faceted rubellite - Nigeria
faceted rubellite - Nigeria

Rubellite Tourmaline Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


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.

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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.

faceted rubellite - Nigeria
Tourmaline, variety rubellite, 18.0 x 12.0 mm, 22.70 cts, Jos Plateau, Nigeria. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

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Rubellite Value

Deep pinkish red to slightly purplish red are the most desirable colors. Brownish tones decrease a stone’s value considerably.

For more information on rubellite quality factors, consult our rubellite buying guide.

pear-cut rubellite - Nigeria
This rubellite shows a rich red color with slightly purple tones. Portuguese pear-shaped cut, 24.0 x 12.0 x 8.0 mm, 14.75 cts, Jos Plateau, Nigeria. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.
Faceted Rubellites - Madagascar and Brazil
Tourmaline: rubellite, Madagascar (36.85), Brazil (13.16, 17.13 // 16.73, 10.26, 23.56). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Comments

Trace amounts of manganese create rubellite's natural pink to red color. You may encounter light pink stones labelled as rubellites, but these are more properly considered pink tourmalines.

rubellites - Brazil
Two rubellites on a cluster of lepidolites (largest crystal is 2.5 cm long), Jonas Mine, Conselheiro Pena, Doce valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Rubellites have a hardness of 7 to 7.5 and no cleavage, so, whether faceted or cabbed, they make good stones for any type of jewelry. Lapidaries can also carve them.

rubellite jewelry and carvings
Rubellite jewelry and carvings. Photos courtesy of Barbara Smigel, Artistic Colored Stones.

Although the majority of Brazilian rubellites receive native cuts, custom cuts add value.

rubellite and diamond gold ring
Yellow gold ring with diamonds and a custom-faceted rubellite. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Rago Arts and Auction Center.

Identifying Characteristics

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.

rubellite - Cruzeiro Mine, Brazil
Rubellite, Cruzeiro Mine, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Enhancements

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.

Highly included rubellites sometimes receive fillings similar to those used on emerald, another highly included gemstone. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) can detect this. Hot point testing can also detect this treatment. However, this is a destructive technique. It should only be used as a last resort.

Sources

Notable sites for mining rubellite gems include Afghanistan, Brazil, Madagascar, Myanmar, Nigeria, Russia, and the United States.

rubellite crystal - Russia
Tourmaline, variety rubellite, on albite, 6.0 x 5.6 x 4.6 cm, Transbaikalia, Eastern Siberian Region, Russia. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Care

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.

For more care recommendations, consult our gemstone jewelry cleaning guide.

rubellite ring
Custom ring with custom-cut rubellite, submitted by Chris A. and designed by Distinction Jewelry. © Dan Stair Custom Gemstones. Used with permission.

Joel E. Arem, Ph.D., FGA

Dr. Joel E. Arem has more than 60 years of experience in the world of gems and minerals. After obtaining his Ph.D. in Mineralogy from Harvard University, he has published numerous books that are still among the most widely used references and guidebooks on crystals, gems and minerals in the world.

Co-founder and President of numerous organizations, Dr. Arem has enjoyed a lifelong career in mineralogy and gemology. He has been a Smithsonian scientist and Curator, a consultant to many well-known companies and institutions, and a prolific author and speaker. Although his main activities have been as a gem cutter and dealer, his focus has always been education. joelarem.com


Barbara Smigel, PhD. GG

Barbara Smigel is a GIA certified gemologist, facetor, jewelry designer, gem dealer, gemology instructor and creator of the well-regarded educational websites acstones.com and bwsmigel.info.


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