Guide to Buying Rubies – 10 Facts

Are you looking for a guide to buying rubies? If you’re not sure what to look for, it can feel daunting to shop for ruby jewellery. With 10 easy facts, this article reveals expert tips that allow you to buy rubies with confidence.

1. It’s safest to buy gems from a reputable jeweller

Always buy rubies from a reliable jeweller. In the UK, check your jeweller is an NJA member. Rubies are expensive, so trust your instincts. If the prices seem too good to be true, they probably are.

2. Look for pure, vibrant colour

Rubies are natural gems, and therefore each one looks unique. The shade of their red colour can vary. The best ruby colour is pure and vibrant and not too dark. Ruby colour can lean towards pink or purple, but the overall colour should be red. (An obviously pink or purple gem would, in fact, be called a sapphire.)

3. Expect imperfections

Rubies should be as clear as possible. However, gemmologists expect all rubies to have some natural lines or markings. This is because completely translucent rubies are extremely rare, if not impossible, to find.

The Carmen Lucia Ruby, Image credit Cliff on

4. Identify a skilled gem cut

Because natural markings in rubies are common, gem cutters have to work around these when shaping a rough stone into a gem. They try their best to hide the imperfections within the gem’s cut. Therefore, the clearer a ruby looks, the better its cut… but the more expensive it will be.

5. Ruby pricing explained

Out of all the coloured gemstones, ruby is the most expensive. Also, large high-quality rubies are rarer than small ones. For that reason, a ruby’s per-carat price increases exponentially with its size. Above one carat, high-quality rubies can get very expensive.

6. Two tips to get a good price

Here are two great price tips when buying rubies:

1. Set a budget before you go shopping. That way, you can easily compare similarly priced items against each other.

2. If you’re on a small budget, remember that big rubies are exponentially more expensive than small rubies. Choose a jewellery item that combines several small rubies, rather than one big one. This will keep the price down, but you’ll still get an attractive jewellery piece for your budget.

7. Read reviews

If you are not sure about an item of ruby jewellery, try to find some online customer reviews to read about the item itself – or about the jewellery store that’s selling it. Online review platforms, like Trustpilot or Feefo, are helpful when buying expensive gemstones.

8. Research videos and photos

Before you buy a ruby, it’s smart to educate yourself. But don’t limit yourself to reading articles – try to research photos and videos of rubies so you know what to expect.

9. Look at your ruby under different lighting

Rubies often seem to change in appearance under different kinds of lighting. For example, tube lights, like the ones often found in offices, can make rubies look purplish. On the other hand, household bulbs can make rubies look redder than they are. Some people say daylight makes ruby colour appear most balanced. The smartest approach, however, is to look at your ruby under different kinds of lighting to fully appreciate its spectrum.

10. Check the returns policy

Always check whether you can return or exchange your ruby item if you don’t like it. See if there’s a product guarantee so you’re covered. If shopping online, properly check the product measurements, like ring size or necklace length, so you know what you’re getting. To learn more about rubies, visit our comprehensive RUBY GEM GUIDE.

In conclusion:

  • Research rubies before shopping
  • Set a budget before shopping
  • Look for pure, vivid colour
  • Remember, all rubies have markings and lines…
  • So look for a good cut that disguises imperfections as much as possible
  • Only buy jewellery from a trusted retail store that offers a guarantee
  • Check the return policy

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