Corundum is a mineral that can be found in many colors, such as blue corundum (generally just called sapphire) and red corundum (ruby) as well as many other colors.

Today, we’ll focus on the variety that made corundum famous—ruby.

Gemstone Library: Corundum Ruby

This stunning gemstone is known for its fiery red hue and is one of the most sought-after gems in the world. Let’s take a closer look at why rubies are so special!


Rubies have been treasured by many cultures throughout history.

In ancient India, it was believed that wearing a ruby would bring good fortune and protection from harm.

In Chinese culture, rubies were associated with power and success.

The ancient Greeks believed rubies had magical properties that could protect against evil forces and restore lost youth.

Rubies are thought to protect the wearer from evil-remember Dorothy's ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz.

Ruby-Red Slippers

Even today, rubies remain popular in jewelry because of their beautiful color and symbolism.

The color of a ruby is what sets it apart from other corundums—it ranges from orange-red to deep crimson red, depending on the stone’s origin and quality.

This vibrant hue has come to be known as the “color of love” because of its association with passion and romance.

As such, it is popular choice for engagement rings, wedding bands, and other types of jewelry meant to symbolize love or devotion.

Emerald-Cut Ruby Engagement Ring with Diamond Halo

What Makes Rubies Special?

The unique beauty of ruby lies within its brilliant color. This makes it an ideal choice for jewelry that will last for generations to come – such as engagement rings or heirloom pieces passed down through generations.

Rubies can be set into gold or platinum settings, and combined with diamonds to enhance their beauty even further, making them even more desirable among jewelry lovers!

Ruby and padparadscha sapphires (peachy- pink sapphires) are the only two members of the corundum family with their own names.

Vintage Inspired Oval Ruby Bracelet with Diamonds

Physical Properties:


Corundum-Variety, red corundum-Ruby




Al2O3 +CR  Aluminum Oxide - trace amounts of chromium


All shades of red, and from pinkish-red, purplish-red, orangey-red, brownish-red, to dark red.


Colorless corundum with trace amounts of chromium


Myanmar (Burma) Sri Lanka Thailand Cambodia Vietnam Mozambique Kenya Tanzania Madagascar Nepal India Australia- U.S. (Montana, Wyoming, and South Carolina)

Although this list may seem as if rubies are abundant, large crystals are rarely found and most deposits where fine quality rough is located are small, nonetheless there is a huge demand for rubies.


Heat treatment to dissolve common inclusions such as rutile needles (silk)  improves clarity.

Heat-treated stones also show improved color. Colorless surface oils-bring out the surface luster.

Graduated Ruby and Diamond Journey Earrings


9 - quite scratch-resistant




Basic jewelry care: mild liquid soap, warm water, and a soft brush.


Following the death of Elizabeth Taylor in 2011, her jewelry collection was put up for auction at Christie's. A ring crafted by Van Cleef & Arpels, featuring an 8.24-carat ruby brought in $4,200,000.

To learn more about the incredible jewelry collection of Ms. Taylor, read:

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair With Jewelry

Ruby and synthetic rubies are used in the movements of Swiss watches to prevent the gears from grinding against each other.


Where are the most valuable rubies on exhibit in the U.S.?

  • The de Long Star Ruby, 100 Carats is in the American Museum of Natural History, New York
  • The Rosser Reeves Star Ruby, 138.7- carats, is in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
  • Myanmar crystal, 196.10 carats is in the Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, California
  • To feast your eyes on more gorgeous rubies, visit the Grainger Hall of Gems, in the Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois. One of the largest gem collections in the world.

What is the most expensive ruby ever sold?

The most expensive ruby ever sold was the The Sunrise Ruby (set in a Cartier ring) sold by Sotheby's at their 2015 sale; the ruby weighs 25.59 carats. The hammer price - $30,335,698.

What are "pigeon's blood" rubies?

Pigeon's blood is the color description given to rubies exhibiting a vivid, vibrant and saturated red, with a hint of blue.

The description is reserved for the finest rubies originating from the Mokok mine in Myanmar (Burma.)

Rubies of this quality are always accompanied by a gemological report confirming their origin, quality factors and whether a gem has been subjected to treatment. Rubies that can not be made any more beautiful by heat treatment, sell at a premium!

Reputable labs, such as the GIA Gem Trade Lab or Gubelin Gem Laboratory in Switzerland provide these reports.

GIA Colored Gemstone Report

What is the difference between a ruby and a pink sapphire?

This question has been and remains one of the biggest debates in the gemological community and among gem dealers.

Where does one draw the line between pink and red?

In order for a ruby to earn that exalted title and pedigree-ruby, the red must be very saturated, in fact in the United States, rubies must reach a certain saturation level to qualify.

The problem arises for those stones that hover on the line between pink and red.

The difference in the per carat price between pink sapphires and rubies is vast, and because color perception is quite subjective, who decides?

In most cases, a number of gemologists examine the stones and a consensus is reached.

Pink Sapphire-Right: Ruby-Left

What are star rubies?

Natural Star Ruby-Left Synthetic Star Ruby-Right

Star rubies are rubies that exhibit a six rayed star pattern on their surface. Stones must be cut "en-cabochon" smooth domes to bring out the star. The star pattern is caused by rutile fibers within the stones.

The star moves across the surface of stone, as the light or the stone moves. Synthetic gems that exhibit asterism (star effect) were first created by Union Carbide in the 1940s.

In Conclusion:

Ruby is a stunning gemstone with a long history steeped in symbolism, tradition and represents love.

Its vibrant red hue has become synonymous with passion and romance, making it an ideal choice for engagement rings or any other type of jewelry meant to represent love or devotion.

With its inherent hardness, combined with its dazzling brilliant color, rubies are sure to stand the test of time – making them perfect for those looking for something special to mark life’s most important moments!

Bezel-Set Scattered Ruby and Diamond Necklace

Additional articles :

Review of Colored Gemstones

How To Clean Jewelry

If you are interested in the healing and motivational powers of crystals, I recommend Creative

Thank you for reading our article; please leave your comments and questions below.

Happy Shopping!

Francesca de Granville, G.G. (GIA) F.G.A.

When you purchase through our links, we may receive a small commission.

Prices are exactly the same for you if your purchase is made through an affiliate or a non-affiliate link.

You will not pay more by clicking through our links.

Read our full Affiliate Disclosure