Nuttalls Of Chester - Buying Rubies and Ruby Jewellery

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If you're not an expert, then buying Ruby Jewellery, Ruby Rings, Ruby Engagement Rings, Ruby Eternity Rings, Ruby Earrings, Bracelet and Bangles etc, can be a very daunting task. To help you out, Nuttalls of Chester have put together this little guide, which will hopefully help you make the right choice for your needs.


When buying your Ruby or Ruby Jewellery you should first consider the combination of the Ruby colour, clarity, weight and cut. As with any gems, there are trade-offs that have to be made, and once you choose the type and quality of Ruby, it usually comes down to simply choosing a colour of Ruby that you find attractive and that meets your budget.

Ruby is one of the hardest natural gemstones - with only Diamond and Moissanite being harder. It belongs to the class of minerals called Corundum - second only to diamond in its hardness. When it is any color other than red, it is called sapphire. Unlike diamond, which is made of carbon, ruby is a combination of aluminum and oxygen.

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Chemical Properties: The chemical formula for Ruby is Al2O3:Cr

Other Characteristics of Ruby:

Crystal System: trigonal (hexagonal scalenohedral)
Mohs' Scale Hardness: 9.0
Specific Gravity: 4.0
Index of Refraction: 1.77-1.78

Where is Ruby found?

The Mogok valley in upper Burma (also known as Myanmar) was for centuries the worlds most famous mining location, producing many of the best ever Rubies found, but in recent years very few quality Rubies have been found. Burmese rubies tend to be the most sought after variety of ruby because of their superior clarity, hue and saturation. Top quality rubies, however, also come from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Tanzania, Nepal, Pakistan, USA, Madagascar, Vietnam and Afghanistan, and most recently new deposits in Greenland and Kenya.

Buying Your Ruby Jewellery.

When purchasing Rubies there are several factors you need to consider - these are the 4 C's - Colour, Clarity, Carat Weight and Cut.

Ruby Colour.

Basically Ruby is found in various shades of red - pink crimson through to dark red, with the red colour mainly caused by traces of the element chromium. Ruby derives its name from the Latin word "Ruber," meaning red. It is the name given to the red variety of corundum, which in any other colour is called sapphire. Pink corundum is not considered “red” and is therefore not designated Ruby, but is instead labeled pink sapphire.

Hue refers to the Ruby's basic colour - red, slight orange, strong orange, slight purple, and strong purple. Saturation (also called colour purity and intensity) is the extent to which the hue is masked by brown or grey.

Tone refers to the amount of colour in the Ruby ranging from very light to very dark. The finest Ruby is described as being a vivid medium-dark toned red with the bright "pigeon blood" red hue (term originated from the Burmese mines) examples commanding huge premiums.

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Ruby Clarity.

Clarity is the second most important of the 4 C's when considering Ruby quality. Once again, the most universally accepted and most documented system is the GIA system but there are also numerous other trade based systems in use. All natural Rubies have imperfections, including internal colour impurities and external blemishes. As with diamonds, the clearer the stone the higher the price. But, it is very rare nowadays to find all but the very highest priced Ruby gems without deep-red "needle-like" or "silk" rutile (from the Latin rutilus for red) inclusions, basically traces of the element titanium dioxide with approximately 10% iron. Gemologists use these needle inclusions found in natural rubies to distinguish them from synthetics, simulants, or substitutes. Some Rubies show a 3-point or 6-point asterism or "star". These Rubies are cut into cabochons to display the effect properly. Asterisms are best visible with a single-light source, and move across the stone as the light moves or the stone is rotated. Such effects occur when light is reflected off the "silk" (the structurally oriented rutile needle inclusions) in a certain way. This is one example where inclusions increase the value of a gemstone. Furthermore, Rubies can show colour changes — though this occurs very rarely — as well as "chatoyancy" or the "cat's eye" effect.

The clarity of Ruby, as with all other gemstones, is officially classified as ranging from the best VVS (very, very, slightly included), to VS (very, slightly included), SI-S2 (slightly included), and down to I1,I2,13 (included).

Summary of possible Ruby Inclusions:

Crystals - solid inclusions of various shapes and sizes. Extremely small crystals are referred to as pinpoints or grains.

Silk - fine fibers of titanium dioxide (rutile) or other minerals that resemble the look of silk. Well-formed silk indicates that the ruby underwent no heat-treatment and is of natural origin. Silk is a preferred inclusions in rubies.

Needles - long, thin inclusions of either crystals, or tubes filled with gas or liquid (growth tubes). Cracks - feather-like inclusions also known as fractures or fissures.

Parting - breakage along a plane of weakness.

Twinning - two crystals grown out of one another or next to each other.

Halos - circular fractures surrounding a crystal.

Fingerprints - common in Ruby, these inclusions look like human fingerprints.

Colour zoning - uneven colour distribution in the Ruby.

Cavities - holes extending into the Ruby from the surface.

Chips - broken off pieces along the girdle or on the culet of the Ruby. Ruby Surface Blemishes:

Scratches - lines scraped on a gemstone.

Pits - tiny holes on the stone's surface.

Nicks - broken parts of a stone's girdle or facet.

Abrasions - rough scrapings along the stone's facet edges.


