pigeon's blood ruby color - vivid red gempigeon's blood ruby color - vivid red gem

Evolution of the Pigeon’s Blood Ruby Color Grade

Learn how pigeon's blood ruby color grading standards have evolved and how to choose the best gemology labs for grading these stones.

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HomeLearning CenterGemologyAdvanced Gemology TopicsEvolution of the Pigeon’s Blood Ruby Color Grade


pigeon's blood ruby color
Various pigeon’s blood rubies with diamonds. Photo credit: Gemstock.org

GRS Creates The Standard

In 1996, the Swiss gemological laboratory GRS, headed by Dr. Adolf Peretti, established the first standard for grading a ruby’s color as “Pigeon’s Blood.” Prior to 1996, the world’s gemological institutes and laboratories had no internal standards for determining this color category.

At a London auction in June 1998, Sotheby’s exhibited the first piece of jewelry featuring a Pigeon’s Blood ruby. The accompanying GRS certificate indicated the rare and valuable color. This marked the official global recognition of this form of GRS certificate specifying the Pigeon’s Blood ruby color.

At that time, Burmese rubies dominated the world market (see below). The chemical composition of Burmese rubies has a high chromium content, so in addition to color and hue matching, the second parameter necessary for determining Pigeon’s Blood was a medium to strong level of fluorescence (luminescence when exposed to a UV 365 nm lamp).

pigeon's blood ruby color
Image credit: Gemstock.org

Burmese Rubies Versus African Rubies

As time passed, the situation in the mining regions changed dramatically. The Burmese ruby deposits no longer showed the same production volumes as before, and African rubies came to the fore. These were mainly

Ilya Podnebesny

Ilya Podnebesny is a Graduate Gemologist, colored gemstone expert, and founder of Gemstock. Before founding Gemstock, he was an investment consultant and authored an educational course for jewelry companies.

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