Rubies are historically some of the more glamorous and precious gems in history, and if you love these gems, you are likely thinking about acquiring some for yourself. Shopping for rubies requires time and some thought regarding what you want, so be sure that you consider a few important points when it comes to ruby purchase.
Understanding Ruby Treatments
Unless otherwise noted, all rubies have undergone heat treatment to enhance the color and and the vibrancy of the gem. This is widely accepted treatment, and it does not affect the ruby’s longevity or quality. However, filling fractures with glass, surface treatments and waxing are less desirable treatments that can degrade the gem over time. Talk with your jeweler about whether the gems in question have undergone any of these treatments and make sure that you know how you feel about them before you proceed.
When most of us think of rubies, we think of a red gemstone. However, rubies come in a wide variety of reds. Some are fairly pink in color, while others are a deep rose. The classic ruby is a deep, almost bluish red, but you’ll find that there are some rubies that are so dark, they are nearly black! The more vibrantly-colored the ruby is, the more pricey it tends to be. Hints of brown and gray in the color tend to pull away from the ruby’s value. The key thing is to find a ruby color that is desirable to you.
Rubies are crystals, and as such, they are prone to blemishes like inclusions, cavities and scratches. The ruby that you choose will be graded using a gem system, with the rating VVS meaning that minor inclusions can only be seen under 10x magnification, and the rating I3 meaning that there are many prominent flaws. In between, there are many grades to choose from, so talk the details over with your jeweler. The clarity of a ruby affects its appearance, so be sure that you consider the look of your ruby. If necessary, ask for a jeweler’s loupe and inspect the stone yourself. Alternately, you can also confine your search to gems that have been rated by a reliable gemological organization.
Rubies are also judged based on how well light passes through them. A transparent ruby is clear and provides excellent brilliance after it is cut. On the other hand, an opaque ruby allows almost no light to pass through the stone. Many rubies are semi-transparent or translucent, meaning that some light or diffused light can pass through the stone.
Determine the cut that you most prefer. Modern rubies are often given a brilliant cut, which uses a flat top and a cone-shaped bottom to create the maximum amount of light refraction within the gem. Compared to diamonds, rubies are typically cut to have very deep pavilions, which are the pointed parts at the bottom. A well-cut ruby throws back lots of light without looking too deep.
Take a few minutes to think about rubies and what you need to know in order to buy the one that is right for you.