The degree of visibility through a Ruby is known as its transparency. It is an often-overlooked characteristic when discussing rubies. Transparency is designated as follows:

Transparent - objects look clear and distinct through the stone. These Rubies usually have excellent brilliance despite any inclusions they may have.

Semitransparent - objects look slightly hazy or blurry through the stone.

Translucent - objects are difficult to see through the ruby. Light can pass through, but it is somewhat diffused.

Semi-translucent or semi-opaque - a small fraction of light passes through the stone.

Opaque - almost no light passes through the stone.

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Ruby Weight (carats).

Size increases the value of a Ruby only after colour and clarity. If you have the choice between a 1 carat Ruby with "rich pigeon-blood red" colour and a 3 carat Ruby with a paler more pink color, most likely the 1 carat gemstone will be more valuable. However, a 3 carat Ruby with equally intense colour can be extremely expensive.

Small: Rubies that are 0.25-0.5 carat or less are common. In this size, Rubies other qualities like colour and cut are necessary for the stone to be remarkable.

Medium: Ruby is nicely sized at around 1-1.5 carats. Here we see some of the nicest examples. Large, showy stones are available relatively affordably and are often found in fine jewellery.

Large: Rubies at about 2 and above carats if accompanied with a nice cut and excellent colour can be a very special piece for your collection. A Ruby like this is usually found in very fine jewellery in the many thousands of pound range.

Huge: Sometimes bigger is not better. Very Large Rubies usually have poor colour and clarity, making them not as sought after as some smaller examples. Gems like this are not as rare as you might think and most people would find them cumbersome to wear.

Ruby Cut.

Ruby gemstones are available in all shapes. Rubies are so rare and expensive that cutters tend to shape them into ovals or cushions instead of round shapes (more popular in diamonds). Oval and cushion shapes preserve most of the original rough. Round rubies are also popular, but their final shape involves removing a lot of rough and they therefore tend to be more expensive than ovals and cushions.

The quality of cut in a Ruby (just like all gemstones) can make the difference between an average gemstone and an excellent gemstone. Esthetic value is affected by the quality of cut because the better the cut, the more reflection and sparkle the gem will give. However, whether a Ruby gets a perfect cut or not is usually a financial decision: the perfect cut usually means more of the gemstone is cut away and therefore has less carat weight.

The best Ruby cuts offer a depth/width ratio higher than comparable diamond cuts. Expect a depth percentage of 65% to 80% for good quality Rubies (the depth percentage is depth/width). Stones that are too deep will look smaller than expected but they will show off more colour than they would if they were cut to normal proportions. Deep-cut stones also preserve weight, increasing the cost of the stone without the expected increase in the size of the crown (top portion of the gem). Stones that are too shallow will look big for their weight and appear lighter in colour than deeper-cut stones. Good quality Rubies also have good symmetry when viewed in profile - reflecting the light evenly.

Ruby Treatments.

Improving the quality of gemstones by treating them is common practice. Some treatments are used in almost all cases and are therefore considered acceptable. During the late 1990s, a large supply of low-cost materials caused a sudden surge in supply of heat-treated Rubies, leading to a downward pressure on Ruby prices.

Improvements used include colour alteration, improving transparency by dissolving rutile inclusions, healing of fractures (cracks) or even completely filling them. The most common treatment is the application of heat. Most, if not all, Rubies (especially at the at the lower end of the market are heat treated on the rough stones to improve colour, remove purple tinge, blue patches and silk. These heat treatments typically occur around temperatures of 1800 °C (3300 °F). Some Rubies undergo a process of low tube heat, when the stone is heated over charcoal of a temperature of about 1300 °C (2400 °F) for 20 to 30 minutes. The silk is only partially broken as the colour is improved. In the jewellery industry it is assumed that all Ruby gemstones are heat treated unless otherwise specified. The Gemological Institute of America and other certification authorities ACCEPT this treatment; it is permanent and will not degrade over time.

Other treatments that are available to the jewellery industry such as fracture filling (glass infilling of cavities), surface diffusion (surface coloring treatment), oiling, dyeing or waxing HAVE NOT been performed on any of our gemstones. These treatments are temporary in nature and may require future maintenance.

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Fake Ruby and Simulants.

A good sign of fake Ruby is its price compared to clarity and colour. If you a see piece of Ruby Jewellery in which the Ruby are a bright and transparent rich-red colour and perfectly clear, while the price of the piece is under £15, you have reason to suspect that it's fake. Imitation Ruby gemstones go back as far as the Roman times - usually coloured glass beads. Today these "false" Rubies can be made up from coloured glass, synthetic lab created or synthetic spinal.

Our Last Word....

Here at Nuttalls of Chester Ltd, we strongly suggest you buy your Ruby Jewellery carefully. Expect to pay more for larger size gems and remember; at the end of the day, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder'". So choose the stones you want, not what you are led to believe you want! Whichever colour, size or shape of Ruby you choose, be sure to wear it and ENJOY IT!

With our exciting range of Ruby Jewellery you can be sure that buying your Ruby Jewellery from us is simple, hassle free and an enjoyable shopping experience. In our collection you can find a vast range of of quality Ruby Rings, Ruby Earrings, Ruby Pendants, Ruby Necklace, Ruby Bracelets and more.

Thank you for reading this article on purchasing Your Ruby Jewellery - We sincerely hope it helps in some way.

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