Rubellites are tourmalines with reasonably saturated dark pink to red colors and medium to dark tones. They make excellent jewelry stones, and ruby-red colored specimens without orange or brown overtones are highly prized.
In terms of clarity, rubellites are typically Type III gems. Thus, they almost always contain inclusions. (Needle-like inclusions can also create cat’s eye gems). Due to their scarcity and beauty, collectors and jewelry buyers value untreated, eye-clean or better rubellite gems most highly.
In recent years, African deposits have yielded cleaner rough. However, these African finds often show brown tinges and rarely approach the ruby-like red of gems from older Brazilian sources.
Irradiation, a now common gemstone treatment, can produce stable red tones in otherwise pale pink stones. Since this treatment is undetectable, assume all rubellites are treated, even though individual stones may not be.
Although rubellites are durable jewelry stones, avoid rough handling and use protective settings for heavily included stones. Inclusions as well as filler treatments may also make some rubellites sensitive to heat. Therefore, don’t use mechanical cleaning processes, such as ultrasonic or steam systems. Instead, use a soft brush, mild detergent, and warm water for cleaning. Otherwise, rubellite requires no special care.