carat, the price per carat significantly increases due to the rarity of larger rubies.

The price of rubies over one carat can range between $4,000 and $50,000 per carat. The carat weight of a ruby significantly impacts its value.

Larger rubies are rarer to find and much more challenging to cut, boosting their value. Despite this, smaller rubies, when designed and paired thoughtfully, can be incorporated into beautiful pieces of jewelry that remain valuable.

Factors That Impact the Price of Finished Rubies

Many factors impact the price of finished rubies. First and foremost is the gemstone’s color, which must be a rich, deep red hue with excellent saturation and tone.

A ruby’s shape must be symmetrical and uniform. Level of inclusions within the stone is another crucial factor.

“Fingerprints,” which are a type of inclusion resembling a human fingerprint, can either increase or decrease the value of the ruby depending on their presence and appearance.

Options for Avoiding Inclusions

Individuals who want to avoid rubies with inclusions can try purchasing a cluster or pair of small rubies with polished inclusions. These stones can be reasonably priced and attractive with minimal visible inclusions.

The final appearance of smaller rubies depends on how they are cut and paired. For instance, rubies cut into unconventional shapes often hide inclusions and give the stone more character.

Protecting Yourself from Ruby Fraud

Ruby fraud is a significant issue in the industry. Therefore, it is essential to know your jeweler and their supply chain.

This step is critical for high-end jewelry that will carry a premium. When buying rubies, be sure to establish the authenticity of the stones through certification and work with reputable gem dealers.

It is also important to inquire about the source of the rubies to ensure they did not come from mines associated with inhumane labor and poor working conditions. Take the time to check with other jewelers or gem dealers also to ensure the stones are not counterfeit and to establish the stone’s actual market value.


The process of purchasing rubies can be complex, given the numerous factors that influence its value and rarity. Small rubies can be purchased at a lower cost, and their overall quality and value depend on how they are cut and paired.

The value of larger rubies is dependent on their striking hue, symmetry, and level of inclusions. Being cautious about where you purchase your rubies is essential, to avoid counterfeit stones or stones mined with inhumane labor practices.

It’s crucial to work with reputable dealers and obtain proper certifications to ensure that your ruby jewelry is authentic and valuable. In conclusion, rubies are precious gemstones that are highly valued for their rarity, beauty, and toughness.

They are available in various sizes and shapes, with smaller rubies offering an affordable alternative to larger, more valuable stones. When purchasing rubies, it is essential to know the factors that impact their value, how to avoid fraudulent sellers, and understand the impact of various treatments such as heat-treating.

Through proper research and working with reputable dealers, individuals can obtain the best rubies for their budget and ensure that their jewelry is authentic and valuable. FAQs:

– What is the rarity of untreated rubies?

Untreated natural rubies are rare and in their purest form. – What are the key factors to consider when purchasing rubies?

Color, carat weight, cut, and light transfer are significant factors to consider when buying rubies. – What are the risks of heat-treating rubies?

Heat-treating can lighten the stone, removing its natural fingerprint, making it appear polished and potentially devaluing it. – What is the significance of knowing your jeweler and supply chain?

It is essential when purchasing high-end ruby jewelry as it provides protection against fraud and ensures that the ruby has been ethically sourced. – What are some precautions to take when buying rubies from specific mining regions?

Do diligent research, work with reputable dealers, and check with other jewelers or gem dealers to obtain proper certification and avoid purchasing counterfeit or fraudulently sourced rubies.

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