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Once you’ve decided you want to invest in some sort of jewelry, there will be a few things you should start to consider, such as price, size, quality, and color. Whether it’s rubies, diamonds, or pearls, each will come with its own set of specs, and these will help you to choose the best one for your needs.

If you’ve never purchased a ruby before, there are certainly a few factors you’ll want to consider beforehand. This will ensure that you understand what you’re looking for and whether a seller is offering what you’ve described.

Rubies are a result of the mineral corundum, which is a very hard aluminum oxide. Red corundum is ruby, while all other colors are sapphire. Many have argued which colors can be considered ruby, and whether or not pink is really a ruby or a sapphire, based on its position on the color wheel. In general, dealers prefer to have their rubies considered red, as opposed to pink sapphires, as this greatly enhances their value.

If you’re hoping to purchase your own ruby, but need some guidance, the following is a list of 9 steps to help you choose a quality ruby:


1.Compare Color

image002For rubies, color is one of the most important factors that indicate its quality. While not every culture agrees on the coloring of a ruby and how it reflects value, general knowledge is that a vibrant, pure red is the most valuable color for a ruby. This hue can be slightly purple, but only just. If the red becomes too purplish, or goes toward an orange hue, then it is considered to be lower in value.

Those who are looking for a high-quality ruby should be looking for the highest saturation of red. If the ruby is too light or too dark in color, then you might expect to pay a lower price. When the stone becomes too bright, the hue is considered to be moving toward a pink color or “pink sapphire.”

Pink sapphires are much lighter rubies; however, they are still brilliant in hue. In some areas, such as Sri Lanka, the pink sapphire is considered to be very high in value and is therefore valued just as highly as a deep red ruby.

The best way to know if you’ve chosen a quality ruby by color is to compare the hue to blood. Many image003people use the term “blood red” or “pigeon blood” to describe valuable rubies that have the deepest red hue, similar to that in our veins.

Depending on where you are, the color of the ruby may be of higher or lower value. If you are not looking to spend a large amount, you may consider rubies that are more pink or purplish in color. It’s important to note that while these rubies may be of lesser value than a blood red ruby, each is still magnificent and very valuable, regardless.


2.Choose a Cut

A ruby in its most natural state determines the types of shapes which can be cut from it. A flat, hexagonal shape is the most common that rubies are found in; however, some are found in more elongated positions. Based on the shape they’re most commonly found in, rubies are most easily cut into ovals and cushions, and you will find there are more options when it comes to this shape.

image004If you’re looking for something a little more unique, rubies are also quite common in rounded rectangles and squares, as well as in kite shapes and triangles. Those shapes which are even more unique and not generally produced in large quantities include pear, round, and emerald cuts.

Generally, the cut is not a large dictator of the value of the ruby; the shapes are more a reflection of the cutter’s decisions based on weight, appearance of colors inside the ruby, and the way light travels through the ruby.  Those who are looking for one of the more unique shapes, however, may find it more difficult to find these cuts, as they are made in smaller quantities.

Be aware that what makes a good cut is a matter of opinion. Generally, what you’re looking for with cut are balanced proportions, a good sparkle, and a depth that is not too shallow.


3. Look for Windowing

One of the things to look for when you’re deciding between rubies is how much “windowing” there is.Windowing is present when you look into a ruby, and it appears that you can see right through it from different angles (hence, the image005window name). These areas are considered unattractive, and their quality will be much lower than those with less or no windowing.


4. Inspect the Clarity

image006If you’re searching for a ruby of very high quality, then you’ll certainly want to take its clarity into consideration. To check for clarity, you can ask about inclusions within the ruby, which affect the clarity and the ruby’s value. “Inclusions” is a term in mineralogy that refers to a solid mass or a body of liquid or air that is trapped inside the mass of a mineral.

It is extremely rare to find rubies that are close to or completely inclusion-free. You should always accept at least a few inclusions in every ruby, which have an effect on the brightness and transparency of each. The more inclusions a ruby has, the less bright and brilliant it will appear. If there are too many inclusions, there is also a threat of the ruby becoming damaged should the mass be too close to the surface; this can diminish the strength of the ruby.

One of the most common mineral inclusions is known as a “needle.” There can be a large group of needles in any one ruby, and when the needles are grouped together and intersect, this is referred to as “silk.” Needles come in all shapes and sizes, and may break off in single needles or weave tightly together.

