What’s important when choosing fine ruby jewellery?

Oct 21, 2022

Ruby necklace from The Perth Mint

Perhaps it’s a pair of diamond and ruby earrings for a 40th wedding anniversary present or you want to surprise your loved one with a stunning piece of ruby jewellery because it represents their July birthstone.

Whatever the reason, you’re going to want to make sure you’re investing in a quality gemstone to dazzle and delight for many years to come.

What should you look for when searching for a resplendent ruby?

Understanding the gemstone and its history first will allow you to be safe in the knowledge that you put your time and effort into the choice of gift, as well as enabling you to thoroughly appreciate not only the beauty of the stone, but fully grasp the rarity and natural artistry of the ruby.

History and meaning of July’s birthstone, ruby

The ruby has long been seen as a symbol of power, wealth, prosperity, good fortune and courage. Due to its hardness (only the diamond is harder) and rarity, many people in ancient India named the gem the ‘king of precious stones’ and believed it held mystical powers, adorning jewellery and crowns with rubies. And it wasn’t just the ancient Indians who believed in the powers of the stone; in past centuries, many thought rubies could predict disaster or danger, whilst others claimed the precious stones held healing properties, provided the wearer with wisdom and offered triumph in love.

With the birth of the western world, the ruby retained its importance, becoming one of the most desirable gems of the upper classes in Europe. Today, rubies are still seen as a symbol of passion due to the vivid red hue and are proffered as stunning, timeless gifts for 40th wedding anniversaries and are the official birthstone for July.

Where are rubies found?

Rubies and sapphires are both formed from the same mineral, corundum, but it’s the trace elements that give these precious stones their differing colours of red and blue. Even with their almost identical physical properties, however, rubies and sapphires are often mined in different areas across the globe.

Although rubies have been found all over the world, including Australia, Myanmar (formerly Burma) is known to have produced some of the finest, most vibrant rubies for more than 500 years.

Currently in Australia, the mining of ruby currently still occurs in Queensland and near the Macquarie and Cudgegong Rivers, as well as the Tumbarumba, Gloucester, and New England areas of New South Wales.

How do you measure a ruby’s quality and value?

In 2015, a 25.59 carat ruby ring sold at auction for more than USD 32.4 million, setting a new record for the sale of a coloured gemstone.

Colour and clarity

Rubies, rarer than sapphires, can command the highest price per carat of any coloured gemstone and it’s the colour which is the most important factor when it comes to quality and value. An investment ruby should vary from bright to purplish red. However, if it’s too dark it can look dull and too light it may be categorised as a pink sapphire, ultimately lowering the value. The name ‘Pigeon’s Blood’ has historically been used to describe the finest and most sought after rubies because of the vivid deep red colour. When it comes to clarity, the clearer the stone, the higher the price tag because of the rarity in finding rubies without inclusions. That said, almost all rubies have flaws. In fact, if it has none, it is likely a fake!

Cut and carat

So as not to waste any crystal material and to maximise the appearance of stone size when cutting rubies, round, oval and cushion cuts are the most common shapes for jewellery. Any ruby categorised as over one carat, is considered rare and therefore incredibly valuable.

It’s important to note that rubies are often heat treated to remove purple colouration, leaving a brighter and clearer red, and this process is generally accepted by the gemstone trade, however this needs to be disclosed at point of sale. The recommendation is to ask if the ruby has been treated and if so, by which method. A GIA Identification Report is important in identifying if a stone is natural or synthetic and whether it has been treated in any way.

Where can you purchase quality rubies?

Buying a unique piece of ruby jewellery should not only be an enjoyable experience, but you should be safe in the knowledge that what you’re purchasing is of high quality and will last you a lifetime.

In our landmark heritage-listed building, our elegant jewellery boutique is home to some of the world’s most exclusive diamond and gemstone jewellery. When it comes to our luxury ruby collection, we offer pieces from countries around the world, including Mozambique, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Many pieces are accompanied by a certificate of authenticity, as well as the peace of mind that comes with choosing to make a purchase from a Government of Western Australia-owned enterprise with a long-standing reputation for quality and integrity.

As Perth’s premier jewellery destination, our elegantly appointed boutique offers an unsurpassed range of sophisticated and stunning ruby jewellery, perfect for the 40th wedding anniversary or as a July birthstone gift for a loved one.

Book your appointment today and one of our highly trained consultants can take time to assist you in making the perfect choice. The Perth Mint Shop is home to an extensive and unique range of treasures which can only be fully appreciated in-store.