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Appraising Rubies

Appraising rubies is a skill every jeweler and gemologist needs to master. Learn about the different quality factors that can affect ruby prices.

5 Minute Read

Ruby Origins

The origin of a ruby can have a big impact on its appraisal. In general, though, the rule is simple: there’s Burma ruby and there’s everything else.

Although fine ruby can occur in any corundum mine, rubies from Myanmar (formerly Burma) are famous for their top-color traffic-light-red hues. Since these rubies form with little iron in them to suppress their fluorescence, they appear to glow.

For Burmese rubies, be sure to have a reputable laboratory confirm their origin.

In sizes under two carats, unenhanced stones from Myanmar can command prices two to three times that of a heat-treated stone from other sources. Larger unenhanced rubies can command much higher prices, up to ten times more than heat-treated rubies of similar size.

Heat-treated material from Myanmar commands a more modest price bump of about 25% above material from other sources.

Except for a few rare cases, rubies from other locales don’t command a premium in today’s market. However, rubies from novel sources like Montana can sell for somewhat higher prices due to their rarity.

Appraising Color in Rubies

Aside from premium origins, color is the most important factor when appraising rubies. Unlike diamonds, color in rubies is…

Addison Rice

A geologist, environmental engineer and Caltech graduate, Addison’s interest in the mesmerizing and beautiful results of earth’s geological processes began in her elementary school’s environmental club. When she isn’t writing about gems and minerals, Addison spends winters studying ancient climates in Iceland and summers hiking the Colorado Rockies.

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