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Another thing you’ll want to look out for when choosing a quality ruby is the amount of extinctions. These extinctions cause patches that are black or gray, and they have the ability to block sun from reaching certain areas in the ruby. A ruby with too many extinctions loses a lot of its value, so be sure to check for these shadow areas when making your decision. If you’d like to avoid extinctions, consider a shallower ruby, which is less likely to have these kinds of effects.While many of these needles can be harmful to the clarity of the ruby, some may enhance the look of it image008by lighting up darker, more purple areas. This can help to lighten the surface area and create a more balanced color throughout. A very rare effect that’s also highly sought after is known as the “cat’s eye” effect or “asterism” design, which occurs when the stone is cut with an upper surface that is curved. The image creates an elongated star through the middle of the ruby.


5. Compare Saturation

image009Saturation within a ruby might also be referred to as its purity or intensity. The blood red rubies described earlier, also known as vivid rubies, have the best level of saturation. They give off the most brilliant colors with the highest value. Behind vivid rubies are strong rubies, which may still be very vibrant but have a few error spots that decrease their value. Weak rubies have the lowest saturation and may have a lot of significant brown or gray coloring that diminishes the brilliance.

When choosing a quality ruby, you’ll be able to see the difference when you compare high quality rubies with those of lower quality. Depending on the amount you want to spend, this will greatly affect the type of ruby that you leave with; however, there are lots of levels of saturation, so you can still find quality in lower values.


6. Consider Treatment

Many rubies on the market are heat treated to help enhance their color or quality, and this kind of treatment is permanent. The different practices of heat treatment are widely accepted and should not be frowned upon if this treatment is disclosed on a ruby.

Other treatments can include permanent dying and filling the rubies to hide their inclusions, or to image010brighten up the stones and make them look more transparent. It’s also possible for a ruby to be covered in a film that masks flaws throughout the ruby; however, this may rub off after time, and it does decrease the value of the ruby.

While it does not affect the performance of the ruby, it seems that natural, non-heated rubies have begun to take over in popularity and are much more sought after. As a result, heat-treated rubies may be sold at somewhat higher prices because of the extra requirements. No matter how your ruby has been treated, make sure that you practice good ruby care and cleaning to keep your rubies looking their best.


7. Size and Weight

image011Rubies sizes and weights vary. It’s good to know that the price per carat in a ruby increases dramatically as the size increases. If you’re looking at commercial-quality rubies, a 5-carat ruby may sell for 10 times as much as a 1-carat ruby; if you’re looking at fine-quality rubies, a 5-carat ruby might sell for triple the amount of a 1-carat ruby.

As you can see, size and carat are both very important to the increased value and pricing of a ruby.


8. Request Authenticity

When you purchase your ruby, ensure that it comes with a certificate of authenticity. You will want to image012know whether the ruby is artificially made in a laboratory or whether it is natural, as this can sometimes be hard to distinguish unless the price is significantly lower.

Make sure that the ruby you’re purchasing has any information disclosed, in terms of the treatments performed, before you make your decision. If you’re looking for higher quality, something more natural is a good way to go. You wouldn’t want to spend a lot of money on something that has been tampered with or which conceals flaws that may be revealed later.

 

9. Come Preparedimage013

Before shopping for a ruby, it’s a very good idea to do some preparation before you go into the store. There are a lot of factors that decide the value, quality, and price of a ruby, and it can be very difficult for some shoppers to decide exactly what they want if they aren’t educated about the product.

If you’re new to shopping for rubies, it’s a good idea to become familiar with some of the gemstone lingo you might hear, and to have an idea of what you’re looking for. Do you know what you want to spend? Do you know what cut you like? Having a basic idea of what you are and aren’t looking for can help you pinpoint rubies that are more to your liking.

You can ask employees for help with your needs, or you can bring in photos of your ideal ruby. Regardless of what you’re looking for, be prepared to have a set budget and a level of quality that you want to see. This will help you to sift through the rubies that don’t meet your expectations and help you to compare rubies that meet your requirements.


Conclusion

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Rubies are very beautiful. If you’re looking to purchase one, then you’re certainly looking to make yourself or someone else special very happy! Ensure that you are well-informed, before heading in, with the information listed above. This information will help you to decide what kind of ruby you’re looking for and what makes a ruby more or less valuable in the marketplace.

If you’re still unsure about choosing a ruby, consider bringing a friend with you to help make the process easier. A second pair of eyes can always help you compare rubies, and they might also be able to help you decide between colors and cuts.